Pretty Papercut Packaging

03-papercutNot only has this week been spring break for both my kids, but the youngest has been sick the entire time – consequently, my sewing machine may be growing cobwebs! However, I did buy several patterns recently and one of the prettiest packaged ones arrived in the mail: Papercut Patterns’ Ensis Tee. The envelope is so cleverly designed, even my 5 year old was impressed!

I searched my stash and decided that my first version will be a black cotton jersey and Michael Miller’s Dalmatian Stripe knit. Hopefully I’ll find a few hours this weekend to give this one a try. What is everyone else stitching up?

Linky Thursday

Help Bernina decide which designer face plate will appear on their special edition 350 machine and you’ll be entered to win their machine! You can find the contest on their Facebook Page under the title “Faceplate Face-off”.

Ikat Bag has some of the cutest, unique stuffies on the web. This week she’s sharing her Spring Bunny pattern, just in time for Easter!

I really hope hats come back into fashion, because I love wearing them. I may even try my hand at this Newsboy Style and make it myself!

Pretty tops for little girls don’t have to be made from knits. If you prefer sewing with wovens, check out this tutorial for The Fallen Top.

Ring in spring with a new, leather bottomed tote.

Have an hour? You can make a car seat cover up  or a set of crib sheets in about that time! Either one would make a great baby show gift!

Make beautiful jewelry from a leather bracelet, rhinestone trim, and glass pearl beads.

Share you spring inspired fashions and you could win a Husqvarna Viking Designer Topaz 25 and a Gorgeous Fabrics gift card!

Change up the look of your favorite legging design with this fun pattern hack!

Minkey can be used for so much more than just blankets – like this cute stuffed alligator! He looks perfect to snuggle with!

Transform 2 shirts in the perfect color blocked tee.

Spring may be here, but it’s still not too late to make one last scarf.

Make your little man trendier this Easter with this color blocked tie.

Beautiful coasters don’t have to be made from wood, cork or tile. Make yours in fabric.

Congratulations

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Congratulations to MaLora from Bird and Bicycle for winning the copy of More Felt Friends from Japan! If you didn’t win, you can purchase your own copy from Amazon … and stay tuned for more giveaways, prizes, and contests through out the year on this site!

In the mean time, you can see me make a few fun projects from this book very soon! Who doesn’t love a cute stuffy with matching accessories?

 

Yokes & Collar

03-yokeIf you’re working on the Ziggi, you’ll be happy to read that today’s post is very straightforward and easy to construct: today, we’ll be adding the yokes and the collar! If you’ve decided to quilt the upper sleeve and yokes, be sure to do so prior to attaching them to your jacket (and be sure to transfer all your markings from the pattern as they are extremely useful for lining everything up). The yoke pattern pieces are labeled so you can easily identify the neck edge, front and back. Attach the the front of the jacket to the front yoke, lining up the markings (if you’re top stitching, press do so on the jacket front). Repeat for your jacket back.

Now you can properly try on your jacket (although it looks more like a vest at this point) and check out how good you look in it!

Next up, the collar. Use the placement marks to line up your collar to your jacket seams and markings. I’d suggest initially basting your collar to your jacket at this point, just in case you encounter puckering or have any difficulties during sewing.

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Pot ‘o Gold

03-potHappy St. Patrick’s Day! As rivers are fading from green to their normal shade(s) and parades are winding down, it’s still a holiday in my sewing room as I managed to finish this cute little pot of gold! My neighbor’s mother asked me to make this for her as a present for a gift exchange. I used my tutorial that was featured in Sew News several years ago. I had to make a slight modification to it as it seems that the handles to a lot of paint buckets have plastic handles are are not inserted back into the bucket as easily\the same so I just skipped that part all together – plus it definitely looks more ‘pot like’ anyway… now all it needs is some chocolate gold coins and it would definitely look like a leprechaun’s treasure!

On a completely different note, don’t forget today is the last day to enter to win a copy of More Felt Friends from Japan!

Quilting

03-quiltbarLet me start off by saying, I am not a quilter. I’ve tried it. I don’t mind piecing things together, but I don’t want to do the actual ‘quilting’ – especially on large projects. With that said, quilters have some awesome tools – clear plastic rulers, Wonder Clips, neat fabric markers (water and heat soluble), and unique cool feet\notions for their machines (I love my BSR for small projects). Quilting tools don’t just have to be for quilting, though – sometimes they are perfect for garment sewing projects, too.  The quilting bar\seam guide is a prime example. This little guy attaches to your machine foot and is adjusted to your desired width so that your stitches are evenly spaced…. which is perfect for the yoke and upper arm segments of your Ziggi!

Since I’m working with leather, I needed to avoid tracing wheels (the prongs in the wheel can leave permanent marks on your material) and water soluble markers wouldn’t show on my dark fabrics (I am not a fan of chalk, either – I’ve found that on leathers sometimes the chalk gets trapped under the stitching so I can still see it which requires me to wipe it clean… I’m lazy, I don’t want to add another step). Consequently, I turned to my Seam Guide! All you need to do is create one row of stitching, set your seam guide width (mine is 1″), and place your seam guide over your original stitching for perfectly spaced rows of sewing!

