Category Archives: Tutorials

Kid Friendly (Earbud) Pouch

08-budpouchEarbud pouches are a great way to keep your headphones clean, neat, and tidy. Unfortunately, most are too small for tiny hands…plus let’s face it, most kids aren’t going to take the time to neatly coil the cords and zippers are just a potential disaster waiting to happen (I can foresee ‘cutting the wires’ with the zipper if you leave any part of the ear bud hanging out of the pouch because they’re in too big of a hurry to stuff it all inside). With that said, I decided to come up with a ‘Kid Friendly’ ear bud pouch: large enough to fit a pair headphones and an easy Velcro closure. It also features a separate lining from the exterior (which means the sewing soundslooks crazy, but stick with me because it will work in the end!). Here’s how to make your own:

Fabric scraps for exterior and lining (each should measure at least 6 x 10″)
1″ piece of Velcro

From exterior fabric
Cut 1, 5 1/2 x 6″ rectangle
Cut 1, 5 1/2 x 3 1/2″ rectangle

From lining fabric
Cut 1, 5 1/2 x 6″ rectangle
Cut 1, 5 1/2 x 3 1/2″ rectangle

Sewing: (all seams 1/4″)
1. If you are planning on embroidering a name, design, etc. on your pouch be sure to do this now before you start sewing.

2. With right sides together, sew the top edge of the 5 1/2 x 3 1/2″ exterior and lining rectangles together (if you have a one-way design, name, or design, be sure that your material is facing the correct way!). This will be your front pouch.

3. Turn right side out and press finished edge (topstitch if desired).

4. Open up front pouch, separating the exterior fabric from the lining. Center Velcro across the top of the exterior pouch piece, close to finished edge, and sew in place.


5. Keeping pouch sections open and with right sides together, place exterior pouch section on top of exterior flap piece (the 5 1/2 x 6″ rectangle). You will find that the lining section will hang over the flap piece just slightly. Sew from the top of the pouch seam, down the side, across the bottom, and back up the side (stopping at top seam).


6. Repeat step #5 with the lining. Your end result will be the front pouch sandwiched between the exterior and lining flaps (which remain unsewn at the top).


7. Sew second piece of Velcro to the right side of lining. Velcro should be centered, 3/8″ down from top, raw edge of lining.


8. With right sides together, place lining and exterior unsewn flap edges together and sew, leaving a 2″ opening for turning on top edge.

9. Clip the corners of all pieces and turn right side out through opening on top edge. Poke corners out with a chopstick or point turner if necessary.

10 Stuff lining into pouch and press. Slipstitch opening closed or topstitch top edge with sewing machine.



Fill your finished pouch with earbuds or keep it for yourself – it’s the perfect size for business cards, small jewelry, and more!

DIY Your Metal Zips

03-newzipHow’s everyone’s Ziggi coming along? Hopefully everyone has survived the zippered pocket construction and are ready finish your moto! As we move on to front assembly of the jacket, you may have found that purchasing an appropriately sized zipper difficult. So, what do you do when you can’t find what you want? You could always take to internet (some online retailers will cut to size the zipper length you need) or you could DIY it! I know what your thinking, metal zippers look impossible to shorten yourself, but when you have the right tool, it takes just minutes to fix!

03-nippersThe first thing you need is a pair of Nipper Pliers (sometimes they also called End Nippers) – which is pictured on the left. Often times you can purchase these nippers online from zipper stores (around $20), but they are typically much more expensive than finding them at your local home store (or if you husband has an extensive tool chest, chances are you already have them!) – I found mine as a set with several other pliers for around $10.

03-zippatternNow determine the length you want your finished zipper to be. I placed my zipper on the “Front Main” pattern piece along the “Left Zip” marking. Make sure that the bottom, zipper stop is even with at the hash mark on the bottom edge of the pattern. Keep the zipper along the pattern edge and make a mark on the zipper tape to indicate the top, hash mark of the pattern (The pattern notes that the zipper runs along the marks. However, if you want your jacket to look like the illustration on the front, you will need to measure from the top hash mark to the bottom hem). You could also use a ruler to adjust to the size called for in the pattern (20, 21, or 22″ depending on the pattern size you are making). However, I found that while my pattern calls for a 20″ zipper, the length needed is actually slightly less than what is noted in the materials section of the pattern (when I measure from the bottom hem to the top hash mark, it is slightly larger than the 20″). Why does this happen? If you notice, there are several size ranges listed for one size zipper (for example a 20″ zipper is needed for sizes 4-12) – since patterns are adjusted both length and width slightly, it only stands to reason that there will be a few variances within that range.

03-nipactionThe mark you just made on your zipper tape will be your new zipper stop. Unzip your zipper past this point and begin removing the metal teeth, starting at the mark you made. The nipper pliers will ‘grab’ the metal teeth so all you need to do is pull straight forward and they will pop off – there should be no need to twist to remove them so you don’t need to worry about damaging the zipper tape. Continue removing the metal teeth on both sides of the tape about 1″ above your mark.

