itsjustmehanaa said: hi i just wanted to know how you added the middle bits in your purse with the cherry flowers and also the sizes of the purse as i would love to make one for my friends birthday thanks

Hey there! The interior pockets are made like a tube with a zipper on each end. Then, I topstitched it to the outer section through the middle to create two separate zippered pockets. When the purse is closed, it measures approximately 8 inches by 5 inches. Also, I am no longer blogging here on tumblr regularly. You can follow my new blog at fresahandmade.wordpress.com. 

See the dress and read more at my new blogging address!

I’m moving!

My blogging skills and ambitions have graduated beyond what I can do here on Tumblr. I have started a new blog here and I’d love if you’d still follow me over there. There is a chance that I will still update this page with little things from time to time, but I will be using my new site for longer, more detailed posts. I hope you join me!

Tags: sewing

Throw pillow covers

Did the picture on Monday give away what I was making? I made throw pillow covers. My husband and I have been doing a bit of sprucing up in our apartment and we really, REALLY needed to replace the throw pillows on the sofa. They were literally falling apart. So, here are the new pillows on our sofa. 

The fabrics I used were just solid Kona cotton. The colors were called “cinnamon” and “dusty blue”. When they arrived in the mail, I was a bit surprised by the color called cinnamon. Online it had looked more red than brown, but in person they are more brown. Even though I was surprised, I love the color combination. It is unique without being garish. It also complements the colors in the quilt that’s draped over the back of the sofa. We bought the pillow forms at Ikea for $3 each, I think.

Techniques I used:

  • Covered buttons
  • Buttonholes

Things I like:

  • The color combination
  • The simplicity of the design
  • The pillow forms are removable so I can wash the covers
  • The covered buttons (It was my first time making them and I love how they turned out.)

Things I less-than like:

  • Wobbly edge stitching along the edge of the flaps (I could and should have redone the stitching on two of the three pillows, but I didn’t.)

Overall, these pillows earn an A-. They don’t have much competition. I do very little sewing that isn’t wearable, so it’s harder for me to judge items that aren’t clothing or purses. I love the look of them on my sofa and they are soft and comfy—just what I needed!

Summer Creativity Goals

Often, when I think of people who I consider to be creative, I think of people who are spontaneous, often late, procrastinators, extroverted, and intuitive. When I think of myself, none of these words come to mind first. I am rarely spontaneous, I am overly organized, I hate being late to anything, I love making lists and crossing things off them, I prefer quiet company to a loud party where I don’t know everyone, and I am quite analytic and pragmatic. These characteristics all seem to be the exact opposite of what I’ve come to think of as defining a creative lifestyle. And yet, I know I am creative and I am very happy with my identity. So, in the spirit of my identity as both a creative type and a list-making type, I have composed a list of goals that I hope to pursue this summer. 

Tumblr goal: Post 2-3 times a week, except when I’m out of town. So far, I’m doing well with this goal. I just need my next fabric order to arrive so that I can get on with my next project!

Sewing for me goal: I have pretty much stuck to sewing dresses lately because that’s what I feel most comfortable wearing. However, I feel the need to use my abundance of time to branch out and try something new. My challenge for the summer is to make a great pair of pants that really fit me. I have stayed away from sewing pants for a few years because I’ve never been able to get a good fit, but I’ve learned a lot about sewing since then and think I can tackle the challenge with success. 

Sewing for others goal: I can’t say too much about this, just in case the person or persons I am planning to sew for read this. Just let me say, I plan to put a lot of care and time and love into these projects and do some of my best work. I’ll share more when the time is right. 

Reading about sewing/creativity goal: I checked out the book Handmade Marketplace from the library and plan to read up on the various aspects of starting a business based on handmade items. I’m not much of a business person/salesperson, so it’ll be interesting to see what I learn about myself and my motivations regarding selling items I make. 

Well, those are my goals. Stay tuned to see which ones I accomplish. Do you have any summer creativity goals?