Tackling the Front

03-sidesattachI know, I know. You were expecting Linky Thursday. There were so many fabulous things going on the blog this week (did you see the Felt Friends book giveaway and the metal zipper tutorial?) that it was time to catch up with some Ziggi sew-along posts. I promise, next week will be back to ‘normal’! So, about that Ziggi! If you haven’t attached the (mid) front and back pieces together at the sides, now is the time to do it.  Be sure that you are only sewing the side and not the shoulders – this is where the yolk will be eventually sewn connecting the front and back together (I’m holding my jacket up by clips so you can see what we have so far).  If you want to top stitch this area, go ahead and do this now – I left this area free from stitching only because a lot of my ready-to-wear jacket tend not to topstitch the side seams.  Hmmm, I wonder why?). Next grab your Front Jacket pieces.

Here is where I deviated from the instructions (again). I have to admit, I just didn’t like the way they have you inserting the zipper – it seems unnecessarily difficult and isn’t typically a method that I’ve used for other jackets. Here’s what I did: First, I worked from the left side of the jacket: I placed my shortened zipper with the bottom stop at the bottom mark (or bottom hem depending on how your zipper was shortened) RIGHT SIDE DOWN on the mid front section (where the hem is indicated). If you shortened your zipper, the top stop of the zipper should end at the top hash mark of the jacket mid front and pin\clip in place (Photo1). Fold the excess zipper tape away from the jacket (toward the raw edge) – this will create a nice finished to your zipper when everything is sewn together. Now place your front jacket piece on top of your mid jacket section, matching the notches and sandwiching your zipper in between it all and pin in place (the jacket front is pulled back in Photo 2 to show you how the the zipper is sandwiched in between the layers).

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Using your zipper foot, sew the left side of the jacket together. Press your seam open toward the mid-front section of your jacket. This will ‘turn’ the zipper so that the right side is exposed and allow you to top stitch this section of the jacket if desired (it will also help hold the zipper in position).

03-rightfrontThe right side is much easier. Match the notches of the right front to the right mid-front section of the jacket and sew. Press your seam toward the right mid front and topstitch if desired. If you haven’t already, remove the other half of your zipper from the left side of the jacket (I like to keep mine together when I sewed the left side of the jacket because things have a tendency to ‘walk off’ in my sewing room). Place the edge of the zipper RIGHT SIDE DOWN on the (right-side) right front section of the jacket. The end of the zipper should be aligned with the bottom hash mark (or the bottom hem depending on how your zipper was shortened) and the zipper stop at the top has mark. Fold over your excess zipper tape toward the raw edge and stitch the zipper in place using your zipper foot. Do not fold over your zipper and top stitch  - we’ll be attaching the facings very soon and will tackle that next!

Whew! The front is almost finished! Don’t forget to post your progress photos in the Flickr group and show off your work so far!

More Felt Friends From Japan

Following up on the popular Japanese book, Felt Friends from Japan comes a new title, More Felt Friends From Japan.


This book is filled with 80 new projects including stuffies, clothing, and accessories all made with felt, thread, hand sewing needle, and a little love. Characters range from a cat (seen on the cover) and dog to a giraffe and even a chimpanzee(there’s also retro, posable girl dolls, too!) – all ready to be dressed up with clothing you make for them to wear. Best of all? They don’t have to be just stuffed animals, the author teaches you how to transform your favorite creatures into puppets!
Stuffies not your thing? There’s plenty of other projects to be made including tote bags, glass cases, coasters, and more! Great projects to make up with your children over spring break or just to engage in some casual, late night sewing.

All the patterns needed to make each project are included in the book. However, most of them require you to enlarge the pattern(s) on a copy machine prior to sewing. The instructions are clear and are followed up with great illustrations, plus there is a section in the back of the book that demonstrates stitches\techniques you will you to create your stuffie – making this a perfect book for beginners.

Intrigued? Dreaming up new projects from the book? How about winning a copy of More Felt Friends From Japan for yourself? Kodansha has generously donated a copy to be given away! Just leave a comment on this post by 12, noon (CST) Monday, March 17 to be eligible for the draw (don’t be concerned if your comment doesn’t appear automatically, if you’ve never left a comment before it will likely need to be moderated. I’ll be doing that manually all this week). Good luck!

Pretty Hardware

03-hardwareThere’s nothing better than opening up your mailbox to find that the pretty new hardware you ordered has finally arrived. Aside from the Ziggi, I have the opportunity to work on a new bag project and it calls for some fabulous notions. In addition to the items I needed, I also broke down and ordered stamped zipper pulls – I am so very excited to get to add them to my next project!

Now it’s time to put this hardware to the test and get sewing… although the time change has really put a damper on my productivity\motivation. Anyone else having this problem?

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!