Saturday, December 31, 2011

How to Hem Pants - tutorial

Ever had a pair of pants that were just too long?
Almost everyone has.  Many of my friends pay to have their pants hemmed shorter.
While hemming some pants for someone else I decided to do a tutorial to hopefully help anyone out there who would like to learn how.

I'm using my sewing machine, but you can do similar stitching by hand.  In fact, until I learned how to use the hem stitch on my machine I did all my blind hemming by hand.
 A blind hem is a hem that you can't see as easily as a regular stitch, through the fabric.  

The first thing you want to do is to pin the pants up at the appropriate length.  The pants that I'm working with are quite a bit too long.  They are for a little boy.  His mother wants to keep the extra length so that they can be let out as he grows, so I am not going to cut the extra fabric off.  I am simply going to fold it up into the pants and put my hem in high enough to keep it held up.

Next you are going to kinda flip the bottom of the leg inside out.
In the above photo the existing bottom of the pants is on the right and the area that will be sewn to it is folded over on the left.  You will not be able to see this angle once the pants are hemmed.

You want to pin this so that your fabric stays looking nice and flat.  Otherwise, when you get done sewing around the pants leg you will have a gap at the end of the stitches and it will not look nice. Just take your pins out as you come to them so that you don't break your needle or bend the pins.

Now you want to choose your hem stitch.  #15 on my machine is the blind hem stitch to be used for knit fabrics or elastic.  #16 is for woven fabrics.  The pants that I am hemming are slightly stretchy so I will be using #15.  You may be able to tell by the diagram that several smaller stitches will be produced in the right side of your fabric, then one stitch will go into the folded fabric on the left. If you are doing this by hand then you are probably going to end up with a stitch that looks more like #16.
When you sew you want the one stitch that goes off to the left to only catch a single thread on the fabric.  This is what makes it a blind hem.  It's kinda difficult to do.  If the stitch is too wide it will be seen from the right side of the fabric.  If the stitch is too narrow it won't catch at all.

When you are done going all the way around check to make sure you don't have any gaps in your hem, just in case you didn't keep the fold close enough to the needle while sewing.  Then turn your pants legs right side out and admire your work.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Upcycled From a Sweater To a Scarf, tutorial.

The other day my mom calls me and says, "You didn't already get me a Christmas present did you?"  
She goes on to say that she would like it if I would make her a prewrapped scarf.  I had no clue what she was talking about, so I asked a panel of fellow crafy sewing friends if they had any idea.  They sent me a few links and this scarf was one of them  It looked real adorable on the blog page that I saw.  Here's the link to that one.
I thought that maybe my mom would like one of these.  I especially thought it when I saw that I had a blue sweater to use.  She has pretty blue eyes and I hoped that it would bring out her eyes. But now that it's made, my daughter has claimed it as hers.

Here's how you can make your own:
1.  Supplies:  1 unwanted sweater, buttons, thread and a sewing machine.
2. You need to cut a strip from the sweater.  Notice this sweater is a v-neck?  Therefore I need to cut my stip completely from the back of the sweater.  There is a stain on this sweater back.  Luckily it will not be visible when this project is completed.  I cut mine approximately 20 inches long by 11 inches wide.
3.  Next you need to fold the strip in half lengthwise with right sides together and stitch around the raw edges, making sure to leave the bottom of the sweater alone.  I used a zig zag stitch so that my fabric would have plenty of give and be able to stretch a little.
4.  After you sew it around, turn it right side out.
5.  Now you want to fold it like so.  So that the bottom part of the sweater material is crossed over the other end, with all the pretty sides up, and mark where your buttons will go.
6.  Sew those buttons into place through all the thickness, and voila!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Rudolph The Red Nose Reindeer Pancakes

I got the idea from one of the newsletters I subscribe to on Facebook.  I'd love to give them credit, but I can't locate the post again, so I'm not sure which one it is.  But I was hoping to make these yesterday.  However, we never actually have a feast on Christmas day.  We are way too busy playing with all of our new toys to feast.  Daniel decided to take over the cooking yesterday and so we had a series of frozen appetizers to snack on all day.  It was nice.  We also drank a gallon and a half of egg nog.  Very yummy.
Sunday, December 25, 2011

Hung By The Chimney With Care

These are our stockings. (Left to right)
Daniel, Delsin, Kai, Carolina, Enoch, Me
Daniel and I made our stockings the first year we were married.  We made the stockings out of old bed sheets and a silvery shimmery sheer overlay.  We each made our own. It was my rule.
Then we added a little silvery trim to the heel and toe.  I think I was the only one that added it to the toe.
I also added some beads to the top of the white part of mine. (I've Googled  the terminology and still don't know what it is.)  Daniel passed, even for the trims that I thought were manly.

Then when we had Delsin we no longer had that old ugly sheet, so we used red velvet (short pile) for the outside.  Joann's fabric store had a Black Friday sale of 96 cents per yard on the flannel that I used on the lining of the kid's stockings and the fabric for their pajamas this year.

