Make It: Pin Pennant

After I was lucky enough to win a voucher for The Pink Coat club in the raffle at the Sewcialite Soiree, I realised I had quite a few pins in my collection. But I often forget to wear one as I had been keeping them in a little box next to my make-up bag. Since I know how to sew (duh!) I thought I could easily make something that would look nice, display all my lovely pins and remind me to wear them!

I started off with some of my beloved mustard denim (originally from Sew Me Sunshine and featured in such projects as my Cleo Pinafore and my mute bags) and drew a line 20cm long, plus 1cm each side for seam allowance. I then measured the centre of this line and measured 20cm away from this line and joined this point to the 2 sides of the line to make a triangle. I totally made up these measurements and I think if you have more pins than me you will almost certainly want to increase these measurements.

I cut out 2 triangles with the above measurements and stitched them right sides together along the 2 long lines, leaving the top edge unstitched to be able to turn it the right way around. I trimmed the seam allowances, especially at the points, turned it the right way around and top stitched the sewn seams, though I would wait to top-stitch until you’re sewing the top edge shut.

I then made 2 straps, measuring 12cm x 5.5cm. I stitched each one folded in half length ways, then turned them the right way around – this took ages as they ended up so thin!

I then arranged the straps with the seams down the middle of the ‘back’ and top-stitched them. Lastly I placed the straps into the opening at the top, turning in the seam allowance of the top edge of the triangle, and top-stitched the straps in place, stitching the open edge closed at the same time. I would also carry on with the top-stitching around the other 2 sides at this point.

This was such an easy project – it took about an hour from beginning to end. I found an old knitting needle in a local charity shop and tied some wool on to hang up the pennant and VOILA! I’ve got a lovely way of displaying my gorgeous pins!

Do you collect sewing pins? I’ve got more pins than I realised – I thought I would have space to expand into but the pennant is already full!
 

Fix It: How to take in the waistband on trousers

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Do you ever see the perfect pair of trousers but there a bit too big at the waist? I was given these amazing trousers by The Boyfriend’s mum but they sat more on my hips than my waist as they should. I thought I’d do a tutorial on how to alter the waist band of a pair of trousers in case you wondered how to do it.

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I would say a helpful step first of all is to take photos of the waistband, including belt loops, buttons, button holes, hooks and eyes and zips, so you have a reference to look back on in case you can’t remember what went where. Then you need to unpick the existing waistband from the trousers. I unpicked the inside of the waistband then the outside.

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When I then moved to the outside seam of the waistband, I encountered the belt loops. I decided to unpick the stitching attaching it at the top of the waist band rather then the bottom, so they would still be attached to the trousers and I wouldn’t have to worry about where to place them.

How-To-Take-In-Trousers-4You may have to take them off completely if they are entirely attached to the waistband, in which case I would suggest putting a mark, with chalk or a pin, on the trousers where each one was. You may want to change the placing of the belt loops if you’re taking the trousers in by quite a lot, so removing them would be helpful anyway.

How-To-Take-In-Trousers-5You’ll want to leave button holes intact if you can, if you hate sewing them as much as I do! This is assuming you’ve got buttons and not a jeans rivet, as I had with my corduroy shorts/skirt refashion – I couldn’t take off the rivet so made a new button hole once I’d resized the waistband.

How-To-Take-In-Trousers-6With this pair of trousers, there was a button and button hole on both ends of the waist band, so I knew I would have to redo one of the button holes, once I’d cut it off to shorten the waistband. If you have the same set up, it may be worth making a note of the position of the button and/or buttonhole from the edge of the waistband so you have an idea of where to put them back.

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You’ll then want to try on the trousers inside out and pin down the side seams, and maybe the back seam too, if you’re taking out a lot, how much you need to take out of the trousers. I tried mine on before I unpicked the waistband too, and measured I needed to take out a total of 8cm – this meant I could then roughly pin 2 2cm tucks on the side seams, then try them on and taper the 2cm out towards the existing side seam – you’ll want to do a shallow taper so you don’t end up with what looks like a pleat. If you try them on and measure the amount to take out, then you will also know how much to reduce the length of the waistband by.

