It is so nice to have the time to post projects once again! This project is here for you today thanks to a viewer request. Thanks Joanne for your idea!
This is a quick little project that is a great addition to your rag doll.
This project is pretty quick, but their tiny size does make them a challenge. As a result, I tried to make as many of the steps as possible flat.
The hems in this project are finished with a single fold. If you want to avoid fraying, you can finish the top and bottom edges with a serger. You could also use double fold hems by add 1/4 inch to the top and bottom edge of the pattern and folding over 1/4 inch before following the other directions shown in the video. This may be recommended if you plan to remove the bloomers from the doll frequently.
There are two waistband styles demonstrated in the video. One is constructed flat and the ends of the elastic are visible in the seam allowance. The other is constructed in the round and the elastic is completely hidden.
You can also add lace to the bottom edge to add a bit of extra cuteness 🙂
To help reduce bulk, instead of adding an elastic casing using fabric or binding, I used a zig zag stitch over narrow elastic cord. This worked very well around the teeny tiny legs of the rag doll.
I have been making a lot of bags lately and one feature that I use almost all of the time is a zippered pocket.
These are super cute and convenient on both the inside and outside of the bag!
To create a zipper pocket you need one zipper, fabric for the pocket, and the fabric panel (either lining or exterior fabric) where you want the zipper to be placed. You begin by placing them fabric pieces right sides together. You then sketch a rectangle for the zipper window on the wrong side of the pocket fabric. I like to make the zipper window at least 1 inch below the top edge of the pocket fabric and at least 1 inch from each side. I also like to make the window 3/8 inch tall. (You may need a taller rectangle if you are using a zipper with larger zipper teeth.
You then stitch EXACTLY on the rectangle. This is super important! For years when I tried making a zipper pocket it always looked sloppy because I wasn’t careful about stitching the rectangle. To help myself be more precise I now use stitch length 2.0. I also slow down as I approach the corners and make sure I pivot with a 90 degree angle. Another trick that helps is to count the number of stitches you use to show the first short side and use the same number of stitches on the other short side. This will help make a nice even rectangle.
TIP: If you accidentally stitch too far, or mess up, I recommend taking the time to go back and fix it. It makes a big difference. Avoid simply backstitching to correct the error if you go too far. This actually makes the pocket harder to turn and it won’t lie flat in the end.
Next, you will clip the center of the window. Cut a line horizontally down the center of the box. About 1 cm from each end angle off to the corners. Clip very close to the stitches but be sure not to actually cut the thread!
Before I turn my fabric I really like to press. I find this helps the fabric to lay flatter and creates a better rectangle.
I fold the pocket fabric down along the top of the row of stitches of the rectangle and press. Then I do the same, lifting the pocket fabric up and pressing on along the bottom edge of the rectangle. And repeat for the left and right. It helps SO much!!!!
Then after pressing, I turn the pocket fabric through the opening, shaping the rectangle and press. I like to press from both the pocket side and the main fabric side.
TIP: Using a tailors clapper to help press is also really nice! It helps trap in the heat and set the folds.
Finally, you are ready to add the zipper! Simply lay the zipper right side up and place the window you created right side up on top of it. You can use pins, fabric glue, or double sided wash away tape to hold the zipper in place. Then stitch around the rectangle with a 1/16 – 1/8 inch seam allowance.
TIP: Before you start sewing make sure you know where the metal stoppers for your zipper are placed. You don’t want to accidentally stitch on one. It could cause damage to your tools and./or injury.
Once the zipper is attached it’s time to make the pocket! Simply fold the bottom of the pocket fabric up so that it touches the top of the pocket fabric, with right sides together. Pin around the edges (of just the pocket fabric) and sew with a 1/4 inch seam allowance. You will have to move the main fabric out of the way as you do this.
And the pocket is finished!
Below are video instructions for how to create the zipper pocket! There is both a Quick Overview and Detailed Instructions.
Pleats create fullness to your fabric and are a good alternative to gathering. Instead of scrunching up the fabric along the stitch line, you simply create folds.
Pleats can be a lot easier than gathering. They are quick and lie really flat. However, you do have to make sure they are consistently sized and placed, and that can be the tricky part. Often times patterns will have pleat placement guides which indicate the size and position of the pleats! This is really nice and takes out the guess work of pleating. So, as we practice how to make pleats we will use placement guides.
If you don’t want to make the pleats by hand you can use a Ruffler foot on your machine. They can be a bit tricky to use at first, but are a great option if you are planning to pleat anything that is really long such as the edging of a pillow, etc.
