Granny shrug how-to

Paton’s Wilderness has been disappearing from yarn shop shelves ever since Kirsty showed us her wonderful granny shrugs.

Kirsty's granny shrug

The inimitable Kirsty is providing a fantastic visual how-to for the granny shrug on her blog today, with both video instructions and step-by-step photographs.  Anyone who prefers a traditional line-by-line written crochet pattern can find a pdf here.  I’ll have daylight photos of my shrug for you tomorrow.  Happy crocheting!

Crochet project roll tutorial

There has just been a tutorial for a crochet project roll posted over here on the Sew, Mama, Sew!  blog – and it’s written by me!

Crochet project roll - closed by you.

I have used a few different crochet hook roll and knitting needle roll tutorials in the past, and for this one I have taken all the bits that work well for me and combined them together into my own design (I doubt that I have reinvented the wheel).  This roll has been in use for a couple of weeks now, and I love it!

Crochet project roll - open by you.

The exterior fabric (the golden raindrops) is designed and hand printed by Lara Cameron and is available from Ink and Spindle.  The binding fabric and interior lining fabric are from the “Every Iota” range for Robert Kaufman (prints D#6603 and D#6604), which I suspect are a couple of seasons old by now.  Aren’t they great!

So go on over and check out my tutorial – or if you’ve come here from there, a big hello and welcome! 

Cup Day Skirt tutorial

Firstly, a warning!  This is going to be a long and photo-heavy post.  When I can work out how I will convert the tutorial into a pdf and upload it somewhere, but for now here is the promised tutorial for the Cup Day Skirt.

Cup Day Skirt Photo 01 by you.

Please let me know if there are any glaring problems with this tutorial or anything that absolutely doesn’t make sense.  It’s the first one I’ve written and I’m not a professional!

Cup Day Skirt Photo 02 by you.

There are two versions of this skirt; one has twice the fabric in it as the other (more twirlability).  I made these to fit my daughter who is almost 6 years old and rather short.  It is simple to adjust for other sizes – just alter the skirt length and the waist elastic accordingly.  You can alter the depth of the ruffle to suit the amount of fabric you have available, or can leave it off completely.  Happy sewing!

1. Materials and equipment

 

Green skirt:

 

Cup Day Skirt Photo 03 by you.

 

Approximately 14” (36cm) of 45” (115cm) wide fabric for the main skirt

Approximately 10” (25 cm) of 45” wide contrast fabric for the waistband and ruffle

 

Brown skirt (more twirlability):

 

Cup Day Skirt Photo 04 by you.

 

Approximately 45” (115cm) of 45” (115cm) wide fabric

 

Both skirts:

Coordinating thread

Approximately 50” (125cm) of ½ inch wide elastic

Safety pins or bodkins for threading elastic

Scissors or rotary cutter, mat and ruler

Pins

Sewing machine (an overlocker is handy too)

 

Note: I used 5/8 inch seams throughout.

 

2. Cutting out

 

Version 1

Main fabric: Cut 1 piece 13-14” deep across the whole width of the fabric

Ruffle: Cut 2 pieces 2-3” deep across the whole width of the fabric. 

Waistband: Cut 1 piece 3 ¾ – 4” deep by approx 35” long.

 

Cup Day Skirt Photo 05 by you.

 

Version 2

Main skirt: Cut 2 pieces 13-14” deep across the whole width of the fabric

Ruffle: Cut 4 pieces 2-3” deep across the whole width of the fabric

Waistband: Cut 1 piece 3 ¾ -4” deep across the whole width of the fabric

 

Cup Day Skirt Photo 06 by you.

 

3. Waistband.

 

Fold the waistband in half along it’s length WRONG sides together and press.

Open out and fold the top edge over 5/8”.  Press this fold.

 

Cup Day Skirt Photo 07 by you.

 

Open out again, then place the short ends right sides together.

Sew the waistband seam from the top edge to the 5/8” fold, securing the thread at the end.

Sew again from the centre fold to the bottom edge.

 

Cup Day Skirt Photo 08 by you.

 

Press the folds back into place. 

You now have a waistband with an opening that you will later use to thread elastic through.

 

Cup Day Skirt Photo 10 by you.

 

The main part of the skirt will be sewn to the unfolded edge (at the bottom of the photo).

Divide the waistband into quarters and mark (I use pins).

 

4. Main skirt

Sew the side seams of the skirt together. 

Version 1 will only have one seam.

Version 2 will have two seams.

Press these seams open.  Since the fabric was cut along the entire width, the edges don’t need finishing as they are the selvedges.

