Easiest Bunting Tutorial Ever Making bunting isn’t especially difficult, but there are several ways of going about it. Some ways are more time consuming than others. Taking your time over it is fine if you’re only making a bit, or if you need it to be special. One of my favourite bits of bunting I’ve...
Handmade Wallet Tutorial Although I quite like my current wallet, it’s looking distinctly tatty. It also has 2 major disadvantages. The first is that it’s huge and it takes up an awful lot of room in my bag. The second is that because it has so many useful pockets inside, I feel obliged to fill...
My Favourite Metaphors Sometimes I have an overwhelming urge to write about things that are nothing at all to do with sewing or crafts. This is one of those times. I love a good metaphor. Sometimes they’re the best way of expressing things. So here are some of my favourite metaphors. And if you have...
Vintage Style Sundress Without a Pattern Here’s a tutorial for my new favourite dress! The idea for this vintage style sundress had been cooking away for a while, and after the sewalong was a good time to make it as I had the bodice pattern piece I’d made to hand. Like my other dresses, the...
Easy Tulle Circle Skirt One of the nice things about getting older is that I’m so much comfier in my own skin. I’m also much comfier in things I Iike wearing. I know what I like and I’m not botheres about what other people think! Being in the happy situation that I’ve lost 3 stone...
My friend Wendy recently asked me to make her a little bag. She and her husband Danny play Scrabble, and they need a bag to keep the Scrabble tiles in. It also needed to be big enough to get a hand in to take a tile out.
These were her only requirements!
I knew I had some suitable fabric, and that I would be able to whip up an easy drawstring bag quite easily.
Wendy’s a knitter but she doesn’t sew. She and Danny are also lovely, very kind, sweet with my boys and have invited us round to dinner lots of times. Danny is a very good cook, so going round to theirs is a treat!
So I added some of my own requirements to the easy drawstring bag.
Because it’s going to be used quite a lot, and hands are going to be in and out of it, I decided on enclosed seams to give them some strength and to prevent it from becoming tatty quickly.
I also decided on boxed corners, so that it will sit on a table without the tiles spilling out everywhere.
Little drawstring bags are useful for all kinds of things, even if you don’t play Scrabble!
So here are the instructions if you want to make for one yourself or for some kind hearted people you know who might find a use for one.
How to Make an Easy Drawstring Bag
You Will Need
A piece of cotton fabric large enough for your bag. I used a piece 23 cm x 45 cm (6 inches x 17 3/4 inches).
If your fabric has a directional print, you’ll need to cut it in half widthways, turn one half round then sew it back together.
1. With the wrong sides together, fold the fabric in half widthways. Pin the sides and sew a 1 cm (1/4 inch) seam. Cut the seams in half. Press the seams.
2. Turn the bag inside out. Pin the side seams so that the raw edges are enclosed. Sew the seams again, a couple of mm away from where the raw edges are inside the seam. Press again.
3. To make the boxed corners, turn the bag the correct way out again. These seams are going to be enclosed too!
Take one of the corners and squish it flat so that the side seam is next to the bottom of the bag. If you used a directional print and reassembled the fabric, there’ll seam along the bottom. Otherwise you’ll need to press it so that there’s a fold. Using your finger might be enough. It’s just to get the corners square.
Measure up 2 cm (3/4 inch) up from the corner and pin. Sew across the corner at right angles to the seam. Cut the corner off. Repeat with the other corner.
4. Turn the bag the wrong way out again. Pin the corner seams and sew to enclose the raw edges.
5.Take the top edge and fold it over. Fold it over again. Pin, then sew, keeping close to the lower edge of the folded section.
6. To make the casing, cut 2 pieces of bias binding about a cm (1/4 inch) shorter than the width of the bag. Pin both pieces to the bag on the right side, just below the top, leaving a gap between each piece at the sides. Sew along each long edge of the bias binding. Don’t sew the short edges!
7. Cut a length of ribbon or cord 4 times the width of the bag, plus a bit extra. Tie one end to a safety pin and pass it through both pieces of the bias binding. You’ll need to go through each piece twice.
8. Tie the ends of the cord. Before cutting anything, pull the cord to check that it closes. There will be 2 bits of cord at each opening, so if it doesn’t work, try pulling the on the other bit.
Now your bag’s ready for your Scrabble tiles!
To reduce the amount of visible stitching on the outside of the bag, pin the bias binding so that it overlaps the bottom of the hem.
If you are using ribbon or thicker cord, you might prefer to pass it through the casing just once and pull the bag closed on one side rather than on both sides.
A piece of velvet or corduroy would make a nice bag for storing scrabble tiles or something similar, but it might be a bit thick for enclosed seams. If the fabric won’t fray, you could pink the seams instead.
It is not easy to keep your stuff organised especially if you use it frequently.
Many people have this kind of problem, including me.
You should see what my sewing room used to look like! I had dozens of projects I should have concentrated on and somehow, as time was not on my side, you can imagine what a chaos my sewing room represented.
That was the moment when I decided it was high time I found creative and easy ways to keep my place clean and organised.
If you are like me and you have the same or a similar problem, I would be happy to help you, and I’m going to share with you several ways to help you with sewing room cleaning and organisation.
First Things First
Any time you are about to apply proper deep cleaning of an area, no matter whether a closet, a desk or a sewing room, you need to take everything out.
Leave the space free of any fabric, materials and tools. This will make it is as easy as a pie to dust all the shelves.
Vacuuming is also a lot easier if there is nothing in your way.
While you do the cleaning, you can use this as an opportunity to decide what materials need to be stored and what you are not using so that you can throw them away or donate them and free more space. Remember that every space counts.
The best piece of advice I can give you is to categorise all your stuff.
