How I spin multi-points.

Hey Lindsey, this is how I spin my triangle points. 1. I figure out how to sew 1/2 the block (so I have a straight 180 line.) (sample quickly made with leftover bunting triangles, so they're not perfect, but they were already cut and near my machine).

Finger press (or iron press, but I'm too lazy) all the seams the same direction (here, to the right side of the points).


2. Make the other half, and again, press all the seams the same way. (to the right of the points, in the example, but left works too!)


3. Sew the 2 halves together, locking the center lumps as you sew so the points stay sharp. Note the lump in the middle.


4. Use your seam ripper to gently separate your little dog ears in the middle, so that all the seams are going the same way. you might have to unpick a stitch or two , but it's easy.


see how now, all the seams are going the same way?

5. press with your regular iron. you'll have perfect points. (this picture does NOT show a pressed block, just the right side of the block. press if you actually want perfect points).


Selvedges and order.

20110923-085050.jpg So I made 1 of the 9 Swoon blocks (with soon-to-be-released Fiesta fabrics, by Robert Kaufman) last night, and did all the cutting for all the blocks...

20110923-085114.jpg In order to stay organized as I chain piece, I used my selvedge trimmings to mark which fabrics (there are 18, plus background) go where. I trimmed at least 1/2 an inch of fabric with the selvedge so I can see the print. It's making piecing so much easier! (and they're pretty) Plus when I'm done, they'll get used by my friend Julie for some awesome selvedge project.


How to make a toddler playsuit/romper from an adult t-shirt (part 1)

Today I'm going to show you how to make THIS:

I took OODLES of pictures, so every step should be really clear, but email me if it's not!
you will need:
a shirt (I used adult small. It needs to be as long as your child from shoulder to ankle.... (or to knee if you want shorts) too big and you will have to hem/fix the collar, and the whole point of this is to use what's already done....)
some coordinating scrap t-shirt fabric (for the crotch facings)
sewing machines, clothespins, thread, etc.
Measure your baby from shoulder to mid-crotch (where a onesie would snap). add an inch to get your "body measurement"
My daughter is about 17" from shoulder to crotch...
turn your adult t-shirt inside out, and then fold it in 1/2. Measure down from the top of the neckline to the legnth of the body measurement
My daughter was 17" so I marked (with a sharpie, since this will all be covered) at 18" down from the top of the neck
at the hem, measure in about 1.5 inches, and draw a line up, curving the corner to get to your measured body length.
cut it out. (so you're cutting through 4 layers of t-shirt)
discard the U's you just cut out.
Now line up the sleeves/the top of the shirt... make sure the shoulder seams line up!
find a shirt/onesie that fits your child, fold it like the adult shirt, and lay it on top, lining up the center folds and the top of the arms.
If the shirt is a little big for your kiddo, leave it there, but if you're grabbing something that fits perfectly, or you want to make the next size up, scoot the baby shirt over and down a little, equally.
I moved mine over about 1.5" but only down about an inch, because my bean has skinny little arms!
mark the corner made by the armpit (give yourself a smidge of seam allowance... I put about .5") It's pretty easy to go back and take a little more off after you've fitted it to your child, but if you cut too much off now, you've wasted a shirt!)
Ok, go put away the baby shirt, and grab a ruler.
make a straight line from the corner mark you made to the sleeve hem. Ideally, the line would meet the sleeve hem in a 90 degree angle.
Clearly, my world is not ideal.
Now draw a line from the corner mark to the hem of the shirt, ending JUST BEFORE THE HEM. (it's not actually that dire, but it's prettier if you don't cut/sew through the hem)
so here's the serging line you made. you only need one right now.
cut off the extra, leaving a little bit more seam allowance... (this is mostly just so you can put your clips on the seam lines)
now if you unfold the shirt, you should see the basic shape of a toddler playsuit!
measure your crotch "U"
do some math (or make google do it for you) to figure out what 70% of your crotch measurement is (70% of 17 is 11.9, so , as you can see in the next photo, I rounded to 12") to get your edging measurement
cut strips 5" wide by the length of your edging measurement. You can cut strips from ribbing, although it's a bit thick, and might be difficult to put snaps through. I used regular-t-shirt-fabric scraps.
cut 2

Use clothespins (really, it's a knit trick that WORKS! no snagging, no breaking pins on your serger blade, and easy to remove from either side!) to clip together the sides of your playsuit (or, if you don't have enough clothespins, clip the side with the marker)
so once you have the sides all clipped together, stop and move the kitten away from the machines so you can actually serge/sew!
I use both of my machines to make these, so if I say "serge," use a serger, or zigzag and then straight stitch (or whatever floats your boat when seaming knits), whereas when I say "sew," I mean straight stitch on a regular machine...
start serging on the side with the markings, starting at the arm, curving through the armpit, and heading down to the hem of the shirt...
try to end up so that you don't actually serge through the bottom hem (because that way you're guaranteed a nice even hem)
ok, so now you have one side beautifully sergered...
turn it over so that the WR of the front is on top (serge on the left) and fold it over, so you can trace the serge line on the other side. (you want the markings to show when you start serging from the arm down)
here's a picture of the markings, just in case you don't know how to trace)
serge the second side, again, starting at the arms, going toward the hem, and try to not serge the hem, so you have a prettier hem.
turn the romper right side out, and you should have something that looks like this!
now all you need to do is the crotch! and that's in the next post!
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How to make snap crotch for a toddler romper/playsuit