Gather the top edge of the skirt, using whichever method you are most comfortable with.  I sew two parallel rows of stitching using the longest stitch length my machine has.  I sew one row about ½” from the edge of the fabric and the other row about ¾” from the edge of the fabric.

Divide the top edge of the fabric into quarters and mark (I use pins). 

 

5. Ruffle

Sew the ruffle pieces right sides together along the short edges.

Press these seams open.  Since the fabric was cut along the entire width, the edges don’t need finishing as they are the selvedges.

Hem one long edge using whichever method you prefer.  I have done a narrow machine stitched hem, but you could do a rolled hem or a bias-bound hem.

 

Cup Day Skirt Photo 11 by you.

 

Gather the top edge of the ruffle in the same manner as you did the skirt, using whichever method you are most comfortable with.  I sew two parallel rows of stitching using the longest stitch length my machine has.  I sew one row about ½” from the edge of the fabric and the other row about ¾” from the edge of the fabric.

 

Cup Day Skirt Photo 12 by you.

 

Divide the top edge of the fabric into quarters and mark (I use pins).

 

6. Attach ruffle to skirt.

Match up the quarter points on the skirt and the ruffle and pin them right sides together. 

Pull up the gathering threads until the ruffle fits onto the skirt.  Pin in place, adjusting the gathers evenly.

 

Cup Day Skirt Photo 13 by you.

 

Sew the ruffle to the skirt using your machine or an overlocker.  Make sure that you take the pins out before you get to them if you’re using an overlocker!

 

Cup Day Skirt Photo 14 by you.

 

If you used a machine, finish the raw edges with a zig-zag or other such stitch.

Press the ruffle away from the body of the skirt. You might need to remove some of the gathering threads.

 

7. Attach waistband to skirt.

In the same way as you attached the ruffle to the skirt, attach the skirt to the waistband.

Match up the quarter points on the waistband and the skirt and pin them raw edges and right sides together. 

Pull up the gathering threads until the skirt fits onto the waistband.  Pin in place, adjusting the gathers evenly.

 

Cup Day Skirt Photo 15 by you.

 

Sew the skirt to the waistband using your machine or an overlocker.  Make sure that you take the pins out before you get to them if you’re using an overlocker!

 

Cup Day Skirt Photo 16 by you.

 

If you used a machine, finish the raw edges with a zig-zag or other such stitch. Press the seam allowances towards the waistband. You might need to remove some of the gathering threads.

 

8. Casings.

Fold the waistband to the inside and press.  It should just cover the seamline.  Pin into place and stitch close to the bottom fold.  This will hopefully be almost along the seamline between the skirt and the waistband.

 

Cup Day Skirt Photo 17 by you.

 

Sew another line of stitching halfway between the first line and the top of the waistband.  This forms the casings for the elastic. 

 

Cup Day Skirt Photo 18 by you.

 

9. Elastic.

Cut two pieces of elastic to fit comfortably around the waist, plus another 2” (I cut them 22” long for a size 5 skirt).

Using elastic bodkins or safety pins, thread the elastic through the casings.

 

Cup Day Skirt Photo 19 by you.

 

Adjust to fit, and sew the ends of the elastic together.

Distribute the gathers nicely, and sew the waistband casing opening closed.

 

Cup Day Skirt Photo 20 by you.

 

Try on and twirl!

 

Cup Day Skirt Photo 22 by you.

 

Cup Day Skirt Photo 21 by you.

 

Cup Day Skirt Photo 24 by you.

 

Crochet hook roll

Since I have recently upgraded my crochet tools with two new sets, a set of bamboo hooks and a set of Clover Soft Touch hooks (both bought via eBay), I thought that they deserved a nice new hook roll all of their own!

I think that the outer fabric is by Michael Miller (but I could be wrong); the binding is some of the many metres I made with fabric from Spotlight.

The interior fabrics are a mixture of Alexander Henry’s Birdseed fabric, Moda’s Summer in the City stripe, and the Spotlight floral.  I used a layer of Pellon fusible wadding inbetween the lining and outer fabric.  The roll is based on this tutorial

I learned a big lesson while making this roll – listen to my instincts.  I made a one to two hour sewing project into a five hour one.  Voice inside my head says to apply the binding by hand.  I ignored it and tried to apply the binding by just wrapping it around the edges, then machine sewing it into place.  Disastrous – wonky sewing that didn’t catch the binding on both sides.  Time to unpick, stitch by stitch.  Second try – sewed the binding to the outside by machine.  That went fine.  Then while ignoring the voice inside my head that says to apply the binding by hand I wrapped the binding around to the inside and pinned it all into place to machine sew it down.  Finished result – wonky stitching once again that wasn’t all stitched in the ditch on the other side.  Time to unpick, stitch by stitch.  Sit down, watch a movie, and handsew the binding into place.  Much, much better.  Don’t ignore the nagging voice.

