Pleats

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.

Free Pleating Guide Samples:

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!

Free Pleating Guide Samples:

SKILL BUILDING VIDEO:

Happy Sewing!

Gathering

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!

SKILL BUILDING VIDEO:

Happy Sewing!

Fun Sized Backpack Pattern Updated

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!

Looking for a Valentine’s Day project! Check out my new llama plush posted earlier this week!

Lovely Little Llama

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.

Supplies – (See Cut Layouts for Fabric Sizes)

  • Fleece or Swirl Fur Fabric (Body)
  • Fleece or Felt (Face)
  • Cotton Fabric (Blanket, Ears, & Tail)
  • 1/4 inch wide elastic (3.5 inches – small, 4.25 inches – large)
  • Two Safety Eyes (8mm – small, 10mm – large)
  • Black Thread or Embroidery Floss
  • Blush or Pastels (Optional)
  • Yarn, scrap felt, and beads (Necklace – Optional)
  • Coordinating Thread
  • Poly-fil

Tools

  • Sewing Machine & Basic Sewing Tools (Pins, Scissors, etc.)
  • Hemostats or Tweezers (Recommended)
  • Hand Sewing Needles
  • Ultra Fine Point Sharpie (Optional)
  • Air Erase Marker (Recommended)
  • Purple Thang (Optional)

Free Patterns & Cut Layouts

QUICK OVERVIEW:

DETAILED VIDEO INSTRUCTIONS:

Happy Sewing!

One Hour Easy Zippered Purse

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.

SUPPLIES:

  • 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)
  • Coordinating thread
  • Fray Check (Optional)

Tools

  • Sewing Machine
  • Basic Sewing Tools (Pins, scissors, etc.)
  • Ruler and marking tool (to draw the rectangles from the cut layout)
  • Iron

Free Cut Layouts:

DETAILED VIDEO INSTRUCTIONS:

QUICK OVERVIEW:

Happy Sewing!

Pocket Rice Bags

I love these little rice bags! They are super quick, great for beginners, and are an awesome way to use that pile of scrap fabric that’s lying around.

I prefer to use flannel for my rice bags. I love the soft texture. You want to make sure to select a fabric that can be ironed.

These bags are stitched twice, which adds a cute little border around the edges.

I like to make my rice bags in pairs, creating a set of two. Great for each pocket!

SUPPLIES:

  • Flannel or cotton fabric ( 1/8 yard or Scraps – two 4.25 inch squares needed for each rice bag)
  • Rice
  • Coordinating Thread

FREE PATTERN:

DETAILED INSTRUCTIONS VIDEO:

Happy Sewing!

Magic Circle


HOW I CONQUERED THE MAGIC CIRCLE!

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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

RIGHT HANDED:

LEFT HANDED:

Here is the video flipped, which I hope will be useful to all of those left-handed crafters out there!

Fur Pom Poms

With all of the stress of this year weighing heavy, I decided to take up a new hobby to help myself relax. I decided to learn how to crochet! I had crocheted before, but it had been several years. My mom came to visit with her assortment of crochet projects and I just couldn’t stop myself from exploring the craft again.

One of the first projects I made were these Half Double Crochet Beanies. These were simple and quick and a lot of fun. But they were definitely missing something…the fur pom pom! Hence this tutorial.

I thought I would share with you how I made the pom poms for the top of the beanies.

All it takes is faux fur fabric, poly-fil, needle and thread.

I think it adds a lot of character to the beanies! These pom poms have long ties that can be used to attach the pom poms to any project you like.

SUPPLIES:

  • Button thread
  • Faux Fur fabric (8 inch square or less)
  • Poly-fil stuffing

FREE PATTERN:

QUICK OVERVIEW:

DETAILED INSTRUCTIONS:

How I made the Beanie…

CROCHET PATTERN:

YARN: Serenity Premier Chunky – Weight 5

Hook: 7.0 – 9.0 

     A larger hook will require fewer stitches, but they will be more spaced out.

     I used hook 7.0 for the burgundy beanie and 9.0 for the black beanie.

Size: Teen/Adult

Terms:      Ch – Chain             

                 BLO – Back Loop Only

Hdc – Half Double Crochet

Chain 34 – 42

     The number of chain stitches you need will vary depending on the size of the hook you selected.

     You want your chain to be 11 – 14 inches long, not including the chain 2 at the end.

     Mine (the burgundy beanie) was 12 inches long. I chained 36 stitches and measured stitches 1 – 34.

Leave the thread tail long.

Row 1 – Beginning in the 3rd chain from the hook Hdc in each stitch. Hdc in back loop only. [Total Stitches: 32-40]

     The total number of stitches should be 2 less than your chain.

