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Embroidery is such a nice thing to add to any sewing project to add a little bit extra personality beyond whatever it is that you’ve made.  I’ve been doing a lot of it recently!  After a rather involved violin I added to a t-shirt, I wanted to make something simpler.  So I created this Angle Roses Embroidery Template, and I’d like to offer it to you today as a free download when you sign up for my newsletter.  I’ve recently switched email clients.  Before now I wasn’t able to send you happy mail or a download like this in it! The result was I never used my newsletter.  So if you’ve signed up in the past, this is the moment when I vow to do better to actually send you newsletters periodically that are full of good ideas to help you sew something creative today!  The Angle Roses Embroidery Template for instance has a goal in mind of teaching you some basics of how to embroider on a regular sewing machine.

Can I actually embroidery on a regular sewing machine?

You bet you can!  You don’t even need a fancy foot to do so.  Embroidery on a regular sewing machine can be as simple as tracing a design onto a stabilizer and tracing along the needles as if it were a pencil.  Plus, you can always make it more complicated if you want to.  Here are some supplies that will help you, and then I’ll give some examples of how to spice up this basic design.

Supplies needed for embroidery on a regular sewing machine

  •  Your design
  • Water soluble stabilizer–I really like Solvy by Sulky.  It’s great for transferring a design and making some nice stitches.  That you can wash it out in the end makes for stitches that won’t be damaged by pulling away the excess stabilizer as can happen in a lot of tear-away stabilizers.
  • Fine line permanent marker–for tracing your design!
  • Uncut fabric or a project that’s already in progress: anything is game here, and you can even use this technique to embellish ready to wear items.
  • Thread of your choice: contrast is key, so you’ll want to practice on some scraps if possible to help you make a good decision.
  • Glue stick:  For gently securing the stabilizer to your work area.
  • Machine foot of your choice: I go into the advantages of each foot in the video for this project, but basically, my top 3 choices are straight stitch foot, clear applique foot, and a free motion embroidery foot.

How can you use this design?

After you’ve downloaded the design, the PDF file will give you a tutorial and several ideas for how you can use them.  I also give some basic directions to help you achieve what I’ve made.  There’s actually a 5th level of difficulty here that I didn’t cover with this project but that I did get to in my violin t-shirt that I’ll talk about another day.  It’s basically a hybrid of applique and embroidery, and it’s one of my very favorite techniques!

Simple and clean

The easiest way to incorporate the Angle Roses Embroidery Template is to simply stitch it out in one color.  A good strongly contrasting thread will be a great choice.  Here I’ve added to a Blank Slate Patterns Texana tank.

embroider on a regular sewing machine

If you want to spend some more time, add multiple motifs on a skirt

 

Punch it up with color

Before you stitch out the design, add a little color to your fabric.  Here I roughly stitched back and forth with my free motion foot to lay down some color.  It’s amazing how much the character changes with this little addition!

 

Color between the lines

After stitching out the design, why not go back and stitch with some contrast thread to bring it into full color?  The roses came into full bloom in this funky quilted necklace.

embroider on a regular sewing machine

I’d love it if you would join the newsletter if for no other reason than I’m itching to see what you would do with this template!  There’s so many possibilities!  To make it easy to sign up, click on any of the pictures in this post or below, and it’ll take you to the sign up.

Thanks so much!!!

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Here’s all of my videos for the zipper ruffle tank. I explained a bit how I made mine in my last post, but here you can see my whole process.

DIY Zipper Ruffle Tank videos




In the first video, I’ll show you how to alter your pattern. Part 2 shows you how to construct the zipper unit, and in part 3 we’ll sew it all together.  I’m using Straight Stitch Designs’ Greenwood Tank for this hack, but there’s other options.  You can start with any tank top pattern as a base, but here are some ones that are a good choice and won’t require you to alter the shoulder width as I show you in the video: McCalls 6964, KwikSew 3232, Butterick 5948, NewLook 6285

 

New Look Pattern 6285 Misses' Knit Tank Tops

Don’t forget to vote for my zipper ruffle tank below.  Melissa has challenged me to a friendly round of Who Made It Best.  Check out her version of the Greenwood Tank.