Now when you have cleaned and emptied the shelves, place all the sewing supplies and materials there.
It is understandable that the place will get messy again in the very near future, but there is nothing to worry about. Just make sure that when you take something out, put it back in the same place. This way, it will obvious if you need to replace something you’ve run out of.
When you organise the place, think and act smart. I have pullout drawers and I have to say that they are very convenient as they make every inch of them accessible.
I do believe that the best sewing rooms are those which are regularly cleaned and well organised. You do not want to spend day and night searching for that exact colour of ribbon, do you? I probably have tons of ribbon scraps and at one point, they were taking over the entire room. A ribbon scrap here, a ribbon scrap there. So I decided to get my act together.
It is not nuclear physics so you can try it, too. Wooden spools, tape and pins is all that you need. Get a piece of tape and stick the ribbon end to the spool itself. This way you can easily wrap the ribbon around the spool and then use a pin to secure it. As I said, it is not nuclear physics, is it? Now it is much easier to organise ribbon scraps, don’t you think?
If you have a plethora of craft buttons, here’s a simple way of storing them. All you really need is a hot glue gun, plastic storage tubes and a box or a basket where you will place the “invention” once you are done.
First, sort the buttons into shape, size and colour. Then get the hot glue gun and stick a button as an identifier to the lid of the tube. Put all the buttons in the containers and that’s it.
Hopefully, these sewing room cleaning and organisation ideas will come in handy to all of you.
Cherry Blossom Dress Sewalong Stage 8: Finishing the Raw Edges With Bias Binding
It’s the last stage ladies!
Today we’re finishing all the raw edges with bias binding.
The advantage of using bias binding is because it stretches a little bit, it makes it much easier dealing with the curve of the circle skirt than it would if you hemmed it normally. Binding the armholes and the neckline remove any need to sew facings, which to be honest normally cause me a bit of headache!
I hope you’ve enjoyed the sewalong! I’d love to see your dresses when you’ve finished them, so feel free to share them on the Tea and a Sewing Machine Facebook page, or on Instagram with the hashtag cherryblossomdresssewalong.
Cherry Blossom Dress Sewalong Stage 7: Sewing the Zip
Welcome to Stage 7 of the Cherry Blossom Dress sewalong!
We’re almost there, so take a minute to pat yourself on the back and admire what you’ve done so far!
By the end of this stage, not only will you have something that looks like a dress, you’ll be able to get into it too!
If zips have caused you problems in the past, don’t worry because the way we’re going to sew the zip into this dress is easy and not too fiddly.
One advantage of making your own clothes is that you can decide which side to have the zip. Usually zips are in the left side because that suits right handed people better. If you are left handed, you might prefer the zip to be on the other side.
Before You Start
An invisible zip
Needle and thread
It’s easier to sew a zip with a zip foot but it’s still possible without one.
Installing the Zip
Did you press the side seams open? If you didn’t, you’ll need to do that first.
Decide which side you want the zip to be on. The left side is usually easiest for right handed people.
On the wrong side, pin the zip right side down over the seam.
For ease of getting the dress on and off, part of the zip will need to go over the waist/ bodice seam.
Check that the teeth are over the side seam, then tack the zip in place. You’ll need to keep checking that the teeth are aligned with the seam, that’s very important.
Once you have the zip tacked over the seam, you can sew it in place with the sewing machine. If you have a zip foot, using it will allow you to get close to the teeth and keep the stitches straight and neat.
It can be tricky to sew past the zip pull, so start a little way down past it. Sew both sides of the zip.
When you check the right side, there should be a neat row of stitches on either side of the seam.
Now grab your unpicker! Unpick the part of the seam that is covering the zip to expose the teeth.
To sew the top end of the zip, move the zip pull down. Sew the top ends of the zip.
If you find that on the first attempt it goes wonky, don’t worry. Just unpick it and try again. The important thing here is to make sure that the teeth of the zip are lined up with the seam. The other thing is to not unpick the seam until you’ve checked that the stitches are in the right place.
Now try your frock on again to check that it still fits! Then remove the tacking stitches.
Cherry Blossom Dress Sewalong Stage 6: Sewing Shoulder Seams and Side Seams
Welcome to stage 6 of the Cherry Blossom Dress Sewalong!
By the end of today, you’ll have something that actually looks like a dress that you might be able to wear!
At this stage, it’s vitally important that you check the fit, so make sure you try the dress on, and don’t trim the seams until you’re sure.
Before You Start
You’ll need the dress pieces you made in the previous stage, and:
If you have some safety pins, you could use these instead of pins for the side seams so that you don’t get poked or scratched while trying it on.
Sewing the Shoulders and the Side Seams
With the right sides together, pin the shoulder seams.
Now pop the dress on over your head and pin the sides at the waist. Make sure that the waist/ bodice seam is lined up.
At this point, you might need to adjust the shoulder seams so that the neckline and the darts are where you want them to be.
Then pin the side seams on both sides of the bodice. This is where you might like to use safety pins if you have some! Don’t bother with the skirt, as this is going to be loose and swirly anyway.
Carefully check that the side seams that you have pinned are about the same size.
On one side, mark where you have pinned with a pencil or a fabric pen. Unpin the side seam on one side, take the dress off and repin the seam.
Now sew the shoulders and the side seams.
To ensure that the side seams are neat and that the waistline on the front and back of the dress still match up, I’d start at the waist and sew upwards towards the armpit. Then to sew the skirt section, start at the waist again and sew down the sides of the skirt.
Obviously at this point, you’re going to have some issues getting the dress on and off as you’ve sewn up both sides!
But don’t worry! This is all part of the plan to make sewing in the zip as easy as possible. We’ll be doing that next :).