Underbust Corset

I absolutely love corset making! I have made several over the years, and while they can be a challenge I always consider them a fun endeavor and a great addition to many costumes.

I recently picked up the book Corset Making by Julie Collins Brealey, and I really enjoyed it. I used the techniques described in her book to draft my own underbust corset pattern. It turned out great! I highly recommend her book if you would like to draft a corset pattern specific to your body measurements.

After completing my corset several of my students expressed interest in making a corset of their own. So, I decided it would be fun to share the techniques I used with everyone! This is just a simple costume corset and is not intended for tight lacing. I also used budget-friendly easy-to-find materials. For beginners, I think it is important to see if you enjoy the process of corset-making before investing in some of the more expensive materials and tools. I find corset making very rewarding, but many find the process frustrating and would prefer to purchase a ready-made corset instead.

But for those willing to face the challenge, who love corsets as much as I do, this tutorial is for you!

What are the most important skills in corset making, you ask? Organization and precision!

Unfortunately, in corsets, errors are often amplified. There are SO many seams, that a small discrepancy in cutting or sewing can leave the size of your corset off by an inch or two. As a result, I make precision a priority and cut the pieces out in a single layer. Corsets have tons of pieces. Those pieces often look very similar. It is super easy to get them mixed up. As a result, I like to label all of my pieces with significant markings, piece names, and top edges. This helps me ensure that I don’t get pieces mixed up while I am sewing.

For similar reasons, I like to lay out my pieces in the correct order prior to sewing so they stay in the proper position as I put them together.

This corset is constructed by assembling a fashion layer and a structure layer and sandwiching them together. Boning casings are made by sewing the two together. No separate casings are needed!

The trick is to ensure that those two layers are the same size so the seams align!

I tried two different pressing methods for my corset. Pressing the seams open and pressing to the side. Watch the detailed instructional video to see what I liked best!

I used zip ties for the bones in my corset! I have always wanted to try them out, and while I found that a lot of them weren’t perfectly straight, they worked great! It was simple to grab a package of zip ties and some pet nail trimmers at Walmart. No waiting for shipping or delays. While they may not be the best option, they worked surprisingly well, and I wouldn’t hesitate to use them again for simple costume corsets.

Rather than eyelets, I used grommets with washers in my corset. These are a bit stronger and last longer. I used a grommet press, but grommet setters that use a hammer are also available.

To finish off the corset I made coordinating bias binding. You can see my skill-building tutorial for how to make your own! I just love it when the binding actually matches your project!

I like to finish the binding by hand to give it a nice finish.

Supplies: (Actual quantities may vary depending on size and style)

Tools:

  • Basic Sewing Supplies
  • Sewing Machine
  • Grommet Setter (and hammer) or Press
  • Awl or Grommet hole punch (I use a small sharp awl and a tapered awl)
  • Rulers
  • fabric marking tools
  • Plastic boning trimmers (I used pet nail trimmers. Sturdy scissors often work for thin plastic boning.)
  • Protective Eyewear
  • Sandpaper (optional)
  • Sewing Clips (optional)

Patterns: PATTERNS INCLUDE NEGATIVE EASE! There is an intentional 2-inch gap in the back. Corset will be smaller than the measurements given. (Measurements indicated are the body measurements, not corset measurements, with the exception of height.)

Measurements are in INCHES

SizeUnderbustWaistHigh HipWaist to HHHeight at Center Front
Original302934.53.59.5
C26.423.929.749
MORE SIZES COMING SOON!

Size Original: (UB 30, W29, HH 34.5, W to HH 3.5, CF Height 9.5)

Size C: (UB 26.4, W 23.9, HH 29.7, W to HH 4, CF Height 9)

More sizes coming soon!

Quick Overview:

Detailed Instructions:

Happy Sewing!

Classroom Window Curtain

I was recently asked to help with a service project at our school. Parent volunteers are making curtains for all the classroom windows! They are going to be so nice!

Our school will be attaching the curtains to the door using velcro. If your school isn’t doing that you can use magnets, or ribbon loops with 3M hooks instead.

There are two magnets at the base of the curtain which will help it stay in place when in use. If you don’t want the magnets to be visible on the outside of the curtain, select a darker fabric print.

A ribbon and button will hold up the curtain when it is not being used.