 

VOTE HERE

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Dress Week at Indie Pattern Month

Hey, in other news, my Overdyed Fringed Charlie Dress made it into the finals of dress week for Indie Pattern Month at The Monthly Stitch.  The voting is over, and I’m curious to see how it all went down, but do check out all the lovely finalists.

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add a drawstring cowl to a t-shirt

Add a Drawstring Cowl to a T-shirt Pattern

I was hoping to get this up when the article came out last week, but one thing led to another, and now I’m playing catch up.

If you haven’t seen it, I wrote a tutorial over at Up Craft Club to show you how to add a drawstring cowl to a t-shirt.  This is the perfect tutorial as we (hopefully) are heading into fall.  Come fall, all I want to wear and make are big fat cozy tops with huge scarves.  Cowl necks are even better because the scarf is attached.  Some time ago I had been mulling over the idea of adding a drawstring cowl to my favorite t-shirt pattern.  I had seen one of the many sporty ladies I come across in my daily life wearing something similar, and I liked the casual touch that the drawstring added to a neck shape I already loved.  The time seemed right to figure out how to make it happen.  It’s crazy easy to adapt a pattern to add this feature.

add a drawstring cowl to a t-shirt

This tee I made up from a soft poly jersey from Cali Fabrics.  I blockprinted the front using a pinking shear stamp that I carved a while back and an ink pad suitable for fabric after heat setting.  It turns out, I really like how clear the stamp impressed on the fabric using the ink vs. screenprinting ink that I have been using for blockprinting.  It also is completely flat, or rather, there’s no added dimension of chunkiness on the fabric from any kind of paint, so the hand is completely smooth.  I haven’t sent it through the wash yet, and no doubt I will send it through a cycle on the dryer to hedge my bets on the heat setting directions.  The jury is still out as to whether the ink will survive the wash, but I have my fingers crossed!

add a drawstring cowl to a t-shirt

So if you’re longing for a big cozy cowl this fall, check out this quick and easy tutorial right here.

add a drawstring cowl to a t-shirt

Let’s keep the conversation going!  Check out my sewing dreams and inspiration on Pinterest, and keep up to date on my projects on Instagram and Facebook.

Baseball Fan Dress: Elizabeth Made This

In my household, we’re Giants’ fans.  Though I had no allegiances to any sports teams when I got married, my husband has convinced me that baseball is a worthy thing to root for.  After sitting through hundreds of hours, it finally clicked for me that I was invested in this sport and this team.  It gives me and my husband something to talk of at length.  And dash it all, if Grant Brisbee isn’t a brilliantly funny writer.  His columns alone pushed me over the edge into fandom.

Still, up until this point, I’ve had one problem with my Giants’ fan status:

I’ve had no fan gear whatsoever.

I’ve made some attempts to wear team colors at games–showing up in a black cardigan over my heathered peach t-shirt.  Unique as my solution was, it was kind of lame in the fan department.

How have I made it through 3 World Series without even a hat?  I have no words for that.

Since my family and I were able to go to a Giants’ game recently in San Francisco, I decided I had to remedy this no fan gear situation.

Baseball Fan Dress

Baseball Fan Dress

This dress has lots of fun features: a chevroned colorblocked mid-section, front mid shoulder gathers, and ruched sleeves.  This is a great dress that shows your team pride and allows your own DIY creativity to shine through.  Guaranteed, you will end up with a unique dress that is a cut above the standard fan t-shirt.  Wait, you’re not a Giants’ fan?  I won’t disrespect you.  You can make your own baseball fan dress by upcycling any team t-shirts.

Baseball Fan Dress

You can serge the entire dress or sew it entirely on a regular sewing machine.  The choice is yours!

Baseball Fan Dress

Materials:

2-3 t-shirts, as big as you can find: 1 MLB team t-shirt and 1 or 2 shirts to coordinate with itbaseball fan dress

Your favorite t-shirt pattern (mine is Jalie 2921, with a scoopneck addition from a different pattern) with a short or cap sleeve

A version of your favorite t-shirt pattern that you’ve already made or a t-shirt that fits you well

Patternmaking materials: clear ruler, tape, tissue paper, pen, scissors, marking chalk or pen

Pins

Masking tape or painter’s tape

Thread

Seam ripper

Machine needle suitable for sewing knits (my machine prefers 75/11 Stretch needles, but yours might do better with a ball point needle)