03-zipstopIf you are able to find “zipper stops” in the notions isle your store, go ahead and apply them at the mark you made on your zipper tape. If not, you need to do what I do and remove them from the zipper tap and reattach them. I found that a standard set of pliers work much better than the nippers and pulling them off. Once removed, you will probably have to pry the stop open slightly so that it will easily fit onto the new zipper tape location easily. Once on, use your (standard) pliers to crimp it back into place. Voila! Your new zip is ready for action!

Note: You can see my new zipper is at the top of this post – I left the teeth on the top edge just to show you how I made mine, but be sure to snip off the tape where you stopped removing metal teeth before you start sewing.

03-splitringEDITED TO ADD: My husband pointed out that he has a nifty tool that is PERFECT for removing (and prying apart) the zipper stops: Split Ring Pliers! These pliers have a ‘wedge’ at the top that will easily open up the zipper stop so it can be removed from the tape. This also opens up the stop enough so you’re able to to re-attach it to the zipper tape at it’s new location without having to pry it apart with another tool (then use pliers to squeeze the stop so it doesn’t fall out of position). Split ring pliers can be found at your local home store, online, and in fishing stores!

The Petal Pusher

If you’ve picked up your latest copy of Sew News (DecJan 2013), you’ll want to turn to page 48 to see my latest project for this issue! The Petal Pusher shrug was a fun, Project Runway-esque garment to make (I worked a lot on a dress form and think I turned out something fairly trendyunique), but is definitely not something you can whip up in a few hours (there are lots of petal embellishments to attach). You’ll also want to invest in some Best Press or liquid starch to keep your petals from curling too much. Want to dress this style up for evening? Make a matching tank to wear underneath (I can definitely see this as a holiday garment)! Hope you enjoy this article and definitely let me know if you sew this one up!

Convertible Mittens Project

When I was in middle school, my mom bought me the most fantastic pair of convertible gloves – I wore them several winters until they got so worn out that I couldn’t use them any more…. and then I could never find a good replacement pair. That’s where the idea for my latest WeAllSew project came from – my awesome first pair of convertible mittens. They’re perfect for keeping your hands warm, but when you “flip the top” of the glove, give you access to your fingertips – which is especially important when you’re using a handheld device or just need the dexterity that mittens don’t allow.

This project is easy to sew up and perfect for using scraps of stretch fabric. It’s one size fit’s most, however, the stretchier your fabric is the more (larger) hand sizes it will fit. Have questions or just want to show off your latest pair? Leave a comment in this thread (and a link to your finished project photo)!

Bibs From Towels

Have a new baby or a shower to go to? Not only will this bib be well received, but it’ll quickly become a favorite because it’s so large and absorbent! The secret? It’s made from a towel! This is my latest project for WeAllSew and as you can tell, even Easton liked it (and he hasn’t worn a bib in years!). This is a great project to use those adorable, pre-embellished hand towels you see in stores or use an embroidery machine to personalize your own (I’ve done several “First Birthday” versions as gifts for friends). Plus I’ve also included two ways to finish your project to change up their looks – both are quick and easy and can be stitched up in under an hour. This project isn’t just for little ones, it’s also ideal for adults who need assistance in feeding – just change the size of the towel to accommodate the individual and you’ve got a perfectly sized bib that will help keep their clothing tidy during meals!

Mixed Media Banner Tutorial

This year I decided that I wanted to do something different this year for Halloween. This year I wanted to go… ‘vintage”. This is not a look that I generally go for, but I was totally inspired by this photo. What I really loved about this look was the banner. But since I don’t do paper crafting, I did the next best thing – “mixed media”

I my opinion, the key to a vintage banner is the lettering. Since I don’t do paper crafting, I decided on the next best thing – machine embroidery. For my version, I decided to use the Cirque Alphabet from Urban Threads (5.00″w x 3.50″h – I found that I was able to easily fit two letters on the large, oval hoop) and a ‘rustic’, open-weave cotton fabric from Hobby Lobby. Like the inspiration photo, I set out to spell the phrase “All Hallows Eve”.

After embroidering the letters, I used a fusible webbing on the backside of the material. I cut the fabric and frayed the edges slightly to give it a more ‘rustic’ feel – then ironed it directly onto a precut, 4.5″ X 6.5″ piece of paper. While the precut papers are pretty, they are still very flimsy. So, if you want them to last for years to come, you’ll probably want to back each letter with a card stock of the same size (I used a glue stick to adhere the papers together).