The stitching line you can see to the left of my pin line is for the pockets – you’ll want to plan where you sew your new seams so you don’t interfere with pockets or existing pleats. You might want to make new pleats instead of taking in at the seams, to make more of a design feature of your alterations.

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Once you’ve sewn your new seams and again tried them on to check your alterations are good and don’t look weird, or obvious – unless you want them to be obvious! You’ll then need to reduce the length of the waistband. Draw a chalk line where the new end needs to be, then flip the waistband inside out and sew the new seam – you can see how I lost the buttonhole.

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Now all you need to do it reattach your waistband. You’ll almost certainly want to reattached the outside half of the waistband to the right side of the trousers first. You can see below that I’ve pinned the right side of the waistband to the right, outside side,  of the trousers. You can actually see the original stitching and fold line on the waistband – I followed this for my 1cm seam allowance.

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If, like me, you left your belt loops attached to the trousers, you’ll need to make sure you pin them out of the way when sewing this seam – there’s nothing more annoying that sewing a beautiful seam (and it’s always the best seam you’ve ever sewn!), only to have to unpick parts of it because you’ve caught your belt loops in the way.

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This is what it then looks like from the right side of the trousers, with the inside half of the waistband folded up so you can see it’s not attached.

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To sew the inside of the waistband down, in the case of my trousers, I pinned it from the outside of the trousers so I could sew it and see what it would look like from the right side. You again need to make sure your belt loops are out of the way. I then used my zipper foot to stitch as close to the seam line as possible. You may want to hand stitch the inside of the waistband to make it invisible. Or you could sew the INSIDE with the seam (right sides together), and then top stitch the outside in place. You’ll be informed by the way it was constructed originally.

How-To-Take-In-Trousers-13You’ll now want to reattach your belt loops – in my case I just needed to attach them at the top, which I did using a teeny tiny zip-zag stitch. In general the placement for belt loops would be one on the centre back seam, one on each side seam, (possibly one on each side between these 2), and 1 on each side just in front of your hip bones.

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Now all you need to do is remake any button holes you need to, and sew on any buttons you had to remove when you resized the waistband. Yay! Now you have a newly wearable pair of trousers!

 

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Make It: Reverse Applique Cushion cover

Today I’m going to show you how to make a reverse applique cushion cover (and, of course, you could then reserve applique anything you want!). Reverse applique is kinda what it says on the tin – you have 2 different fabrics, but the one that would be on the top in normal applique is underneath and the top fabric is cut away to reveal it.

I already had a cushion pad in need  of a cover as I bought a bunch when I bought the pad for my Sarah and Duck cushion. It measured 35cm x 35cm. So my fabric would be 38cm x 38cm, which adds a 1.5cm seam allowance to each side. You could always make the cover first and then buy the pad that fits the size you’ve made – though I would check you can definitely get one in that size before you spend ages making the cover.

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The fabrics I used were a blue fat quarter I was given by my aunt and which had been in my stash for a while,

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an off-cut of my ugly skirt refashion fabric,

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and the left-overs from my yellow skirt gang skirt (which sadly was consigned to the charity shop as I never wore it).

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The yellow fabric is the main fabric on both sides, so cut 2 squares of 38cm x 38cm. The biggest square I could squeeze out of the blue and yellow tartan fabric was 20cm x 20cm. This means I placed it 9cm from each edge (38-20/2). Then pin it in place.

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Top tip: Use washi tape (or other removable tape to make a new sewing guide for your sewing machine if your seam allowance (in this case 10cm) is bigger than the guides marked on the machine).

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Then sew all around the shape – I did this with the ‘back’ facing upwards so I would know I had caught all of the edges and there wouldn’t be any gaps. I also used one of my decorative stitched (D on the second row, below), to make sure it was sewn as securely as possible. Also it looks nice!