Iron

Directions:

  1. Trace off your t-shirt pattern onto a fresh sheet of tissue paper.  This pattern requires you to alter the front and back pieces.  You will not need to alter the sleeve pattern.
  2. Put on your favorite t-shirt and mark with a pin where the bottom of your bust is at CF.  Mark with another pin where your natural waist is.  Draw a line with a marking pen to connect the two points (or thread trace).
  3. Lay the FRONT PIECE of your pattern tissue over the t-shirt and transfer the under bust and waist mark.  Draw a straight line to connect the two.  It should be a line that angles downward.
  4. Draw another line parallel to the first line in step 3 that is 2″ wide, then draw another line 2″ wide.  This will create the two panels on either side of CF.baseball fan dress
  5. To create the skirt, extend the bottom of the front piece down to your desired length (I chose to end mine just above my knee which required an additional 13″).  Flare out the hem slightly to give yourself some walking ease.
  6. Cut apart the sections at the lines, adding seam allowances on every side you cut.***  Front top to bottom, label the new pieces Front Bodice, A, B, and Front Skirt. You will also need to add a seam allowance at CF on pieces A and B.  
  7. Lay the front skirt piece over the back so that they are lined up at the side seams.  Mark where the seam line hits at the side seam and at CF.  Repeat steps 3-6 for the back piece.  Label the new pattern pieces Back bodice, C, D, and Back Skirt.  Don’t forget to add seam allowances on every side you cut plus at CB on pieces C and D.
  8. In addition to these pieces, cut a rectangle 1.25″X4.5″ for the sleeve casings, and another rectangle 17″ X 1″ for drawstrings.
  9. Optional:  On the front bodice piece, draw a line parallel to the shoulder seam about 3″ down from the shoulder seam.  Cut apart the pattern at the seam line, adding seam allowances on either side of the line.  Slash the top part of the shoulder piece from the bodice end to the shoulder seam line in 4 places.  Spread the pattern 1/2″ at each slash and tape the resulting shape onto new tissue.  You will gather the bodice end of the shoulder piece into the bodice piece when you sew.baseball fan dressbaseball fan dress

***I prefer 1/4″ seam allowances on knit fabrics.  That’s the regular seam width on my serger, but even if you sew this with a regular machine, 1/4″ seam allowances will help you be really accurate when you sew the chevroned sections since your needle will be physically very close to the seam line.  If you prefer wider seam allowances, add whatever seam allowance makes you comfortable.

*Pattern done! Let’s sew!*

Construction:

      1. Use your seam ripper to remove the neck binding of your team t-shirt.  Set it aside.baseball fan dress
      2. Before you start cutting up your t-shirts, plan out how you want to use the t-shirts for color blocking the mid section. Make sure that you center your team logo over the front bodice.  If you alternate the colors at the side seams, you’ll have to flip over your pattern piece as you cut.  You might want to draw yourself a quick sketch to help (in real life the back will not so much wider than the front, but drawing in GIMP is a new experiment for me).  baseball fan dressHere’s a cutting inventory:  [supsystic-tables id=”1″]
      3. Cut your pattern pieces from your various t-shirts according to your diagram.  Make small clips with your scissors on the front bodice, front skirt, back bodice and back skirt to mark the CF and CB points and also at the top of the sleeves caps. If you can, try to incorporate the hems from the original t-shirts on the sleeves and the front and back.
      4. To keep the colorblocked sections (A, B, C, D) straight, mark each piece with a piece of masking tape near the side seambaseball fan dress
      5. Place right sides together of the A pieces at CF.  Sew down CF using a narrow zigzag stitch (.5 width, 2.5 length).  Press open the seam.  Repeat for the B, C, and D pieces.
      6. Place the A and B sections right sides together and stitch from side seam to side seam, pivoting the needle directly at CF.  If you’re nervous about matching the seam, stitch a few basting stitches right at the CF intersection.
      7. Repeat step 6-7 for the C and D sections.
      8. Sew the front bodice to the top of the A sections in the same manner as you did the chevroned sections, pivoting at CF.  Sew the front skirt to the bottom of the B section, also in the same manner.
      9. Sew the back bodice to the top of the C sections, and sew the back skirt to the bottom of the D sections, pivoting at CB.
      10. Using a long, straight stitch, sew 3 rows of gathering stitches on the wider section of the front shoulder pieces.  Pull on the bobbin threads to gather the stitches.  Placing right sides together, sew the front shoulder pieces to the front bodice.  Remove the gathering stitches.  Press the seam towards the bodice, then topstitch the seam close to the seam.
      11. Place the front and back of the dress right sides together, and sew the right shoulder seam.
      12. Place the raw edge of the ribbing against right side of the neck edge.  Sew the ribbing to the neck, pulling on the ribbing only as you sew.  The goal is for the ribbing to lie flat…if it doesn’t, remove the stitches and pull on the ribbing more firmly so that you end up using less ribbing.  Cut off the excess ribbing.
      13. Sew the left shoulder seam and the ribbing seam in one.  Backstitch at the end of the neck to secure the stitches.
      14. Fold in the raw edges of the casings and press (I cut the casings with one of the short sides on a hemmed edge.  If you didn’t, hem one short side).  Placing the hemmed side of the casing towards the bottom of the sleeve, lay the casing vertically in the middle of the sleeve and pin the long sides.
      15. Fold the raw edges of the drawstrings towards the middle of each drawstring piece and press.  Fold the pressed edges of the drawstrings together and stitch down the fold.
      16. Fold each drawstring in half and thread it through the top of the casing so that it sits just below the pressed edge.
      17. Starting and ending at the hemmed corners, topstitch around the 3 pressed edges of the casing, backstitching at the hemmed corners. Be sure that you catch the drawstring at the top of each casing.  The drawstrings can be pulled up and tied if desired at this point.
      18. While the dress is still flat, sew in the sleeves, matching the clip to the shoulder seam.
      19. Placing the front and back together, sew the side seams and sleeve seams in one step.  Be careful to match the chevrons at the side seams, basting, if necessary to make sure you match the seams.baseball fan dress
      20. Hem the sleeves and bottom of your dress if you didn’t reuse the hems from your original t-shirts.baseball fan dress

baseball fan dress*That’s it!  Wear your Baseball Fan Dress to the park with pride!

Your team won’t win if you don’t cheer!*

baseball fan dress

 

My review is here.
Elizabeth Made This

Let’s keep the conversation going!  Check out my sewing dreams and inspiration on Pinterest, and keep up to date on my projects on Instagram and Facebook.

 

shorten a belt: Elizabeth Made This

You’ve done it–you’ve made a great shirtdress, but now you’re in need of a belt to go over it. You head on over to a thrift store and find a cute belt for a couple of dollars, but it’s got one problem–it’s too big.

While it can be difficult to find a belt that is just the right size, it is not hard to alter a belt to fit you.

Shorten a Buckled Belt

Here’s what you ‘ll need:

  • a belt that’s too big
  • pins
  • ruler
  • marking chalk
  • small piece of paper
  • scissors
  • seam ripper
  • double stick tape
  • sewing machine with leather needle or a hand needle with heavy thread

DIY oversized pattern storage

How do you store your oversized patterns?

The majority of my patterns are stored in a standard filing cabinet.  I keep PDF patterns and patterns that I’ve traced in manila envelopes.  The patterns in the manila envelopes and patterns in their original pattern envelopes fit easily in the filing cabinet.  But there are those patterns that are too large to fit in the cabinet.  For me, that means my Jalie patterns.  I also don’t store my Burda and Ottobre pattern magazines in the cabinet because I use them too frequently to file them away.  Up until now, both the pattern magazines and the Jalie patterns have been stored in stacks on my bookcase, but it looks messy and unorganized, and often, the piles collapse all over my floor.  A solution was in order.

DIY oversized pattern storage

embroiderkidsartrobotP

embroider your kids' art

Kids’ art is awesome.  Bob Ross’ happy little trees had nothing on the silly people, wacky scenes, and candy colored skies that your kids create.  But if you’re like me, those enthusiastically crayoned pieces of joy get lost in a basket somewhere under a bed, never to be seen or displayed.

While there are great ways you can create places in your home to display your childrens’ artwork, here’s a fun, easy method for letting your kids wear their artwork.  Embroider your kids’ art on t-shirts!

You don’t need a fancy embroidery machine to embroider your kids’ art on t-shirts.  This project can easily be completed on a regular sewing machine without the need of  a hoop.