Then for the outside white trim we used the same crushed white velvet that we used on our stockings. 

The Zoo Crew's stockings!
First of all let me tell you that the majority of these stockings were made 10 years ago, or more actually.  So the pictures not only do not due them justice, but stuff has fallen off.  You'll know what I mean in a minute.
Starting on the left, Sarah's (God rest her soul), Smitty's, Laleh's, Prince's (God rest his soul), Dirk's (God rest his soul), and Priscilla's (God rest her soul).    I know that over half of the "people" who own these stockings are dead, but I can't help but to hang them anyway.  I think they are so pretty.  Even prettier than our own, and I like to think that the family members they belonged to are still part of the family.
For Sarah, a dog that I knew the moment I met her was destined to be my dog, I put her name on the stocking in a combination of beads and ribbon.

Smitty's name was written in white buttons and to this day it is my favorite of all the stockings I've made.

Laleh's stocking was actually an extra that I made back in the day before I knew her.  She hasn't gotten her name on it yet.  I really intend to embroider everyone's names on their stockings (the ones' that don't already have them on them) before Christmas of next year.  Including Laleh.
This is Prince's stocking, and the one that is missing parts.
I glued rhinestones to form his name back when I made these almost 20 years ago.  It looked good.
Dirk's name was written in sequence.  Gold and silver sequence.  The silver sequence was smaller than the gold.
Priscilla's name was written with beads.  I went through my bead collection and only used red, green, and white.  She died the night I realized I was pregnant with Gabriella Priscilla, our sweet baby that died in my womb.  

These are my favorite stockings.  Even though most of the animals in this round up are dead I always get these stockings out and display them.  I do this to keep their memory alive.  To let them know that I am still loving them.

Elf hats (free pattern/tutorial) and the tradition of making the girls a doll.

Here is a shot of the kids all wearing their new Christmas pajamas and elf hats.

This is the present they got to open on Christmas Eve.  
Kai was so happy.  She had convinced herself that I wasn't going to make her a nightgown this year.
Delsin had asked for an elf hat like Enoch's, so that was and easy quick project.
Easy enough that I went ahead and made one for Kai and Carolina too.  
They were tickled.

 To make the elf hat I made my own pattern.  Here it is. 
I hope you can open this and print it.  It's a regular piece of letter paper in width and height, but of course you will want to make yours to the size you need.  Please leave comments on how well you can print this pattern or any tips you want to share on how I can share patterns.  Thanks.
 1.  I cut the width to be half the circumference of the head.
2.  I used stretch velvet for my fabric. You definitely need a stretch fabric.
3.  Doing a 5/8 inch seam will make it fit perfectly.
4.  Then a 1 1/4 inch hem at the bottom of the hat.

Every year I make a doll for Kai.  It was something that I wanted to become a tradition and started it on her first Christmas.  This year I decided to use a pattern that my step-mother had given me years ago and make hens instead of human type dolls. 
Mccall's Crafts 2826 is the pattern I used.  Hen C.
But I didn't do all the extra accessories.  We're talking about a late night Christmas Eve project for a 16 month old no less.  They were such a big hit that they thought Santa brought them, and Delsin thought one was for him.  I felt bad when I had to explain to him that there were only enough for the girls.  I suppose I could make him a rooster.  After all, he loves roosters.  He did spend all of his allowance on a painting of a rooster this summer.
Saturday, December 24, 2011

Enoch's Christmas Sleep Sack!

OK, time for me to hit my sleep sack.  
But before I do I want to tell you the pattern I used on this.
New Look 6310
When I finished my last post I helped our Elf get into his resting place then started cutting fabric and have now finished the garment.  So this took just a couple of hours from start to finish.  Now that's my kind of project.

Carolina's Christmas Nightgown and Christmas Cookies!

I used the same pattern that I did for Kai's gown. 
Simplicity 9968

Very straight forward.  

The kids and I also baked sugar cookies yesterday. 
We had a lot of fun decorating them.
I was scolded this morning for eating any last night.  I was told that the entire plate is to be saved for Santa.
Hee Hee!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Kai's Christmas Nightgown

I always say that next year I won't be working into the wee hours of the Christmas Season.  Yet, here I am, up until 2 AM sewing and blogging.  But next year, I mean it!

Here is Kai's Christmas nightgown.
I used Simplicity 9968 for my pattern.  Nightgown D
Opps!  I forgot to put a little bow on it.  Well, I might go back and do that once I get ready to put the bow on Carolina's.  I'll take a new picture if I do.  I have to get an action shot anyway.