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This is what it will look like once you’ve sewn all the way around. Remember this is the back view.

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Flip your cushion over to the front and pinch only the top fabric in the middle – you should be able to tell when you’ve got both fabrics and when you’ve isolated only the top one.

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Then snip a little hole, then use this to cut out the middle of your main fabric up to the stitching – make sure you don’t snip any of the actual stitches!

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You will then have this:

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So that’s one side done – easy, right?

I decided I wanted my other side to be a circle and not a square. I cut the fat quarter into a square of 38cm x 38cm – if you have a smaller piece of fabric, you don’t have to cut it to the same size as the main fabric.

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Find the centre of the squares by folding in diagonally in half twice – push a pin in to mark this spot.

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With your pin still making the middle (you can almost make it out in this photo), pin the 2 squares of fabric together.

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The trick to sewing a circle is a trusty drawing pin! I decided to sew my circle with a 10cm radius (the distance from the centre to the edge). Measure from the needle to where you want the centre of the circle to be.

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Using washi tape (or another removable tape) stick the drawing pin in a straight line from the needle, pin facing upwards.

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Push the fabric onto the drawing pin, exactly where you had the pin marking the centre of your fabric – the drawing pin will act as a pivot around which you can sew your (pretty) perfect circle.

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Now you’re ready to sew your circle – you’ll find it easier to hold the fabric with the pin between 2 fingers to make sure it pivots evenly around in a circle. I also found it helpful to go slowly and to stop often to even up the tension between the pin and the needle. I, again, used a decorative stitch on my machine.

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You should end up with something like this – this is the back as the stitching wasn’t rally visible on the back.

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Then repeat the process of pinching the top layer of fabric,

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snipping a hole and cutting out the top fabric up to the line of stitching,.

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It should look like this:

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You then need to sew the 2 side of your cushion together. Pin them right sides facing (i.e. yellow sides together, blue sides on the outside) and sew around 3 sides, leaving the 4th side open to get the cushion pad in.

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It will help you to get clean square corners if you snip the excess fabric off like this before you turn it the right way around.

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Then turn it right sides out, and hand stitch the open side, tucking the seam allowance inside. Then you should have a lovely new cushion to brighten up a dreary January day!

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Make It Yourself

As you may have noticed (or not!) I have had a bit of a rearrange of my categories and menu. I’ve made a new category (and archive page) for posts where you could make the things yourself – like my tutorial for making a tote bag and how to make a running armband: Make It.

I thought I’d write this quick post to let you know all the ones I’ve written before, which are now in the archive. I’ll be checking through them to make sure they all have comprehensive enough instructions for you to follow. Let me know if you spot anything that needs better instructions.

I’m hoping to add new posts of crafty, and thrifty things you can make yourself. I love sharing things I’ve made, but I want to encourage other people to make things too.

You can make food shopping/ planning less painful (well, I find it less painful!) with this meal planner pinboard.

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Make your very own Doc Brown costume from Back To The Future – though it might be too late now it’s not 2015 any more 😦

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One of my favourite ever makes, A Beautiful Mess’s Felt Allotment, could be made for any kid in your life – and, in fact, I kinda want one myself!

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Do you know a kid with a favourite show or book? Why not make them a cushion with the character on, like my Sarah and Duck cushion?

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Have you set a New Year’s Resolution to take up jogging (or another kind of exercise)? Make yourself an armband to hold your phone so you can listen to chunes while you work out!

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Ah, the tote bag. If you’re living in the England, then what better way to avoid the new plastic bag charge than by making up a bunch of tote bags?

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I made these tea cup candles a while ago, and I plan to make more as they’re so cute!

Tea Cup Candle

If you know someone who recently had a baby, but don’t really know what to get them, why not applique some animals or flowers or letters or anything at all on some babygrows? Clothes are always a useful gift and this way they’re a bit more personal!