This is a quick and easy project and can usually be completed in 15 – 30 minutes.

Supplies:

  • 3/4 yard of cotton fabric (this is enough fabric for two curtains)
  • 1/2 yard ribbon (1/4 inch wide) – (You will need more if you plan to attach the curtain using loops)
  • One Button (3/4 – 1 inch wide)
  • Sew-on Velcro (Loop side only – Approximately 1/4 yard)
  • Two Magnets (18mm) – (I needed 6 magnets to attach the curtain to the frame without the velcro)
  • Coordinating thread

Tools

  • Sewing Machine
  • Ruler
  • Fabric Marking Tool
  • Zipper foot (optional, but may be necessary on some machines)
  • Basic Sewing supplies (pins, scissors, etc.)

Quick Overview:

Detailed Instructions:

Happy Sewing!

Sloth Plush Dress

I have long been meaning to post a tutorial on how to make a dress for the Sloth plush, but it always seemed to slip my mind. A special thanks to Carol for reminding me about it! The dress is a cute little addition to the sloth plush and a lot of fun to make.

I don’t have a video for this one, but I do have several photos. I hope you find them helpful.

That said, let’s get down to business!

Here are some quick instructions on how to make the dress.

First, cut out the pieces. The skirt rectangle is approximately 3 x 18 inches, but you can adjust that as desired.

Hem the bottom and two sides of the skirt with a double-fold narrow hem. Approximately, 1/4 inch wide.

Gather the top edge.

Pin two of the bodice front pieces to a bodice back piece, right sides together. Align the dashes marked on the pattern.

Stitch the side seams with a 1/4 inch seam allowance. Only sew above and below the dashes, leaving a gap in the middle. This is for the sloth’s arms to pass through.

Repeat this process again for the other front and back pieces. You should end up with two identical dress bodices. Press the side seams open on both bodices.

Fold up the bottom edge of one of the bodices 3/8 inch. Press. Keep the bottom edge of the other flat.

Lay the bodice with the bottom edge flat (the one you did not press) right side up. Place the skirt right side down on top of it. Align the gathered edge of the skirt with the raw edge of the bodice. Let the bodice extend an extra 1/4 inch on each side beyond the skirt. Stitch the skirt in place along the gathered edge with a 1/2 inch seam allowance.

Flip the skirt down and press the seam allowance toward the bodice.

Place the dress right side up. (You can disregard the topstitching shown on the bodice in the photo. It’s not necessary in this step. We will get to that later.)

Lay the other bodice, the one with the folded bottom edge, right side down on top of the dress. Align seams and edges of the bodice pieces. Make sure the seams are open and flat. Sew all of the way around the edge of the bodice with a 1/4 inch seam allowance, everywhere except the bottom edge where the skirt is attached, that will stay open. (None of your stitches should be on the skirt section. Only the bodice fabric is being stitched.)

Clip the curves and corners.

Flip the bodice right side out and press. Carefully align the bottom edge of the folded bodice so it covers the gathers and hides the seam allowance on the inside. The folded bodice edge should extend about 1/8 inch below the stitch line of the skirt. Flip it over. Pin in place as needed. From the front side, topstitch along the bottom of the bodice edge (more detailed photos below) and then press again. The skirt will now be sandwiched between the two bodice layers.

I usually topstitch with a 1/8 inch seam allowance.

Notice there is an opening for the arm hole.

Topstitch around the slit with a 1/8 inch seam allowance.

Add decorative ribbon, buttons, or trim if you like.

Try the dress on your sloth and then attach a closure. Velcro, buttons, and snaps all work great.

And your dress is done!

Happy Sewing!

(FYI, the shoulder seams were done differently in this picture. I still love the dress but prefer the technique described above.)

Rag Doll Bloomers

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.

These beauties are available in 3 lengths, Short – Undies (Above) , Medium – Bloomers (Below), and Long – Extra Long Bloomers (Not Pictured).

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.

Free Pattern:

Supplies:

  • Scrap Cotton Fabric ( or 6 x 16 inches)
  • 1/2 yard Narrow Cord Elastic (1.5mm) (I used beading cord elastic)
  • 6 inches of 1/4 inch wide elastic
  • 1/2 yard Narrow lightweight lace (optional)
  • Coordinating Thread

Tools:

Detailed Instructions Video:

Quick Overview:

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!

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!