     Check the length again after completing row 1. You want your row 1 to be 11 – 14 inches long.

      Mine was 12 inches long and I had 34 total stitches.

      You should have the SAME number of stitches in every row from now on.

Row 2: Ch 2, turn, Hdc BLO in each stitch [32 – 40]  

     Don’t forget to skip the turning chain when you begin your stitches.

Row 3+: Repeat Row 2 until your work is 17 – 20 inches wide. 

You can test the width by wrapping the beanie around your head. It should be about two inches or so shorter than the circumference of your head.

Mine ended up being 12 x 19 inches. (The circumference of my head is 21 inches). Since this is a large yarn and a big hook it will stretch.

A smaller width will give a more snug fit.

STOP ON AN EVEN NUMBER OF ROWS.

Your working yarn should be on the opposite end from your starting tail. Cut the working yarn to be about 1 yard long.

Fold the beanie in half with wrong sides together. Sew the edge together. You should end with the working yarn next to your original thread tail. This will be the top of the beanie. Tie the thread tails in a knot.

Stitch through all the raised stitches around the top edge and pull closed. Tie in a secure knot. Weave in the thread tails.

And then add your fur pom pom!

Happy Sewing…and Crochet!

Fun Christmas Character Gnomes

Whenever I think of Christmas, all of those iconic characters from Christmas classics come to mind!

I was crafting with my mom and we started brainstorming all of the possibilities available when making gnomes. There are just SO many cute cute gnomes out there.

I took up the challenge and decided to make some themed gnomes of my own. I hope you enjoy!

I just simply couldn’t resist making these guys!

This big green guy can be made using the basic Christmas Gnome Pattern and tutorial. He is a size X-Large and stands about 10.5 inches tall without his hat. I added a sherpa binding to the edge of the hat and a bit of fur around the entire body, rather than just the beard.

This little lady was super fun! I made the small size.

I really enjoyed decorating this one as well as making the hair. It took four tries to figure it out, but I was really happy with the results!

I really enjoyed styling the hair. All the little braids were time consuming, but I love the end result!

I also really liked adding decorations, such as buttons and pearls.

Of course, these two would not be complete without their furry friend!

This little pup was actually super quick to make and I absolutely adore how he turned out. I used minky to give him that furry look 🙂 And a pipe cleaner is the antler. A special thanks to my sister for that idea!

SUPPLIES:

  • All
    • Poly-fil
    • Poly Pellets
    • Wooden Bead or Pom pom for Nose
    • Coordinating Thread
  • Green Santa
    • Green Fur
    • Red Velvet
    • Green Body Fabric
    • Sherpa for trim
    • Pom pom for Hat
  • Little Girl
    • Yarn (Hair)
    • Felt or Fabric (Body)
    • Decorative Overlay (Optional)
    • Felt (Collar)
    • Felt (Upper body under hair)
    • Tiny Buttons (Optional)
    • Pearl Trim (Optional)
  • Little Dog
    • Light Brown Fabric (Body – I used minky)
    • Dark Brown Fabric (Ears – I used minky)
    • Red Embroidery floss
    • Pipe Cleaner (Antler – I used yellow)

FREE PATTERNS:

Visit my Christmas Gnome Page for more pattern options

DETAILED VIDEO INSTRUCTIONS – LITTLE GIRL

DETAILED VIDEO INSTRUCTIONS – DOG

DETAILED VIDEO INSTRUCTIONS – CLASSIC GNOME

Happy Sewing!

Christmas Gnomes

Happy Holidays! These little Christmas Gnomes are a great addition to your holiday decorations.

They are quick and easy to make and super cute!

I used flannel fabric for the hat and felt for the body. My favorite part is the sparkly pom poms I found for the tops!

The beard is faux fur and gives the little gnomes a lot of character. I also picked up a mixed set of wooden beads at Walmart that work great as noses!

Each gnome is filled with polyfil and poly pellets to weigh them down.

Supplies:

  • Felt Fabric (Body)
  • Flannel Fabric (Hat)
  • Faux Fur with a long pile (Beard)
  • Pom Pom
  • Wooden Bead (Nose)
  • Polyfil Stuffing
  • Poly Pellets (or another filler to weigh down the gnome)
  • Coordinating Thread

FREE PATTERNS:

The Medium sized gnome body is approximately 8.25 inches tall when finished. The Large sized is 9.25 inches. These measurements are WITOUT the hat.

DETAILED VIDEO INSTRUCTIONS:

QUICK OVERVIEW:

I hope you enjoy this project!
Happy Holidays!