To create pleats you need two guide-marks, where the pleat starts and where it stops. In the first sample I marked this guidelines with sharpie to make them super obvious (NOT what I would do on an actual project!), but you could do something similar with fabric markers or chalk, something that will wash away.
You can also use pins of different colors as guide-marks. In the second sample, I used green pins to represent the start of the pleat and red pins to indicate the stopping point.
When you pleat, you fold the fabric at the starting point and bring it over to meet the stopping point mark, hiding the fabric between the two marks and following the direction of the arrow.
There are many many ways pleats can be arranged. Common placements include pleats all going the same direction, half going one way and half the other, or two pleats that meet at the same point going in opposite directions. Just be sure to look at your pattern or guide for the correct direction and placement.
Here’s what that process looks like with pins instead of marks.
When sewing pleats in place it is important that they remain flat. As a result, I like to use a sewing tool to hold them in place while I sew. My favorite tool to use is That Purple Thang, but a sewing stiletto or the back edge of your seam ripper also works. Just remember to stay safe and keep your fingers clear of the needle, a sewing tool helps ensure that and protects your fingers.
When you are done sewing, pressing is really helpful! You can press just in the seam allowance, all the way to the bottom of the fabric, or somewhere in the middle depending on your preference or the directions in your pattern. If your fabric is really thick, or composed of multiple layers, it may also be helpful to press before sewing. Just be careful not to press your pins 🙂
In the end, pleats are a quick fun way to add detail and decoration to a project!
Gathering can be found in many sewing projects and is used in everything from basic crafts to garment construction.
There are several different ways to gather, but my favorite way is using two rows of stitches.
TIP: USE TWO ROWS OF STITCHES
Creating your gathers with two rows of stitches provides a safety net, just in case the worst happens and a gathering thread breaks. It may save you from having to start all over again. The two rows also helps the fabric to lay flatter. This is a plus when you need to sew the gathered fabric to something else.
When sewing gathering stitches always use a long stitch length. The longest stitch length on your machine is usually best and can range anywhere from 4.0 – 7.0. I find 5.0 – 6.0 is usually my go to stitch length for gathering. The thicker your fabric, the longer the stitch length needed.
The two rows are stitched with a gap between them. I find it most successful when I use a 1/4 and 1/2 inch seam allowance for the gathering stitches. This leaves a wide 1/4 inch gap and provides a little bit of leeway for small errors in the seam allowances size. (If the rows of stitching get too close together it may stop the fabric from sliding along the threads.)
When you gather you do not backstitch (this would create a knot) and you leave the thread tails long.
TIP: SLIDE DON’T PULL
To create gathers we hold the two bobbin threads and slide the fabric. Our instinct when gathering is to pull the threads to create the gathers, and if that doesn’t work, we pull harder. Uh oh…then you hear it…snap! The thread breaks. This is a particularly dreadful noise when you are gathering, especially if it is something large. Having the two rows of stitching instead of one could save you, but not always.
So, instead don’t pull…slide. Simply hold the thread tails in place and slide the fabric along. See the video below for what to do when it won’t slide anymore! Pulling the threads isn’t the answer, as there is too much of a chance of that thread breaking. But if you remember….slide, slide, slide! It helps 🙂
TIP: USE TWO DIFFERENT COLORS OF THREAD
When you are just learning how to gather, identifying the correct threads to hold can be tricky. If you thread your bobbin and top thread with two different colors it makes it super easy to find the threads you are looking for! The bobbin threads become obvious and you won’t make the mistake of holding the wrong pair of threads. I used yellow thread for my main spool, and blue thread in the bobbin.
TIP: GATHER FROM BOTH SIDES
Sometimes when we are on a roll and gathering quickly we accidentally slide our fabric off of the threads entirely! At that point, there is nothing to do but begin again. To avoid this, gather half of the fabric from the left, and half from the right, so there is no danger of sliding the fabric too far.
See the video below for a detailed tutorial on basic gathers!
Hey Everyone! I just wanted to let you know that the Fun Sized Backpack Pattern has been updated!
There was an error on the Bottom Pocket Gusset piece. It should measure 12.75 inches in length. If you have downloaded the original pattern please make sure to take note of this change!
The pattern has now been updated and is linked below. I’m so sorry for the inconvenience! A special thanks to Shirley for pointing out the discrepancy in the pattern so it could be fixed! Thanks, Shirley!