OK, so hopefully you've read the part about how to cut/sew the basic shape of the romper, and all that remains is to make the snap crotch (that sounds so weird!)
so, take one strip of stretchy coordinating fabric, serge the narrow ends, and line the ends up with the ends of one "U", wrong sides together. Clip the ends and the mid-points together like this:

It should seem impossible to sew, but the stretch, assuming you cut it the right way, will STRETCH (and the crotch area is not a good area for oodles of extra fabric... taut is good!).
start serging, and as soon as the fabric is caught by the needle, start stretching the fabrics so they are the same size... (you might want to practice with some scraps, you need to stretch evenly, not pull, which could mess up the timing on your machine...)
just for comparison, here's the fabric, romper on top, edging on the bottom, before I stretch it

and here it is stretched.... see how I make them match up?
Do this to both sides, and you'll have something that looks wonky like this:
Iron your seams down so that the romper is flat, and the edging is creased...
then turn down about 1/3 of the raw edge of the ribbing (just at the ends).
fold over again, so that the edging is folded in thirds, and the seam is covered on the right side of the garment. pin at the ends, and then pin in the middle....
now start stretching and pinning wherever you can (about every inch)
it should feel smooth when you stretch it taut... that way, you can iron it (with oodles of steam), and get something that looks this awesome:
isn't that pretty and flat!!??!!
now, on the right side, SEW down as close to the edge as possible (I love my blind-hem foot for this purpose, and highly recommend them!), and then again, about 1/4 from the edge (lack of a good camera meant all the pics of this were blown out and blurry, so you have to imagine how to sew a straight line along the edge ON the edging, covering the serged seam)
now you just have to put in snaps!
Measure the front crotch, roughly in the middle of the edging piece
do math (or just guess based on how many snaps you have...) to figure out where to place the snaps (I did mine every 2.5" and really like that spacing!)
use a sharpie (or whatever) to mark your snap placement ON THE RS OF THE FRONT.
(I'm going to simplify snap parts... there's a flat side, and a functional side (the functional side is either male or female, one of each, obvi, to make a working snap), but as long as you do ALL male on one romper side, and all female on the other romper side, it doesn't seem to matter which is which)
so the RS of the front will have flat parts, and the WS of the front will have functional parts.
I find it easiest to make a hole with a yarn/tapestry needle and then push my flat piece in, but the prong snaps are sharper, and will go through more easily, I think)
when all the front snaps are in, pin the ends of the front and back together, overlapping with the front on the bottom, and (using your knee, or someone else's hands) stretch so the pieces are flat.
now mark the matching points on the RS of the back.
Put the flat snap pieces on the INSIDE (WS) of the back, and the functional pieces on the RS (outside) of the back. this way the crotch strips will overlap in the crotch, which is ideal (if this is confusing, look at some RTW snap crotch pants before you put ANY snaps in!)
TADA! put it on a kid and enjoy!
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I saw 2 really awesome tutorials in my google reader today, and while I don't usually link to other people's stuff here, I am going to today. Purely selfishly, since I want to be able to find these again!

first, I saw these awesome flowers:100lc_diyflowers1
then I saw this awesome tute on how to do Flying Geese blocks quickly and easily. LOVE.
P.S., if anyone out there feels like making something for D, he really wants one of these, and I don't have any socks like that...(nor do I want to go out and buy socks just to cut up)

toddler/boys boxer-briefs!

Look what I made tonight:

Cutie patutie boys underpants from old baby clothes!
Start to finish, including cutting time, I can whip one of these bad boys out in less than 10 minutes! (rereading this after posting, this sounds really dirty!)

These would also work as "boy shorts" for a girl... with girlier fabric... I just wanted to use D's old baby clothes...
*a knit cotton t-shirt that is too small (I used 18mo, 24mo, and 2t shirts for my size 6 3yo boy)
*scrap of cotton knit with Lycra/Spandex (same thing... the easiest way for me to tell if there's lycra/spandex in a cotton jersey is by stretching it... plain cotton=not shiny, lycra/spandex= shiny when stretched.)
*scissors, sewing machine, thread etc.
Start with the T-shirt... cut it apart just below the armpits, straight across.
The bottom of the shirt will be your boxers, the top will be cut apart even more to make the crotch gusset
(this tute is illustrated with 2 different pairs of boxers... I made the striped one first, then made the red one to get extra pictures of things I missed the first time)
Using the leftover top of the shirt, cut out a crotch piece. (if your kid is chubby, make it wide, if your kid is skinny, make it narrow. I'd aim for about 3" by 7", (but it's better to cut a piece that's too big, as big as your shirt will allow, and then cut down later, rather than cut a little piece, and have to piece together the crotch)
You can see the outline on the red shirt of the crotch piece... cutting that gave me 2 matching pieces (one from the front, one from the back). The striped shirt had the front collar placket, so I could only get one crotch piece from it... I supplemented with a part of a sleeve from another cotton shirt...)
*Try to make sure the crotch pieces are 100% cotton (avoid baby yeast infections!!!)
so now you have the bottom of a shirt, and 2 matching rectangles...
Cut a strip of the cotton with lycra/spandex that's 2-3 inches long (I like thicker waistbands for my son, they're easier on him) that's 3 or so inches smaller than the actual waist measurement (rough guideline: I'd cut 15-16" for a 3-5y/o, 16-18 for a 6-8 y/o)
sew the strip into a band, right sides together

