Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The way you make me felt

Look what I made!

I found this great tutorial at Not Dabbling in Normal on how to turn a men's Extra Large Knit Jumper into a felt bag.

The tutorial shows you all you need to know but you can follow me on a visual journey through my process.

Find yourself an Extra Large Men's Knitted Jumper. Here's one I found earlier:

Put it into your sink/tub/bathtub and drown it in boiling water. I did this for 10 minutes.

Chuck it in the dryer for 20 minutes.

It appears to have shrunk but I can still see all the stitches. Next trip to the sink. This time I left it for 20 minutes.

Chuck it in the dryer for another 20 minutes.

Hmm it's still shrunken, but I can still see the stitches. Next trip to the sink. This time I left it for an hour. Take that jumper!

Miracle of miracles it's starting to look like felt! Hooray!

Chuck it in the dryer for 20 minutes (again).

And now it's ready to turn into a bag. Cut off the arms and draw the shape of the straps onto the body of the jumper.

Felt Bag How To
Felt Bag How To

Take one of the sleeves, cut it along the sew line and lay it flat. Cut out a the top length of it to fit the base of your bag (6-8 centimetres, your choice really)

Felt Bag How To

This is the point at which I realised it looked much cooler when I turned it inside out. That's it, it shall now be a reverse jumper bag.

Felt Bag How To

Turn it inside out and pin the base to the bottom of the jumper. I handstitched the entire base with a rolling stitch which actually turned out to be subtle enough that I could reverse the bag if I really wanted to.

Felt Bag How To

TA DA! I got me a funky felted bag!

Felt Bag How To

So now that you have seen my trial and error version of this bag here's what I suggest you do.

1. Find an extra large knitted jumper.

2. Drown it in boiling hot water for anywhere between 30-60 minutes (mine needed much longer because it was a really chunky knit). Check it every now and then and if you see that it's starting to felt up to the point you can't see the stitches it's probably ready.

3. Put it in the dryer.

4. Cut out the shape you want plus the base.

5. Sew it together and voila!
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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Sew Obsessed!

Turns out this sewing thing is really addictive. Just inthe past couple of days I’ve shopped for fabric andbuttonsonline, I’ve trawled through $2 storeslooking for beads, trims and sewing gadgets. I’ve been op-shopping looking for fabric offcuts and clothes to refashion and tomorrow I plan to go toddling through the fabric stores of Cabramatta (again!) to see if they have any new fabrics since I started sewing.

But of all the obsessive things I’ve found myself doing this past week, yesterday’s would have to be the most fruitful.
One word.

Previous to yesterday it was a book store I got taken to by my boyfriend who geeks it up in the anime and comics section. I mean sure I love bookstores. I’ve spent countless hours browsing, thumbing through books, creating armfuls of treasured reads that now adorn my bookshelves but never before had I discovered a whole new section of bliss. There I was wandering through the aisles hoping to stumble upon a book or two in the craft section or something when my boyfriend called me over to a section hidden behind a display.

The sewing section.

So there I was confronted with row upon glorious row of sewing books and it was I who was geeking out. My boyfriend took one look at my face and found himself a seat. The very first display alone held 2 of the 3 books I had read countless reviews on. I ummed and ahhed, I picked books up, I put books down, I picked them back up again, I swapped them around, I changed my mind. I was overwhelmed by the shear happiness of finding an entire section devoted, not to sewing, but to me. Yes. That’s exactly what this section was about. Me.

In the end I narrowed it down to the following:

Plus I just bought this online:

Buzzing from this new experience we exited the sewing section via the Japanese book section. Which just so happened to contain row upon row of Japanese sewing books with paper patterns in them ready for you to sew! Heart. Beat. Rising.

Now I understand that I don’t speak a word of Japanese. I understand that it would require vast feats of interpretation to make these inspirational garments despite the numbered pattern pieces. So why can’t I stop thinking about these Japanese pattern books?


Another day.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Project 6 - Lydia Top with Ruffles - With a How-To!

I've been doing a lot of browsing online lately to see what kinds of designs I could try to make for myself with my growing pile of Jersey. I found this cute little singlet top from Old Navy which I thought I could adapt into a long sleeved white rib top.

So here's how I did it:

1. Since this pattern is based on BurdaStyle's Lydia Top I cut out my pattern as normal and kept the front piece handy. Although an already made/purchased top would do just fine I think.

2. I measured out how long I wanted the ruffles to be on the top and did it kinda like this. (By the way yes I did go to the effort of finding a paint program online to scribble, save and download this pic to my laptop, which was actually kinda fun)

3. I cut 7 strips in the above lengths with a width of about 2 centimetres and sewed right down the centre before ruffling them. (Don't worry if you don't know how to do ruffles this was my first time and I just copied this great tutorial here at A Pretty Cool Life)

4. One by one I evened out the ruffles of each strip and pinned it to the top, sewing each strip on before attaching the next. I did it this way because I positioned them quite close together and the pins were fighting with each other. If you're a savvy sewer you could probably pin them all at the one time and sew away.