Next you’ll want to string your letters together. To do this, I used a hole punch to make two small holes on the top center of each letter (this not only seems to give each letter balance when strung, but also some ‘support’ so the string doesn’t eventually rip through the holes). I used a 1/4″ ribbon to hold them all together. Next up, string them up on your mantle, banister, or doorway and enjoy! Here’s how my finished fireplace looks so far:

Trick-or-Treat and So Much More

Happy September National Sewing Month! The start of Labor Day holiday means only one thing…. it’s time to start planning for Halloween. What better project to put on your sewing table than my new tutorial up at WeAllSew? These instructions will teach you to make 4 different bags: Two full size trick-or-treat totes, one with a contrasting band, and two mini versions that are perfect as party favors. Don’t do Halloween? Then change up the fabric on these bags for any occasion such as Christmas, birthdays, and Valentines Day and use the minis for gift cards, take home bags for children’s parties (you can even embroider their name on the contrast band), or just for decoration. The possibilities are endless! What will you be using your tote(s) for?

Chiffon Chic

Do you have a fabric that intimidates you? For many of us that material is called “chiffon”: It’s slippery, doesn’t take to pins kindly, ravels easily…. just to name a few issues. However you can take the fear out of sewing with chiffon if you read my latest article (AugustSeptember) in Sew News – on newsstands now! You’ll not only learn tips and tricks when working with chiffon, but finishing techniques, and how to adapt a pattern to make the keyhole top you see on the left. Can’t wait for your issue to make the top? You can get the instructions to make yours here (and if you’re looking for the fabric, it’s currently on sale at Gorgeous Fabrics!

Flounce Sundress Tutorial

It’s tutorial time! If you were interested in stitching up the Flounce Sundress here’s your chance to make one for yourself! Let me start off by saying this design is adapted from Mimi G’s maxi dress so if you’d had experience sewing up that look, you’ll breeze through construction on this one. If not, have no fear, this dress is quick and easy to sew up.

1 1/2-2 yards of knitstretch fabric
1 package of 1″ elastic
1 package double fold bias tape
1 package of 1/2″ elastic
Measuring tape
Water soluble markertailer’s chalk

1. Fold fabric in half lengthwise (the most amount of stretch is running horizontal). Measure the upper part of your bust. Add 16″ to this measurement and divide by 2. From the fold, draw a line across your fabric to your finished number. Measure from your upper bust to your desired length (I had mine at knee length). Add 4″ to this number. Starting from the line you just drew, make a line vertically on your fabric to your desired length. Remove the rectangle from the fabric – this will be the dress. Now measure from your chest to your belly button and add 3″ to this measurement. On the wrong side of your dress, measure down to your belly button length and mark. Continue making marks across the fabric until you have a continuous line across your fabric (this will be your placement line for your bias tape casing).

2. To cut the ruffle, fold fabric in half lengthwise, again. From the fold draw a line across your fabric to your finished upper bust measurement. Measure down 7″ (if you have a very large bust I suggest this number be increased by an inch or so) and remove rectangle from fabric.

3. With right sides together, sew side seam of dress. Sew short ends of ruffle together, forming a continuous loop.

4. If desired, finish one long edge of ruffle. This can be done by using a rolled hem or small zig-zag stitch along the edged of the fabric. Since we are using a knit material, this step can also be skipped since a majority of these fabrics do not ravel.

5. Place right side of ruffle on the right side of dress matching unfinished edges and seams. Baste in place.

6. Fold over 2 1/4″ on top edge of dress and sew, catching both the bottom edge of the dress and the ruffle in your stitching. Leave a 3″ opening for inserting elastic.

7. Cut your 1″ elastic to your exact (your original number) upper bust measurement and thread it through the casing. Overlap the ends 1/4″ and zig-zag stitch across the elastic. Push the elastic loop through the casing and finish off the casing stitches of your dress. Distribute fullness evenly. (When worn, the ruffle will cover the elastic casing).
*I found that my elastic (even though it said it was non-roll) rolled horribly. If this happens to you, divide your dress into fourths and mark. Then stitch over the casing in these areas to keep your elastic from rolling inside. This is also an ideal way to keep your ruffle in place since the ruffle can be sewn to the casing at these points.

8. Open up your bias tape (press open the crease) and place along the belly button line you drew on your dress earlier and stitch. Overlap the ends by 1/4″ and fold over raw edge (to make a finished edge). Stitch along bottom edge of casing. Measure your waist, cut 1/2″ elastic to this length and insert through the waist casing. Overlap the ends 1/4″ and zig-zag stitch across the elastic. Push the elastic loop though the casing and distribute the fullness evenly.

9. On bottom edge of dress, fold up 1 1/4″ to wrong side and stitch hem in place.

Get Some Sleep

The days are getting longer, the sun is coming up earlier, and chances are you’re going to want to get some sleep while the sun is still rising (or maybe even sneak in a nap?). Now it’s easier to get some shut-eye with one of these quick-and-easy sleep masks (they’ll take you under an hour from start to finish)! I added fun messages to the font of each mask, but you can definitely skip this part, use iron on letters or designs, or use fabric sheets to print images (like eyes) prior to cutting. In fact…. I’m thinking I might make one using a set of eyes from Urban Thread’s Monster Factory. I wonder if I could get Easton to wear one that way so he’ll sleep in and stop getting up with the sun?