I’m nearly bubbling over with excitement here! I have several new things to share with you over the next week or so, and I can’t wait to hear what you think about each of them! Today brings the first two announcements on the list: the re-release of the FREE Fishsticks Designs The Tank pattern (now in sizes 12 months to 14) and two nominations for Fishsticks patterns in the PDF Pattern Designers Red Carpet Awards!
If you’ve never joined the PDF Pattern Promotion and Sales Group on Facebook, I encourage you to take a few minutes to head over right now and check it out. You’ll find over 10,000 sewists who are devoted to supporting independent pattern designers and encouraging each other in their sewing endeavors. Many of your favorite designers are there, too, joining in the discussion, sharing their latest patterns, promoting their sales, helping out with questions and more! This week, the group moderators have announced nominees for the first ever PDF Pattern Designers Red Carpet Awards in conjunction with a HUGE giveaway, and all you have to do to have a chance of winning is go vote!
Two of my patterns were nominated: the Charlie Tee & Hoodie and the Runaround Pants, and I’d love if you’d vote for them! To read more about the giveaway and to vote, just click the banner below:
As my little way of joining in the celebration, I’ve revised my free The Tank pattern, adding big kid sizes and incorporating a big change that is coming soon to all of my PDF patterns.The Tank pattern is designed to be sewn with cotton and cotton blend knits — jersey, interlock or ribbed knits in the body and interlock or ribbing for the neckband and armholes.The fit is narrower and longer than a standard tee, making it great for layering, but still perfect for wearing on its own. It also makes a great PJ top when paired with woven or knit lounge pants. (If you haven’t already, be sure to check out the appliqued tanks that I made for my seven-year-old last month!) Or, you can match it up with Undercover Bottoms Boxer Briefs for the perfect little boys’ undies set.A little aside from the pattern itself, isn’t that the cutest fabric? My boys LOVE it! It came from a custom fabric group that you can find right here: Fabric Stache. If you’re looking for great knits with prints that you can’t find just anywhere, go visit! (They’re doing sew-alongs every other week right now with my knit patterns, too.)Back to the subject at hand, to download the pattern, just click right here: The Tank Pattern. I’ll be back tomorrow with my next announcement, but if you’re already familiar with my PDF patterns, you’ll figure it out really quickly by scrolling through The Tank pattern!
I just have one, no, two last pictures to share before I wrap up this post. Because we live in Florida, tanks work well for us almost year-round. My little Florida babies, though, thought that they were going to freeze to death when I dragged them out to take pictures last week . . . in 65 degree weather!The “freezing cold” weather, however, did not stop them from insisting that I follow through with the promise of frozen yogurt after our photo session!
My friend, Allison, from Alternate Endings put together this simple tutorial for adding feet to the Jamie Jumper, and I asked her if she’d mind letting me share it on my blog. If you’re looking to make footie PJs for your little ones this winter, just grab your Little One Layette or Wee Tot Collection pattern, and check this out!
Begin by laying out your pattern pieces (except for leg cuffs – you won’t need them) as directed in the instructions, adding 2″ to the bottom of each leg section. Also add at least 2-3 inches to each piece of binding. If it’s too long you can cut off the excess.You will also need to cut out pieces for the feet. I used pattern pieces from a different pattern, but you can also use the bottom and top pieces for a soft-sole shoe pattern, or just trace around your child’s foot with these approximate shapes, being sure to give some wiggle room and adding a 1/2″ seam allowance. (The half piece is for the top of the foot, and the whole piece is the sole.) If it fits your baby, it should work just fine.Assemble your Jamie Jumper as usual, leaving off the leg cuffs. And don’t forget to make a few mistakes like I did. You know, things like forgetting to cut the binding an extra two inches longer and having to move the serger next to the sewing machine so you can sew an extra strip of binding on without having to remove the garment from the serger. Please make that mistake. It will make me feel so much better.
After the JJ is assembled, you need to cut a rounded “V” shape onto the bottom front of each leg – approximately 1″ wide and 1-1/4″ high. Round the pointed part a bit.When you make the V for the side with the ribbing/binding, be careful not to cut it too close to the ribbing. Leave about 1/4″ between the ribbing and the V so you have room to attach the foot pieces.Attach the top part of the footie to each “V”, right sides together. Match the middles and sides. You will probably have to stretch the V a little to make it fit.After you have attached the top portion of the footie, turn your JJ inside out and attach the bottom part of the footie to the bottom of the Jumper, right sides together. Match ends and sides. You will probably not need to stretch anything for this to fit – unless you have a very large-footed kid.Turn garment right side out, admire your handiwork, and finish jumper as directed.
