Christmas Bunting Tutorial (and template)

A couple of years ago I made this Christmas bunting and have finally got around to blogging this tutorial so you can make some yourself. I went for the maybe slightly garish but traditional Christmas colours of green and red but I think it would look cute with gold or silver with red or green. Or all in the same colour!

I didn’t really write proper notes on how much fabric I used, but I would have thought half a metre of each colour would be enough and 3.1m of bias binding for the top.

You can download the background template and the Christmas tree pattern here. The text I used was stencil font in size 185pt but you can pick a font you especially like.

I cut out 18 red backgrounds and 16 in green – you need 2 pieces per triangle. I wrote out a plan of which letters I needed in which colours so that the colours were opposite to the backgrounds, making sure the Christmas trees were all on red – which worked out perfectly!

I stitched each letter on with a narrow zigzag stitch to minimise the fraying potential. You could, of course, use felt for your letters so then you could stitch them with a straight stitch.

The letters ended up looking a little hairy but from a distance I think they look fine!

For the Christmas trees, as well as zigzagging around the edge, I used some yellow thread from my stash to make it look like it had some tinsel on – without it it looked a bit bare and like…..just a tree, instead of a Christmas tree.

The background pieces have a 1cm seam allowance. Once you’ve sewn all your letters (and trees) onto a single layer of backing fabric, then place it right sides together with a matching backing piece and stitch around the 2 diagonal sides, but NOT THE TOP. Then trim the point, and turn it the right side out, pressing them so they lie flat. Then line them all up, in order, and stitch the bias binding on the top! And voila! A new Christmas decoration!

I know this Christmas is probably not going to be like it has been in previous years but I think making things feel festive at home is a small thing we can each do to try to celebrate however we can.

Do tag me on instagram if you use this tutorial – I’m @sewingmachinations.

 

 

FREE Halloween Cat Pattern

A couple of years ago I made a couple of this pattern for a work secret santa and since then I’ve been meaning to make it into a pattern/tutorial in time for Halloween and I’ve never yet got around to it. Until now!

You can download the printable pattern here and there is a printable version of the instructions here. There is also a text-only version of the instructions if you want to save ink if printing.

You will need:

  • approx 24 x 42cm knit fabric
  • toy stuffing
  • small amount of rice

Here is the cutting layout I used (though if your scrap of fabric is a different shape feel free to play pattern tetris. You also need to cut a third gusset on a single layer.

The pieces you need to cut out are:

  • 2 body pieces
  • 2 tail pieces
  • 3 gussets

  1. With right sides together stitch the 2 body pieces together, leaving the bottom between the notches unsewn. Use a 1cm seam allowance.

Leave the body inside out.

2. Sew 2 gusset pieces together with a 1cm seam allowance, leaving a gap in the stitching (for stuffing).

3. Stuff some rice into the gusset pieces. This will act as a weight in the bottom of the cat. This is quite fiddly – if you have a little funnel, it would be very helpful here!

4. Being careful to make sure no rice goes under your needle, sew the gap shut.

5. Baste the third gusset to the pouch of rice, stitching 0.5cm away from the edge.

6. With right sides together, stitch the 2 tails together with a 1cm seam allowance. Leave the straight edge open (for stuffing).

7. Turn the tail the right way around (this is very fiddly, sorry!). If you have a loop turner, this will be very useful. Stuff the tail with toy stuffing. Leave 1cm at the open end un-stuffed – this is the seam allowance to attach the tail.

8. Place the tail inside the body of the cat, with the tip of the tail going into the head and the open end being lined up to the notch on the back of the cat. You may have to slightly curl the tail up to get it to fit.

9. Pin the gusset/bottom to the bottom of the cat, with the plain side (the third piece you attached) on the inside. Sew with a 0.5cm seam allowance, leaving one side open for stuffing.

10. Turn the cat the right way around, stuff and hand sew the gap closed.

11. Admire your new familiar!

Note that I used the same pattern for both cats but due to the different amount of stretch in the jerseys, they ended up a slightly different size.

I think you could stuff the whole cat with rice (it would need quite a lot) to make it into a door stop. If you were to do that I obviously wouldn’t bother with the little weight made from 2 gussets – so you would only need to cut out one. You may want to reinforce the bottom seam by sewing it twice too.

Halloween 2020 isn’t going to be the same as in any other year but you can still decorate your home for spooky season!

 

 

Recovering My Ironing Board

I recently finally got around to recovering my ironing board, which was long overdue! I haven’t done a huge amount of sewing recently but my partner irons a shirt most days and he was finding the old crappy cover particularly painful to use.

This was the cheapest ironing board that Argos sold when I bought it a few years ago. I didn’t hate the colour but the elastic around the edge gave way pretty quickly and for more months than I care to admit, I had it safety pinned to stop the cover falling off completely!

Also even when this was new, it wasn’t the best because it had this tiny thin piece of foam as the only padding, which really didn’t last very long before you could feel the frame underneath!

Luckily because the elastic had all stopped being springy, I could use the old cover as a template for the new one. I used this amazing sewing-themed cotton I had in my stash. I did have to seam it but you really can’t see it on the cover because I pattern matched it.

I then used the new cover as a template for the wadding. I bought a really thick wadding from my local sewing shop – it was the one the lady in the shop said she used for her ironing board.

She advised me to overlock the wadding and the fabric together, which I did, but it was then too thick for the width of bias binding I bought so I had to unpick the overlocking – which is always fun!

So the method I used was based on the one from Tilly and the Buttons – you make a channel with bias binding and thread string though the channel and pull it tight around the frame. You can also use elastic but since that was the downfall of the first cover, I wanted to use cord so I could re-tie it if it loosened in the future.

I can’t tell you how pleased I am with how it looks, and how useful it is to have a working ironing board!

Have you ever put off a relatively simple job out of laziness even though you know it will improve your life to do it? ……..no, me neither………

 

 

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

How-to-take-in-the-waist-of-trousers

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.

How-To-Take-In-Trousers-2

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.

How-To-Take-In-Trousers-3

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.

How-To-Take-In-Trousers-7

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.

How-To-Take-In-Trousers-8

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.

How-To-Take-In-Trousers-9

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.

How-To-Take-In-Trousers-10

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.

How-To-Take-In-Trousers-12

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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