This pattern only goes up to a size 4, so I lengthened the sleeves by putting the contrasting fabric on the bottoms.  I also lengthened the gown by doing the same thing to the bottom.  It's gonna fit her just fine.  It may be a little long, but it'll keep her legs (and possibly feet) warm. ☺
Sunday, December 18, 2011

Delsin's Christmas PJs and Teacher Gifts

Delsin's class had Polar Express day on Thursday of last week, and so I decided to give him his Christmas PJs early this year.  Usually we open them on Christmas Eve, but this year I'm planning/hoping to make the kids some housecoats to open on Christmas Eve and let them have their PJs as I make them. So far Delsin is the only one I've started making them for.  I may not make any for Enoch this year since he already has more PJs than he can wear AND he wont even know the difference.  We'll see how much time I have.  I'm usually pressed for time and this week everybody got a stomach flu on top of our colds so I haven't been able to do Holiday stuff at all.  Too busy holding babies.  As I type Carolina is sitting on my lap going through the top drawer of our desk.  Oh good, she just dropped some paper clips down the air conditioning vent.

Here is the pattern I used to make Delsin's Pajamas.  I didn't actually have a pattern for this set.  I have a pattern for some pajama pants and a jersey knit shirt.  I didn't want to make that set.  I wanted to make something I already had the fabric to make.  So I used the same pattern I've been using to make his buttons up shirts.  Sure, he has buttons on his sleeves, but who cares?  The pants pattern is the same one in this package too, but I altered how I sewed it.  I didn't do any of the zipper stuff.  I simply sewed it as I would for pajama pants.  I added the contrasting christmasy fabric to the inside of the bottom of the pants legs so that I could fold them up and see it, to match the shirt.  He LOVED it.  I had to force him to take it off the next day.  He literally wore them for 24 hours straight and would have worn them to school again the next day if I had let him.  

Teacher Gifts:

It seems that I've had a ton of good ideas for teacher gifts over the years that we haven't had a teacher to give them to.  This year I was at a loss.  Then suddenly I remembered a gift that I gave my teachers one year.  It was my favorite gift I ever gave because it was my crafty step-mother's idea and she let me help.  We made peanut butter balls and put them in glass containers that we got for less than a dollar and covered them with fabric doilies and ribbon to tie them shut.  That's not exactly what I did this time.  This time I already had some holiday containers in the attic that I had gotten in an after-Christmas sale last year.  So instead of making a huge amount of peanut butter balls we mixed it up.  We put Peanut Butter Balls on the bottom.  The middle layer was white and dark chocolate covered pretzels, and the top was a layer of Oreo Truffles.
It was important to me that the kids get to help with their gifts.  I had let them wrap the presents that Daddy picked up for them to give to their classmates.  This time they would get to help make the candy.  What's better than sharing time in the kitchen together.  I love it.  
 Carolina kept busy tasting everything.
I used the recipe in my Better Homes and Gardens cookbook for the Peanut Butter Balls.  
Friday, December 9, 2011

Kai's Christmas Dress is finished!

This is everyone's outfits together.
Here is just Kai's dress.

That's her hair barrette clipped onto the shoulder. 
I used Mcall's M6155 for my pattern, though I did some minor modifications.  I will go over those adjustments in my next post.

I did a sew along with this dress.  Meaning I took photos with each step so that I could post them and explain.  So often times I hear friends say that they want to sew, but are intimidated by patterns and their jargon.  That's why I decided to take pictures all along the way.  I want to put each one of them on here with instructions that hopefully explain in better detail to help beginner pattern users.  I don't have time to post it now, though.  I'm getting ready for a trip and wanted to post these pictures of Kai's dress, quickly.

Here is her hair barrette.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Boy's Velvet Christmas Shirts

I've finished Delsin's and Enoch's Christmas shirts!
 Let me tell ya, velvet is no picnic to work with.  I have to say that I'm impressed with myself for getting these shirts done in the amount of time that I did considering I did french seams on them.  I had to because velvet frays so easily.  I also put a zig zag stitch on each edge of the pieces before I started assembling the garments.

I'm a little disappointed in the lady at Hancock fabric's for telling me that I needed to make Enoch a size small instead of the Newborn size.  I'm also disappointed in myself for listening to her.  I'm not used to looking for the size chart on a Butterick pattern and apparently neither is she, though she didn't care to let on.  Oh well, he'll wear it for the Christmas season and then I'll put it up till next fall.

For Delsin's shirt I used the same pattern I've been using lately.  I did add shirt tails to the pattern because his shirts weren't staying tucked in.

For Enoch's shirt I used this pattern.  

I tend to avoid Butterick patterns whenever possible. I had a bad experience in my early years of sewing.  They don't explain the steps nearly as well as other pattern companies, in my experience.  But it's the only pattern I could find that had a button up shirt in his size.  And besides, I've been sewing for 30 years now, so I pretty much know what to do.  Getting a pattern that's vague in instructions doesn't frazzle me like it used to.  It's nice being able to shop for what's available, or better yet what's on sale.
I still have to start and finish Kai's dress and I'm hoping to get a good bit done tonight.  Which means this post is over.