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Creating Bindings

I like to make bindings from my cotton scraps and have them ready in my stash pile for any current or future  sewing projects.  They are not hard to make and it is nice to have a one-of-a-kind trim available.SONY DSC  The type of binding that I am demonstrating is using the straight of grain or lengthwise grain on the fabric.  Good for almost any type of project except a small circle which you might have puckering but a bias type binding would work for those small tight curves.  Cut your strips on the bias (diagonal edge to diagonal edge) and follow these directions to create bias binding.

Using a  2  1/2″ wide cut fabric strip makes for a very nice binding finished width.  What I prefer to do is to rip the cotton fabric on the straight of grain to create my working   2  1/2″ width.  If your scrap piece is not wide enough to rip, then just utilize a good ruler and measure for a  2  1/2″ width using a rotary cutter.  Your cut length can be whatever size you have remaining from your scrap fabric.

Scrap fabric that I will rip into strips.

Scrap fabric that I will rip into strips.

Rotary cutting strip with ruler.

Second side of rotary cutting strip

Second side with rotary cutter.

Rotary cutting strip with ruler

 

Make a small cut before you rip fabric.

Make a small cut before you rip fabric.

My ripped strips, ready for joining!!

My ripped strips, ready for joining!!

 

 

 

To sew your cut scraps together to form a professional looking seam, you will put right sides together making an upside down “L”.  Take a good ruler, using a pencil or soap, make a stitching line to sew along for a perfect join.  You will then sew from the top edge to the side edge on your binding strip.  Trim your seam close to the stitching line and press seam open.

Stitching from top edge to opposite side edge

Stitching from top edge to opposite side edge

Right sides together forming an upside down n backwards "L"

Right sides together forming an upside down and backwards “L”

Marked seam line

Marked seam line

 

 

Trim seam close to stitching and press seam open

Trim seam close to stitching and press seam open

Once you have all your joins stitched together for your binding, fold the strip with wrong sides together and press.

Stitched and pressed with wrong sides together

Stitched and pressed with wrong sides together

This scrap had no joins so just needed to press wrong sides together

This scrap had no joins so just needed to press wrong sides together

Now you have binding that is ready to be sewn to whatever project you are working on.  When sewing the binding to my project, I always use a 1/4″ seam allowance.

Making binding is an easy scrap project for a child who has experience with a sewing machine.  Ripping fabric is a fun thing for a youngster to do.  I wouldn’t suggest letting them use a rotary cutter, only an adult should handle that sewing tool!!

I like to wrap my bindings onto index cards so they can be stored flat in a see thru type storage bin.  You will find many different uses for bindings from quilts, bibs, hooded towels, placemats, clothing,  etc.!!

HAPPY CREATING!!

 

 

 

 

Sewing a Child’s Gathered Skirt with Lace Ruffle

This is an update to my free child’s gathered skirt pattern.  I have included lots of SONY DSC pictures and my sample shows how to attach a lace ruffle to the bottom edge of my denim skirt.  The lace I am working with has a finished edge on both sides, no hemming necessary.

On my pattern page, you will find directions on how to determine your cut width and cut length.   STEP 1:  Be sure to match up the selvage edges together and place that edge along a straight ruler line so that your top and bottom cuts will be even.

Lining selvages, right sides together, along right edge

Lining selvages, right sides together, along right edge

Line up center fold along straight ruler line for left side.

Line up center fold along straight ruler line for left side.

Marking top edge to get ready to cut evenly.

Marking top edge to get ready to cut evenly.

If using a 100% cotton fabric, you can make a small cut along the top and bottom edges and just rip your fabric to get that nice straight of grain edge to work with.

Fabric cut and ready to be sewn.

Fabric cut and ready to be sewn.

STEP 2:  Once you have your fabric cut, I like to serge all the fabric edges.  I cut off the selvages with my straight ruler before I do the serging.   If you don’t have a serger, you can always do a close zigzag stitch along the raw edges.

Serged edges

Serged edges

Cutting of the selvage edge to avoid puckering

Cutting of the selvage edge to avoid puckering

STEP 3:  With right sides together, sew a 1/2″ seam allowance.  Press your seam open. STEP 4:  Lay out your skirt and measure from side seam to side seam.  You will want to double that measurement so you have the total circumference of your skirt.  Take that measurement and multiple it by 1.5 up to 2 times to determine how long to cut your lace.