With Valentine’s Day coming up I was inspired by a cute new idea! A Lovely Little Llama Valentine!
This little llama has a blanket with two pockets that can deliver valentines for the big day 🙂
Not only would this llama be adorable for Valentine’s Day, but any holiday! Change the colors to green and red and you have Christmas. Dress it up for birthdays, Easter, or even Halloween. Changing the colors, accessories, and fabrics will completely change the feel of the project.
The pocket pouch is definitely my favorite part of the project, aside from the overall cuteness, of course! You can place notes, treats, and gifts in the little pockets.
The pattern is available in two sizes. The small size measures approximately 9 inches tall without the ears, and the large measures approximately 11.5 inches tall.
It is constructed with swirl fur which is great to work with and is super fluffy! It just calls out for cuddles 🙂
This project is fairly simple, but the fur does add a bit of difficulty. I would say it is about a 4/10 in terms of difficulty. You need to be comfortable using small seam allowances and sewing curves. Experience with fur or plush fabrics is also helpful.
I absolutely love the project I am sharing with you today! I few years ago I was rushing to get ready for a vacation and my purse would NOT fit in my bag. I had one hour before I had to leave for the airport. What was I going to do? Well, being me, I decided to sew a new purse!
This is what I came up with! And since then I have used this purse absolutely all the time.
This purse is very lightweight and super handy to have around. I love to use this when I travel so I can fold it up in my luggage. I also really like to use it when I go for walks. It is the perfect size for a cell phone and smaller items.
This is a great first zipper project, so if you are just beginning with zippers this is a great place to start because you don’t have to worry about linings. Since the purse doesn’t have a lining it can be made quickly and simplifies the project. This is definitely a casual bag and I have enjoyed making this using both cotton and flannel fabrics.
Free Cut Layouts are available for two different styles, narrow and wide.
The black confetti purse is the wide version, and the cotton print is narrow.
Once you are comfortable with the process of how it is constructed it is super easy to adapt. By changing the length and width of your rectangles you can change the size of the bag. You can also use the same process to increase the number of zippers! I love the look with 3 zippers!
The wide bag measures approximately 7.375 x 9.5 inches and the narrow bag is approximately 6.375 x 9 inches.
2/3 yard cotton or flannel fabric (Makes 2 if the fabric is at least 40 inches wide)
Two – Three 9 inch zippers (for each purse)
Fray Check (Optional)
Basic Sewing Tools (Pins, scissors, etc.)
Ruler and marking tool (to draw the rectangles from the cut layout)
I mentioned in a previous post that I recently started crocheting again, and it has been a blast! I am loving it. One of the things I really wanted to start crocheting was amigurumi (crocheted stuffed animals).
If you’ve ever seen any amigurumi patterns you know that the foundation for most of them is the Magic Circle.
I was determined. I thought to myself…I’ve crocheted before. I’ve got some skills. It won’t be that hard. HA! I had more confidence than I should have. I tried, tried, and tried again with no luck. Either my magic circle wasn’t right, or I didn’t end up with the right amount of stitches, after dozens of tries it was driving me CRAZY! I watched video after video until finally I figured it out. But it took what felt like FOREVER to figure out why my magic circle didn’t look like all of the perfect ones I saw in the videos and what to do about it.
As a result, I decided to take a short break from my usual sewing videos (which I will get back to shortly, don’t worry!) to help all of those poor struggling souls who are having just as hard of a time with the magic circle as I did.
I hope as I share what I have learned it will make conquering the magic circle just a little easier for you.
To help I am going to break it down. We are going to start with the single crochet, reviewing the steps. Then, we’ll single crochet around the ring, and finally around our magic ring.
From beginning to end I was baffled by the magic circle. Some videos started with the single crochet, some used half double, some double….I just wanted to know how to make the magic circle! All the different types of examples really through me off until I was able to connect the stitch they were showing me with the basic stitches and from there identify what was the magic circle and what was the stitch. So we will look at how a single crochet is made.
Then we will look at single crochet around a ring or a loop. This feels and looks a lot different then simply crocheting in rows, so it is helpful to be familiar with this before you attempt the magic circle. So, if you are just starting, grab a hair tie, milk carton ring, or key chain and practice crocheting around the circle.
After that we will actually make the magic circle. I’ll show you how I hold the yarn, what I had a hard time with, and what helped me finally make it work.
I hope this helps you!
Here is the video flipped, which I hope will be useful to all of those left-handed crafters out there!