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I made this Polaroid camera case for a friend of mine a while ago, and the principles could be transferred to any camera. Of course, not everyone will probably like an anatomical heart adorning it…….

Polaroid Camera Case

This has to be one of the easiest makes ever – you just need a clock kit from ebay! And a vinyl record, of course.

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For one of my many friends who likes BBC’s Sherlock I made this Kindle cover – it’s got silhouettes on one side and the purple shirt of sex and John’s cabled jumper on the other side!

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If you don’t fancy making a cushion for a kiddie, you could make a wall hanging instead, like this one of Norman The Slug With A Silly Shell!

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Make It: Running Armband

So last year, around this time, I took up jogging (I then stopped in September, but I’m going to take it up again soon, honest!). To start with, I was just holding my phone in my hand – because you can’t run without music! Also, I used a couch to 5k app, which is really good and tells you when to run and walk and builds you up from running for a minute to running non-stop for 20-30 minutes.

Running-Armband-17I quickly realised it would be helpful to have an armband to hold my phone in, so I didn’t drop it. I found this free tutorial on Fehr Trade, the queen of work-our gear. I found this tutorial to be a bit confusing, though, so I did some more googling and found this tutorial on Brown Paper Patterns and used that for my inspiration. Because the fabric she uses doesn’t have an obvious right and wrong side, I got a bit confused and did it wrong, so I thought I’d write a tutorial for anyone who is equally confused.

My arm is 26cm round the upper arm, where I wear the armband. My phone is 13.5cm long, so my rectangle measured 29cm (twice the length of my phone + 2cm seam allowance) x 28cm (the circumference of my arm + 2cm seam allowance). I cut 2 of these.

Running-Armband-1I measured a mark down the centre line (with it folded in half on the phone measurement side) and found the centre of that centre line, and measured the width of my phone (half on each side of the centre point). Sew the 2 rectangles together, wrong sides together, with a gap in the middle where you’ve made the marks for your phone – this will be the gap to get your phone in and out.

Running-Armband-2Running-Armband-3 You need to also measure some elastic around your arm as the stretch of the jersey wouldn’t be strong enough to hold up the weight of your phone. Sew the elastic on the wrong side of one layer of fabric – you can see below the 3 other parts are out of the way of the elastic. Running-Armband-4
You then fold 2 layers from the top to the bottom, over the elastic and sew them in place along the bottom edge. I sewed them one at a time, but you could sew them together.

Running-Armband-5Running-Armband-6Running-Armband-7You then flip the whole thing over…

Running-Armband-8And fold the final layer down, so all the ‘halves’ are lined up, with the elastic in the middle of the 4.

Running-Armband-9Then turn the tube right side out, so you will be able to see the stitching that is holding on the elastic.

Running-Armband-10You then pass the tube into itself, so that it’s folded in half inside the tube. I don’t know how else to explain this, but hopefully these pictures help illustrate what I mean.

Running-Armband-11Running-Armband-12Running-Armband-13You then sew around the circular edge, making sure to catch the elastic in the seam. It should look like this:

Running-Armband-14You then turn the armband around, through the hole in the middle (that is for your phone), which will mean all the stitching is on the inside. Now you’re ready to run! I also made a matching headband, to keep my hair out the way (last year I was growing out a crop, so my hair wasn’t long enough to tie back – also, it means it doesn’t matter how shitty your fringe looks, if you have a fringe), using this tutorial from A Beautiful Mess.

Running-Armband-15 Running-Armband-16 I hope that I’ve explained this well enough, but let me know if there’s anything that isn’t clear. I think I’ve got the bug a little for making work out wear (despite the fact that I no longer work out!). There’s a Burdastyle course on making a full set of exercise gear, which started last month – I might give it a go the next time it comes around. Do you make clothes to exercise in?

p.s. let me know if you make a running armband from my tutorial, I’d love to see it!