Tags: creativity

I won a runner up prize (cute, owl-shaped sewing scissors). Thank you to everyone for taking a look at what I made and voting for me. Also, let me know if you try out the instructable. I’d love to see what you make. 

Monday Preview, 6/20/11

Here’s a clue to my next project. I’ll even give you can extra hint: it’s not clothing. What do you think it could be?

Summer Jammies

My first summer break project was to make some new summer jammies. I live without central air conditioning and it can get quite toasty at night in the summer, so cool, breezy, cute pj’s are a must. Now that I have another pair of cute pajamas for the summer, I can retire some of my old college t-shirts and workout shorts. 

I’m not brave enough to model them for you and I can’t put shorts on my dress form, so we’ll have to get by with flat photos. I made the shorts using this tutorial. The top is my own design. The fabric is a quilting cotton from my local Hancock’s. It’s not the softest cotton, but I think it will get softer with more washings. I also embellished with a bit of light pink lace. 

Techniques I used:

  • Shirring with elastic thread in the bobbin on the shorts waistband
  • Making & turning lingerie straps (see how here)
  • Embellishing with lace

Things I like:

  • The print is super cute! The print is feminine and sweet without being too girly. 
  • The top is breezy and cool. I might make a few more tops in a longer length to wear as nightgowns. I even think the top could be adapted to be a regular daytime camisole.

Things I less-than like:

  • The shorts need another inch or so of ease. I can just barely pull them over my hips. 
  • The shirring on the waistband is also pretty ugly. I have used elastic thread in the bobbin to shirr fabric a couple different times and it never seems to turn out quite right. Either my machine doesn’t like the elastic thread or I don’t have the settings right or the elastic thread is low quality. I’m not sure which it is, but the elastic thread always seems to be on the verge of snapping. 

Overall, these pajamas deserve an A-. The design and overall look of them are good, but I didn’t put as much effort into making sure the inside was as pretty and neat as the outside. I usually do french seams so that all the raw edges of the fabric are encased, but this time I just zig-zagged them. I took other little shortcuts that I wouldn’t have if I were making something that I would wear in public. That made the process a little more relaxing and quicker and I still ended up with a garment that I will wear and enjoy.

P.S. Sorry about the lack of photos. Photographing the finished garment flat left few creative photography options.  

Tags: sewing pajamas

Helpful Hints: Turning lingerie straps

Have you figured out what I’m making? This post will give you another hint and will help you with a common sewing step. Sewing a tube of fabric and turning it is used in a multitude of projects—lingerie or spaghetti straps, belts, purse handles, etc. The photos and instructions below will show you how to turn them right side out without a turning tool or any other special equipment. And, it works with any width of tube. Mine were quite narrow and this trick seems almost magical with the narrowest tubes. 

Step One: Sew your narrow tube and trim the seam allowance at the corner. 

Step Two: Thread a hand sewing needle and knot the ends together. 

Step Three: Make a couple stitches within the seam allowance at one end. Two or three stitches is plenty. It just needs to be enough to secure the threads.

Step Four: Very gently and delicately, pass your needle through the tube of fabric. Be very careful not to catch the fabric with your needle. 

The knotted thread end is at the bottom right end of the fabric tube and the threaded needle has been passed carefully through the tube so that it comes out of the tube at the top right end. 

Step Five: Hold the needle in one hand and the other end of the tube loosely in the other. Gently pull at the needle so that the other end begins to pull itself inside the fabric tube. (You may have to help get the turning process started.)

Step Six: Continue gently pulling the knotted end of the tube through the inside of the tube. It will eventually make it to the opening at the other end of the tube and will look like this. Both ends will be facing the same direction—one inside out, one right side out. 

Step Seven: Finish pulling the tube until it is entirely right side out. Clip the threads to detach the needle. Press and continue on with your project. 

Monday Preview, 6/13/11

Here’s a little sneak peek at my latest sewing project. Can you guess what it is? 

Tags: sewing preview