Sunday, July 24, 2016

Draft Your Own Pattern--Simple A-line Knit Skirt

"You are not wearing that skirt outside!!!!"

I thought I'd have at least until her teen years before I caught myself saying that hahaha.  If your child is anything like mine, they usually have some favorite item of clothing!  As they grow bigger, it's really hard for them to accept the fact that they can no longer wear it.......this skirt is a prime example.  She has loved this skirt for several years, but it is just WAY too short, and that is a hard concept for a kid to understand.  So I decided to make a new version of it, that has a decent length.

She wanted it out of a similar color, and fabric.  This fabric is even softer, and super thin, so will be fine for all types of weather.  Being so thin makes it a bit more difficult to work with, but I have some tips I've come across that really help.  So how did we do this????

I'll show you how easy this is, and you don't need any special tools.  We used paper off our IKEA craft roll.  It's come in handy a number of times,  you can also tape paper together, use some cardboard, freezer paper, or parchment paper, whatever is handy.  


I didn't take photos as I made the pattern, but this is what I did.  I laid the skirt along the edge of the paper as neatly as I could.  I then traced around it, starting at the seam on the waistband and down to the hem.  I then traced the band, with seam allowances added for both pieces.  I held the paper up on her, to see where I wanted the finished length.  I then added some seam allowance to do a nice hem. 

Now that I had my two pattern pieces I cut them out of my fabric.  I shortened the width of the  waistband pattern piece by 1/2".  The waistband is folded in half on the top, and then cut on the fold on the side.  You then open it up, and sew the sides together, then fold in half wrong sides together, super simple, and comfy waistband.  I tried the waistband pieces on first before I went any further to make sure it fit nicely.  

 After cutting out my skirt pieces I lightly starched with 'Fresh Press' and ironed on some hem tape.  Then I sewed the side seams, and serged them.  I also serged the bottom hem at this point as well.

I can't tell you how important these two
tips are. Since knit loves to roll at the
edges it can be a pain for seams. If you
use the 'Fresh Press', it keeps the
edges flat and a wee bit stiff, so they're
super easy to sew.

The hem tape adds some weight to the
bottom hem, and also makes it easy to
press the hem. Trying to press super
thin knits without it is very tricky, it just
doesn't want to hold.

It was then time to sew the waistband into the skirt.  Sew them right sides together, pin the seams on each side, and then put one pin in the middle, then slightly stretch the waistband to fit the skirt.  Press the waistband down, and iron your hem in place. Then using a twin needle I did the hem, and top-stitched below the band for a finished look. 

Wait did I say "Twin Needle"????  Um ya!!! I finally conquered my fear of the double needle.  I tried it once before and it was a disaster...not sure what went wrong...but I gave up and put my needle back in it's case, and there she has sat for over a year now.  What changed my mind....well Sherri posted this Thread Riding Hood--Sewing With Knits. They are all great tips, but she made the
double needle look so easy. I asked her about it, and she's like ya it's really I figured I had
to try it again. 

It had been so long since I'd tried last time, and hadn't gone well I decided to look for some online advice.  I found this great video over at So Sew Easy.  (all her tutorials are awesome btw!!!!). How to use a Twin Needle Video Tutorial  She showed the proper way to thread twin needle, and some other tips for using knits like the hem tape. So I gave it another go and WOW it was super easy (I'm rather embarrassed how long I put it off), and it looks so much more professional. I can't wait to play around with some other stitches and thread colors.

If you've been scared of working with knits or a double needle I hope you'll give them both a go.
Make sure to check out both links I posted above and practice.  The great thing about kids clothes is
you don't wast a lot of fabric and time, if you mess up, doll clothes are great for this too....just not Barbie clothes...that's nuts. :D

Please comment below if you have any more tips on drafting or sewing with knits. Have you ever
used a twin needle? Were you happy with the results????  Please share.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Happy Okapi Cup Cozy---Velcro edition

My lovely friend Reece finally came out with a pattern for her famous cup cozies.  I really wanted to try one, but alas I do not have Kam snaps.....I know I just never jumped on the band me I have plenty of other hardware though.

I asked her if I could use reg snaps, and she said "well you can, but then it won't be reversible..."  Doh!!! ok, point taken.  So then I figured Velcro should work.  So I gave it a try, and I'm very happy to report that Velcro works wonderfully.   Here's how I went about it. 

On the holiday cup cozy, I put the Velcro on AFTER I finished stitching, and I used the same placement as in the original pattern, but just on the left hand side, on both sides.

Pros:  You can choose the exact placement of the Velcro to fit a particular cup.

Cons: If using contrasting thread, it can be tricky to not have it show on the other side.  even if you get your tension working perfectly, you will still see the box outline on the other side.  If this doesn't bother you (I think it looks just fine), then no worries.  If your using the same thread for both sides then it's easy peasy.

 As you can see here I marked on the pattern where to put the Velcro.  I crossed out the circles on the right, just ignore them.  All you need is the Velcro on the left on both pieces. 

 This one I sewed the Velcro to each piece first. 

Pro's:  *if using different thread for each piece, it's a lot easier to do it this way, and not worry about your threads bleeding through. 
          *It's easier on your machine then going through multiple layers
*You won't see the stitching on the back side. 

Cons:  It's harder to find the proper placement....I used the same marks as well, but forgot about the seam allowance.   That put the Velcro farther out, making the cup holder larger.  So you might need to adjust it depending on the cup you plan on using. but will have to figure that out prior to sewing it. 

My final tip is when sewing your end closed, make sure to press and topstich from the plain side, not the side with velcro, as this is how it'll sit when in use and will look neater.