More patterns

I won another bag pattern!  This one is from the lovely Tania at Jet Designs.  She also runs Jet Music & Books, which is where I’ve bought my Melly & Me patterns.

Thanks so much Tania!  She is running another bag pattern giveaway on her blog at the moment, so head over and leave a comment to be in the running.

These patterns arrived last week from Montessori by hand.

I have read through the bag instructions, and they appear to be comprehensive and easy to follow, with plenty of photo to help.  It includes full sized pattern pieces (I prefer this when I buy a pattern) and seems to have been well tested – the bag materials list includes good interfacings and structure.  I’m really looking forward to making both patterns.  Have you gathered that I have a bit of a pattern obsession/collection?  And at the moment many of them are bag patterns!

I did make this doorstop the other day, using the tutorial from Oh, Fransson!

This is the quick and easy version – no nine-patch, no quilting – mainly because I really needed a doorstop!  I love these ones filled with beans/rice/wheat, because they don’t hurt if you stub your toe on them and because Stella can’t hurt herself playing with them.  And they look good!  The feature fabric is a bit of Amy Butler Nigella fabric.

Cushions for Christmas

Four done!  Two of these are Christmas presents; the bottom two are for me (yes, I know, I don’t need them, but I do love that chenille and those fabrics).

Although the recipients of the top two cushions don’t read this blog, their mother does – so I won’t show them in all their glory until after Christmas.

But here are the other two!  One side:

And the other:

Once again I used the fantastic tutorial from house on hill road for the zippers.  I prefer to have cushion covers that can be removed for washing.  The vintage chenille is from Jodie, of course, the apple fabric was from Spotlight ages ago, and I think that the fabric with the elegant ladies is by Michael Miller.  Cushion covers are so satisfying to make! 

Black Forest Bag

This terrific Melly and me pattern has been on my “to-make” list for a few months.  Now it’s finished just in time for summer!

The fabrics are all from the Summer in the City range by Urban Chicks for Moda.

It’s made pretty much as per the pattern, although it has a layer of Pellon as well as interfacing throughout. 

This is the first internal zipped pocket I’ve done like this – thanks to a great tutorial on the Sew Mama Sew blog.  There is an internal patch pocket on the other side but you can’t really see it in this photo.

And there is the ubiquitous key fob!

I included a base made from fast-to-fuse, but possibly cut it a little too wide.  This bag can hold a fair amount, so the structured base will help to support its shape.  As usual, there are things that I will do differently the next time I make up this pattern.  Anyway, I’ll be keeping this first go for myself!

Cushions for the girls

Today’s project – a couple of cushions for the girls.  Each has their initial appliqued onto them.  One side is vintage chenille (thanks Jodie!) and the other a coordinating print.

If I’d been super-professional I’d have piped the edges – but alas, I currently have no piping in my stash!

The zips are inserted using this fantastic tutorial from house on hill road.  It gives such a nice finish!  I have inserted zips into cushions a few different ways in the past but I think that this is one of the best.

And TWO packages came in the mail today – they’re waiting to be opened.  Online shopping is very exciting!  Stay tuned …

Beaded cushions

Someone else’s craft!  My non-blogging friend Jane made these fantastic beaded cushions for each of her three girls.

We saw a similar cushion in a shop some time ago.  Jane got inspired, and designed her own!  She used Word to write each name in a large font (part of the challenge was choosing the best font) and printed it off, then traced each letter onto white cotton, leaving plenty of room around each one to applique it later.  She used a mixture of five bead colours and sewed each bead individually onto each letter.  Here’s a close-up:

Once all the beads were embroidered on, she cut each letter out and appliqued it onto the pink PVC by gluing them into place then carefully stitching the base fabric to the PVC.  The next step was to attach the cord trim around the outside, then sew the front and back together.  Turning them to the right side was a challenge, but she managed it!  The opening was slip-stitched closed after stuffing with fibrefill.  It is difficult to see in these photos but the cushions are actually pale pink, the twisted cord trim is light purple, and the beads are a mixture of pink, blue, purple and metallic.

Jane’s girls adore their cushions, quite understandably, and my daughter is pestering me (to the point of tantrum) to make one for her.

Well done Jane!  I think that you’ve done a brilliant job (especially considering that the bead embroidery alone was about two hours per letter).  You should be very proud!