I originally shared this information as part of the Charlie Tee Sew-along in July of 2013, but I thought it deserved to be turned into a stand-alone tutorial so that it’s easy for you to refer to when necessary. The twin needle is a perfect choice for hemming knits, not only because it gives your sewing a beautiful finished look, but also because it gives you two rows of stitches on the front (see above), and a nice stretchy zig-zag on the back (see below). That stretch in the twin needle hem goes a long way in helping to prevent popped stitches.Let’s get started! First you need a few tools: a twin needle (also referred to as a double needle), your regular spool of thread and a second source of thread (I use a bobbin). Since you’re working with knits, it’s best to use a ballpoint or stretch twin needle. Those are hard to find locally, but they are pretty easy to find online: stretch twin needle, ballpoint twin needle. I prefer the 4.0 mm twin needle — that number refers to the measurement between the left and right needles. You can use a 2.5 mm if you’d like your stitches closer together.Some sewing machines, like mine, have a button or switch that needs to be pushed to change from single to double-needle sewing. Here’s what that button looks like on my machine. Go ahead and press that button. Remove your single needle and replace it with the twin needle.Many sewists put both thread sources on the pin that holds your regular spool. On my machine the threads tend to tangle when I do it this way.Some machines have a extra removeable pin just for a second spool of thread. I think mine did at one time, but I’m not sure where it’s disappeared to. It’s not a problem, though, since I’m using a bobbin for my second thread. I just pop that bobbin onto the bobbin-winding pin with the thread feeding towards the front of the machine.You can thread the twin needle by pulling both threads through as one. My machine is a little bit picky, though, and I’ve had to work with it until I found the best way to thread the twin needle. What I do is thread the left needle first from the spool of thread, then I press and hold that thread in place on top of the machine just before it enters the guides while I thread the right needle from the bobbin.Once I have both needles threaded, I pull the threads back away from the machine as one.Now that your twin needle is threaded, we’re ready to get hemming! I serge the raw edges of my hems, but that is purely for aesthetic reasons. (I like for the inside of my garments to look as nice as the outside.) Because knits don’t fray, you can totally skip this step if you want to.With a hot steam iron, press your hem allowance to the inside. If your knit is particularly stretchy or uncooperative, use a little spray starch when you iron.Because we’re going to be stitching on the right side of the fabric, and I don’t want to sew over my pins, I use long pins and position them so that the heads hang off of the folded edge. This way, I can make sure that the hem is pinned properly, and I can remove them as I get to them while I’m sewing.I like to start my hems about 1/2″ in from the edge of the fabric. Set your stitch length to 3.0 or 3.5. (Shorter stitch lengths stretch fabrics.) I backstitch about 1/4″, then stitch all the way across feeling through the fabrics to make sure that my stitching is falling just inside the raw edge on the underside of the fabric. I stop stitching about 1/4″ from the opposite side, backstitch to 1/2″ then sew forward again to the end. (Starting your stitching a bit in from the edge will help to keep your machine from “eating” the end of your knit fabrics. Backstitching to 1/2″ will help make sure that you don’t chop off your fastening stitches when you serge later.)Be careful not to stretch or pull your fabrics as you’re sewing. Just guide and let the feed-dogs pull them through. (This is much easier with a walking foot!) Pulling on your fabrics while you’re sewing can lead to hems that look like this:What you really want, though, is hems that look like this:That wasn’t too hard was it?
I’m guest posting over at Sew Mama Sew this morning with a free pattern for sweet new babies! You can hop over to check out the Sweet Baby Sleep Bag pattern right here: Sweet Baby Sleep Bag Pattern + Tutorial, and be sure to Pin it or bookmark it for all those future baby showers. It’s such a practical gift, and it’s a quick and easy sew that looks a lot more complicated than it really is!
Oh, and if you sew one, please share it, especially if it’s modeled on a sweet new baby. New baby pictures make my heart melt!
With Christmas less than two weeks away and my sewing barely begun, I needed a quick and simple project this past weekend to give our livingroom a little extra Christmas cheer. A few new toss pillow covers in Christmas red and green made from thrifted button-down shirts filled that need quite nicely! In colors to match your decor, these pillow covers would actually work as beautifully year-round as they do for the holidays. Want to make a few of your own? Just read on.To get started, you need a pile of men’s button-down shirts. I found all of these at our local Goodwill store for around $2 a piece. For larger pillows, of course, you’ll need larger shirts. You also need toss pillows. I used the ones that were already on my sofa.The first step is to remove the pocket from the shirt that you’re working with. Just grab your handy seam ripper and carefully rip it off. (If you cut the stitches on the pocket side rather than the shirt side, you run less risk of damaging the shirt.) Once the pocket is off, if you have tiny needle holes remaining, either spray them down with water from a spray bottle and press well with a hot steam iron, or place a damp cloth over the area with the holes and press well with your steam iron. Cut the front and back of the shirt apart.Measure your pillow. Mine measured 17″ square. Most shams are made to the exact size of the pillow, but since I like mine to be just a little bit snug, I’m going to make my sham 16 1/2″ square. Because I’m using a 1/2″ seam allowance, I’ll add 1″ to that measurement (seam allowance times two), and cut my front and back pieces 17 1/2″ square.With the shirt front buttoned, measure and draw your piece. I centered my button placket, but you could place it off-center if your shirt is large enough. You will want to center the individual buttons, however. To do this, I just move my see-through ruler up and down until I have the correct full measurement and an even amount above the top button and below the bottom button. Be careful not to get the top and bottom buttons too close to your seam allowance. You want them to be at least 1 1/2″ in.Cut a second piece from the back of the shirt for the back of your pillow sham.Pin the front and back pieces right sides together.Sew all the way around at 1/2″. I serged the edges after sewing, but since no one is likely to see inside these shams, you don’t really need to.Once the two pieces are sewn together, just reach through between two of the buttons and unbutton one to turn the sham right side out. Push the corners out neatly, unbutton the cover completely, slide your pillow in, button it back up and toss it on your couch!