This will be your waistband, and the lycra/spandex will provide enough elasticity that you don't need to actually put itchy elastic in the underpants! Fold the waist band in 1/2, wrong side together, so the seam is in the inside, and you have a ring.
Pin it to the cut/unfinished side of the shirt bottom, matching the waist seam with one of the shirt side seams, matching the 1/2 and 1/4 points of both. The shirt bottom should be bigger than the waistband, and you will have to stretch the shirt to match the waist band as you sew.
Ok, now it should look like this: (you could stop here and have a toddler tube top, I suppose)
Now fold it in 1/2 like this:
Grab your scissors and cut out a little crotch "J"
I just freehanded it, but if you've never made pants before, cut out a little J shape that's about 2" high. (maybe start with 1.5" and cut off more if needed...
Here's what the red pair looked like when I opened them up:
They look underpants-esque already, don't they?

Now go grab those crotch gusset rectangles, and serge/zigzag them, right sides together, on the NARROW ends, like this:
Turn the gusset right side out, and zigzag a little topstitch on the narrow ends like this: (don't worry about making the beginning/ends look good, they'll be covered in the next step)
Pin one long side of your gusset to the curve on one side of your boxers, right sides together. I find it easier to pin on the gusset side. First put the edges together and pin each corner, then the middle, then the 1/4 points, like so:
Flip them around and sew the other side, again, right sides together, pinning on the gusset side.
Clip threads, iron (if you care, I didn't bother, obvi).
Flip them right side out, and admire.
Wasn't that easy?!?!?!
Here's the set I made tonight... all have the same waistband fabric, therefore, obviously, they're a "set."


I dunno if anyone is holding their breath out there in blogworld, but here's the tute I made on how to make a skirt from a pair of men's trousers...

This skirt is inspired by this page in Blueprints of Fashion. There aren't any directions in the book (because it's just photos of the pattern envelopes), but the idea is just to take a pair of mens suit pants, turn them upside down, and make a skirt out of the fabric. One could do a suit coat too, as shown, but a) I'm a stay at home mom with no need for suit coats, and b) suit coats require patterns, not improvisation . I suppose one could just use a store-bought pattern to make this skirt, but I've been loving my A-line skirts from Sew What? Skirts lately, so I just improvised....

I put the instructions ON the photos (mostly because I just made a bag using a pattern that did NOT explain which picture went with which direction, so it a frustrating game of matching).
Here goes:
I started with really large mens trousers. I wanted fullness around the pant hips (so the bottom of my skirt would flare) and narrow-ish ankles (but not so small that they wouldn't fit my post-baby waist). To make sure pants work for you, read all the directions here, and make sure the proposed pants have measurements the right size or bigger. (ie, super skinny girls need skinny pants, larger girls need larger pants)

Do both legs the same way... i only show one, but do both. These directions make a 6-gored skirt with a side zipper, where the front and back pieces are cut identically (but the zipper belongs on the left, and you put the pockets on the front).

(I guess the picture here of the front/back should have tipped me off that the skirt wasn't going to fit properly without taking in the waist. your pieces should be trapezoidal, not rectangular.)

I know jeans-into-skirts are really popular, but I don't love that weird flat front crossover thing that happens when people rip open jeans and turn them into skirts... that's why I like this whole upside down thing... plus the goring... flattering and EASY!

Somehow this gray wool one (my first attempt) came out better... I think I just measured and tried it on more often as I went along, instead of finishing the whole thing, waiting for the big reveal, and then having it be so big it literally slid all the way down and off when I stood up.

PLEASE let me know if you have any questions or need clarification on anything!!!

bags and a bag tutorial!

a cherry print bag, made from scraps of remnant fabric (so total cost <$1!). made today for tutorial.

Butterfly Bookbag. Note the super short handles. A) I ran out of fabric, and B) the small handles actually makes it easier to carry loads of heavy picture books.

Farmer's Market Bag (it seemed really French to me, not just because of the French seams, but just the colors...) Bias tape handles, and the scrap bias made a pretty bow.

Clothespins Bag. It's made from an old pillowcase (and looks it!) It holds my clothespins very well.
and HERE'S my brand-spankin new tutorial on how to make your own! i made it into a PDF. it's my first attempt at tuting, so PLEASE give feedback (nicely!).

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