Eraser printed leggings--Elizabeth Made This

Good old pink erasers–the big blocky kind that you used it school are great for printing.  You can easily carve them, and pretty sturdy, so you don’t have to mount any stamps you make from them.  But this tutorial requires no carving.  Using the parallelogram shaped sides of the erasers, this fast and easy tutorial for eraser printed leggings can be used for store bought leggings or to add a special touch to your own handmade leggings.

Eraser Printed Leggings

eraser printed leggings

Supplies:

  • Pair of leggings
  • iron
  • 1 or 2 pink erasers
  • fabric paint, multiple colors if you wish
  • paintbrushes
  • cardboard strips (I cut mine from a box)
  • vinyl tablecloth

Directions:

Cover your work surface with the vinyl tablecloth.

eraser printed leggings

Arrange the leggings so that the side seam is facing up.  Flatten the leg so that the side seam is centered down the leg.

eraser printed leggings

If you are printing leggings that do not have a center seam, fold the leg flat on an ironing board so that the inseam is flat.  Press the leg opposite the inseam lightly with an iron.  This pressing line will be your imaginary inseam.

Stuff the leg with strips of cardboard.  This will help get a nice impression when you print and protect the fabric from extra paint.  Decide how far up the side seam you want to start printing and how much space between each print you want.  I chose to start printing 2″ up from the hem and for there to be 1″ between each row of printing.  Mark the starting points with chalk if desired.

eraser printed leggings

Turn an eraser on its side.  Using a paint brush, brush a light coat of paint across the side of the eraser.

eraser printed leggings

 

Line up one short side of the eraser with the side seam (the eraser will be at a 45 degree angle to the side seam) and press down.  Lift the stamp.  If you didn’t get a good impression, it’s pretty easy to add a little more paint to the eraser and line it up to stamp again.

eraser printed leggings

eraser printed leggings

If you notice, the opposite sides of the eraser are reversed.  To print on the other side of the seam line, flip the eraser over and add paint to print on the other side of the side seam line.  Print 3 or 4 rows of the design, or as many as you would like.

eraser printed leggings

If you want to alternate your colors, you’ll need two stamps so that you can flip them over back and forth over the line as you print.

Wash up the erasers with warm water and a little soap when you’ve finished your design.

Let the leggings dry for 24 hours, then run an iron over the printed area on the highest setting appropriate for the fabric without steam(use a press cloth or a scrap of fabric to protect the fabric and your iron) for 3 minutes or so, moving the iron around constantly.  Just to make sure that my paint isn’t going to wash out, I throw my project in the dryer for 30 minutes or so to complete the heat setting process.

Wait to launder the leggings for about a week too.

You can experiment with other ways to print with the eraser sides too.  Stripes, squares, overlapping designs…the possibilities are pretty endless.

eraser printed leggings

Elizabeth Made This

Let’s keep the conversation going!  Check out my sewing dreams and inspiration on Pinterest, and keep up to date on my projects on Instagram and Facebook.

 

Sewing when sick: Elizabeth Made This

As I sat embroidering over the weekend while getting over a stomach bug, it occurred to me that there really are a lot of things that you can sew even when you’re feeling less than optimal.

Nobody wants to get wiped out with a nasty cold or the latest fashionable virus, but it happens, and when it does, you’re zapped of a whole lot of energy that you’d otherwise be using for more interesting things like your sewing.  Thankfully, you don’t have to throw in the towel and while away the hours of bone aches and fevers watching TV until your brain melts into jello.  Here’s some ideas for simple hand sewing projects you can do to feel creative even when you’re feeling like you got run over by a truck.

Sewing when sick might be the nicest way to break up the monotony of being stuck in bed!

Sewing when sick

tie cushions: Elizabeth Made This

tie cushions

My sewing group and I have a wonderful church basement that we get to work in every month.  It’s next to the kitchen, it has tons of natural light, and we regularly get 2 large tables EACH to work with.  Basically, it’s an ideal work situation with one small problem–the chairs are super low, metal folding chairs that are as hard as rocks.  By the end of our long work day, I always have a headache from being ergonomically disadvantaged.

Perhaps you, like me have a place where you sew away from home that has equally bad chairs.  But we sew, right?

Tie Cushions

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