5. Once all your strips are attached and sewed on you're ready to sew up the rest of the top!

** Since I'm new to sewing I thought I'd share some last thoughts on this top with you. Firstly I've chosen to edge the neckline differently than the original pattern on Burdastyle because it neatly tucks away the edges of the ruffles. Secondly if I were to make this top again I would make sure I paid more attention to the bottom of the ruffles. You can't really tell from these photos but most of the ruffles simply end in the square bottom of the strip sitting flat against the top which looks ok, but in retrospect I would have rathered to bunch the end more or curl it under slightly so it didn't look so amateur.

So for my next project I have my sights set on making a Henley style top possibly incorporating a ruffle. I'll see if I can find a tutorial or possibly muddle my way through it and hope for the best!

Stay Tuned!
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Friday, June 18, 2010

Project 5 - Lydia Top with folded ruffle

Success! I embarked on an epic journey over more than a week of attempting to make this top (no it really doesn't take that long to sew! I blame the short attention span and busy-ness of life for it taking so long).

As usual this is all based on my beloved Lydia pattern from BurdaStyle with a slight twist. I found this great tutorial at Sew and So (which was actually linked from Sewing@CraftGossip) to make this really interesting ruffle detail you see down the front. On the tutorial it was actually used on the neckline of a top but I really wanted to use it to dress up the front of an otherwise plain top. There aren't too many differences between the original tutorial and my adaptation but I'll give you a little spiel anyway.

I started by cutting out the fabric according to the Lydia Pattern as normal and keeping just the front piece handy to measure against.

I measured how long I wanted the ruffles to reach down the front of the top which was 24 centimetres (just like the fake Grandpa style top I made). I started off by cutting 3 strips of fabric 36 centimetres long by 3 centimetres wide (because this was all the continuous fabric I had left) but soon realised with all the folding and pinning that I was rapidly running out of fabric (oops!). I had to cut out some more strips and sew them to the bottom and hope that the stitching magically fell on the underside of a fold (which 2 out of the 3 did!). For this reason I suggest you start with double the length of fabric for the strips so you don't have to go through that process.

Then I pinned them together like so:

I made sure to leave 1.5 centimetres at the top of the fabric strip so it would sit nicely underneath the edging along the neckline. I also made the middle strip one folded ruffle longer because this is how I wanted it to look on the top.

This was the point at which I went back to the tutorial and realised that I was actually meant to be pinning it to the top as I went (oops!). So instead I lined them up on the front piece of the top and pinned between the folds. Once I had all 3 strips of fabric attached I was ready to sew in a straight line down the strips.

Once all that was done it was time to sew up the top as normal and VOILA I had me a pretty blue folded ruffle top!

I hope you love this just as much as I do!
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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Project 3 & 4

No your eyes did not deceive you. Project 3 & 4 are proudly brought to you in one awesome blog post. Get ready for it.

So yes, as you can see I have managed to create yet more offsprings from the Lydia Top that I seem oh so fond of. However this time I tried to get a little fancy and add some basic detailing to them. Project 3 consisted of black knit/jersey with the interfaced neckline. I decided to pretty it up with some plaited scraps that I hand sewed around the neckline and then I added a bow. Awww.

So here's a photo of what the detailing looked like when I was playing around with it.

And this is what the neckline looked like after attaching it all.

And now for Project 4...
I really wanted to make a grandpa style top but lack the ability to do all that fiddly button and edging stuff so I decided to cheat (shhh). Here I'll put up a picture of the finished product and talk you through it.

First I cut out my fabric as normal, pinned it together and tried it on. While it was on I got a bit of chalk and marked on my fabric how far down I wanted the top section with buttons to reach down. Then I figured out how wide I wanted it to be. Basically from that marking I think it worked out to be something like 3 centimetres wide by 24 centimetres long. So I cut a piece of fabric 6 centimetres wide and 27 centimetres long. I turned the right side of the fabric face down on the table and folded the side edges in until they met in the middle and lightly ironed the strip of fabric. Then I folded the bottom of the strip of fabric up the extra 3 centimetres at the bottom and lightly ironed it again.

I pinned it to the top and sewed around the edges giving myself a tiny 1-2 millimetre space around the edge. On the bottom section, as you can see, I also sewed a cross to keep it all in place (and I think it looks snazzier). Then I marked out where the buttons would go and hand-sewed them on. All I had to do from there was sew it up as normal and voila I had me a pretend Grandpa style top. Love it.

So I've found a really cute detail that I want to try out on my next (Lydia) top so stay tuned for the next exciting installment of the girl who can certifiably sew in straight lines seemingly on only one pattern (although that will change when my sewing skills reach a new level of awesome!)