Determining skirt circumference

Determining skirt circumference

STEP 5:   Cut your lace to the pre-determined measurement and sew it together with right sides matching.   Make a gathering seam by sewing a loose zigzag stitch over top of a heavy-duty (dual duty) thread on the wrong side of the lace.   This makes for a very strong gathering thread that you can pull on very tightly and it will not break.

Sewing a zigzag stitch over heavy duty thread

Sewing a zigzag stitch over heavy duty thread

Lace ready to be gathered

Lace ready to be gathered

Showing how close to the edge of lace I sewed gathering thread

Showing how close to the edge of lace I sewed gathering thread

STEP 6:  Divide your skirt into fourths, placing a pin at the center back seam, center front seam and both sides.  You will also fold your lace into fourths and place pins at each fold.  Now with right sides together, pin your lace markings to the skirt markings.   Pull snuggly on one heavy duty gathering thread and pin your gathers from center back to center front on one side.  Now repeat that step for the other side, pulling snuggly using the other heavy duty gathering thread to gather up the lace and pin to the skirt.  Stitch in place.

Marking for lace placement

Marking for lace placement

Gathered lace ready to be sewn

Gathered lace ready to be sewn

Attaching lace to pin markings before gathering

Attaching lace to pin markings before gathering

 

STEP 7:  You want to press that seam up towards the top of the skirt.  Because my denim had painted silver dots on it and the lace was somewhat delicate, I used a terry cloth towel as my pressing cloth so as not to have any damage (melted dots or lace)!!    STEP 8:  After the seam is pressed up, stitch that seam in place.  I made two (2) rows of stitching because I like that look.  One row of stitching is sufficient.

Using a pressing cloth

Using a pressing cloth

Double stitched row

Double stitched row

 

 

 

 

STEP 9:  Make the casing for the elastic by folding down the top edge of the skirt 1  1/2″.  Pin in place at the folded edge and turn under the serged edge as you stitch leaving about a 2″ opening to pull your elastic through.  Attach a safety-pin to one end of your 3/4″ non-roll elastic and begin pulling it through the casing.  So I wouldn’t pull the end of the elastic into my casing, I pinned it to the opening.  Once you have pulled the elastic through the entire casing, over lap it about 1/2″ on each side and stitch securely into place.  Make sure you haven’t twisted the elastic before sewing.  After stitched, pull on the waist band so the elastic is nicely tucked inside and stitch close your opening.

Folding down your casing

Folding down your casing

Beginning elastic meeting pulled through elastic

Beginning elastic meeting pulled through elastic

Attach safety pin as your gathering tool

Attach safety-pin as your gathering tool

STEP 10:  To help keep your gathers in place, make a stitching line at the center back, center front, and both sides.  Stitch from the top of the waist band to the stitching  line of the casing (sewing through all thicknesses).

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 HAPPY CREATING!!

Making Super Fun Little Bean Bags

What child doesn’t LOVE to toss around squishy little bean bags!!  Here’s some quick tips on how to make these cute, fun bags.

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I just use cotton fabric from my very large scrap bin but just about any type of fabric will work.  I personally like to mix solids with prints because it gives more options to vary up game ideas.SONY DSC

For my samples, I chose two solids that coordinated with two prints and stacked all four fabrics on top of each other.  Then I measured a 5 1/2″ square that I drew on the fabric and with the help of my ruler, I rotary cut out these squares in one quick motion.

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Now simply put right sides together and sew in a 1/2″ seam allowance leaving one side partially unsewn for turning.  I like to sew about a 1″ seam on each side of the opening edge so I don’t have to mess with the corner.  When I make my 1/2″ seam allowances, I sew off the end of the fabric, lift my pressure foot and turn the fabric and continue sewing my seams.  Saves some time.  I will also back-stitch across the seam that I just made to give extra strength to the corners.

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Once I have sewn around all the sides of the square, trim your seams and angle cut your corners.  Before I flip to the right side, I like to press down the opening edge to make the closing seam easier to stitch.  After I have ironed this edge, turn your square to the right side.  Fill it with about 3/4 cup of rice and then sew your opening closed.  I like to stitch a second row on my opening edge for reinforcement since this is an item that gets a lot of use.

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Now have fun tossing them into buckets, boxes, bags, etc. or just on the floor getting different points if your bean bag lands on a solid side or a print side.

  • TIP:  When using two different fabrics, I like to put a coordinating thread for one fabric in the bobbin and the other coordinating thread for the second fabric in the machine.

HAPPY CREATING!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sewing a Reversible Placemat

Placemats are so versatile and making them reversible just doubles their use!!  Not only do they serve the great purpose of collecting those crumbs and spills when eating but they can be used as custom decor on your table for a beautiful centerpiece or to add some sparkle if hosting a buffet to use under the various food items that are being served.

In addition, they are extremely easy to make and you can customize or embellish them to match your decor.  You really don’t even need to purchase a pattern.  You can use a placemat that you already have as your pattern or cut out a template from lightweight, unfusible pellon as a pattern.  You can even just use a good ruler to design the style of placemat you want to make.  Probably a good rule of thumb would be to make your rectangular style finished placemat size to be 18″ wide x 13″ long.

So let’s begin.  First select what two fabrics that you want for your placemat.  Keep in mind how you want to clean them.  Are they going to be used as an everyday item, which means you want fabric that can be washed and dried often or just for special occasions.  Cotton fabrics are a super choice, but check out those home dec fabrics too and some non-traditional fabrics like corduroy or faux suede.  Maybe you want a holiday theme for one side and a solid look for the other!!  Anyways, give some good thought to this process.

Cut out your fabric to be 1/2″ larger on all sides, so for a finished 18″ x 13″ size,  you would cut your pattern to be 19″ wide x 14″ long.  I always use a thin batting to be placed in the middle of my fabrics, such as bleached Warm ‘n Natural or Hobbs Heirloom.  Depending upon your fabric, you can add your batting to the wrong side of each piece or maybe you only need batting on one side.  I personally prefer to use non-fusible batting for this project because I feel it will hold up better especially if laundering a lot.

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Preparing to cut fabrics

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Another pic showing how to cut using a ruler

 

 

 

 

 

Cut your batting the same size as your cut fabric pieces and baste the batting to the wrong side of your fabric using a 1/4″ seam allowance.

Sewn batting to wrong sides of fabric

Sewn batting to wrong sides of fabric

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Pinned with right sides together leaving opening for turning

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, line up your two fabric pieces, right sides together and leave about a 4″ – 5″ opening for turning.  Stitch entire piece in a 1/2″ seam allowance.  You can trim close to the stitching or serge/overlock stitch your edge to have a nice clean seam and again to help eliminate some bulkiness.

Sewn and trimmed, ready to turn

Sewn and trimmed, ready to turn

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Turned, pressed and ready to do top-stitching

 

 

 

 

 

Once turned, fold your opening seams to the inside and press the entire placemat smooth.  Now top-stitch around the entire placemat close to the edge, approximately 1/8″ from finished edge.  Use a good pressure foot that maybe has a marking that you can follow to help keep your stitching line even or use a 1/4″ pressure foot as your stitching guide.  If you decide to use a 1/4″ pressure foot or marking, you might need to do a blind stitch only along the turn opening so it doesn’t separate at that spot.

I always like to make another top-stitching line around the placemat edge about 1/4″ from the first top-stitching line.  Mainly for decorative purposes –  gives a sort of picture frame effect.  Sometimes it is cool looking to even add another top-stitching line 1/4″ from the second stitching line.

Completed top-stitching

Completed top-stitching

Another pic showing three rows of top-stitching

Another pic showing three rows of top-stitching

 

 

 

 

Using this placemat on table under floral arrangement

Using this placemat on table under floral arrangement

 

 

 

 

 

 

Press again and your placemat is ready for use!!

This  project is perfect for a beginner sewer or a young child who is familiar with a sewing machine and has adult supervision especially using an iron and rotary cutter.  Wonderful gift giving project too.

HAPPY CREATING!!