Category Archives: Tutorials

For the love of little sewing

Last week the sewing room was covered in sewing projects for the girls, but with so many little ones being born this winter and spring, it was time to set all that aside and start sewing for babies.

Sewing for Baby | Inanorchard

Making things for my own babies is what made me first fall in love with sewing. I never mind having an excuse to sew for babies, it feels like coming home again.  It brings back all those sweet (and not too distant) memories of having a newborn in the house and all the little things that go with those tiny beings.

My very first sewing project as a mommy was making bibs for my oldest son.  Over the years I’ve used many different bib patterns, types of fabric, and fasteners.

This is my current favorite.  I’ve made Miss P a small pile of these bibs.  It’s a free downloadable bib pattern from Darling DexterSewing for baby | Inanorchard

These two were my attempt at making gender neutral bibs.  I’m not very good at gender neutral.  They tend to all come out a little masculine looking.  These are both made from “vintage” Amy Butler farics.  I’ve had these in my fabric stash for 9 years now.  Amy Butler’s beautiful fabric lines were another reason I fell in love with sewing. Sewing for baby | Inanorchard

There are lots of ways to make a simple project look special.  Small ribbon tags, top-stitching, lovely fabric, and vintage buttons.Sewing for baby | Inanorchard

These bibs are backed with super soft cream Minki fabric.  I like having soft things to put on my babies.

This small diaper clutch is another project I like to make for friends.  It’s  free tutorial from a sewing blog I absolutely love, Noodlehead.  Ana has long been one of my favorite sewing bloggers and her tutorials are hands down, the best.

Sewing for Baby | Inanorchard

I used more of my Amy Butler fabric and paired it with some natural linen-blend fabric.  I like using a soft color pallet when I’m sewing for newborns.

Sewing for Baby | Inanorchard

Sewing for Baby | Inanorchard

The diaper clutch is such a quick sew, and it’s easy to get an assembly line going and make 2 or 3 in an afternoon.  What mom doesn’t need a pretty diaper holder to keep unruly diapers from taking over the diaper bag?  It’s a must.  When you pair the clutch with several bibs, you’ve got the perfect baby shower gift.
Sewing for baby | Inanorchard

Embellished onesies also make a great gift.  It’s a simple thing to do, but babies live in onesies for the first few months of their lives, they might as well be fun. There are so many clever ways to dress up a plain white onesie.  Just do a Pinterest search, and you’ll be scrolling for hours.Sewing for Baby | Inanorchard

One of my favorite ways to embellish a onesie is using stamps and fabric paint.Sewing for Baby | Inanorchard

I’ll give you a quick walk through:

Before I begin any sewing project I pre-wash and dry all my fabric and onesies

1. Start with some solid, light-colored fabric.  I’m using the same natural linen-blend I used to make the bibs and the clutch.  Brush your favorite stamp with a light, even layer of fabric paint, and stamp it onto the fabric.Sewing for Baby | Inanorchard

2. Trace a 1/2 inch boarder around the image and cut out.Sewing for baby | Inanorchard

3. Use your iron to heat set the images.  You do this by turning the iron up to its highest heat setting and holding it on the fabric for a few moments.Sewing for Baby | Inanorchard

4. Then use the iron to fold under a 1/4 inch of the fabric on all sides.Sewing for Baby | Inanorchard

5. Pin the fabric carefully to the front of the onesie and sew around the edge.  Make sure you keep the stitching close to the edge of the fabric.  Because the onesies are so small (especially the NB size), sewing the patch on can be a little tricky.  Just take your time.  Keep checking the underside to make sure you aren’t catching the back of the shirt in the stitching.Sewing for baby | Inanorchard

In the space of a few hours you can make a half dozen little shirts.  Sometimes I make a stack and keep them in the sewing room to use as last minute baby gifts.
Sewing for baby | Inanorchard

If, my friends, you have been tempted to take up sewing as a hobby (and I highly recommend it), these baby projects are a great place to start!  The bib is an especially good place to start.  The pattern is free, the sewing skills required are basic, and if the button and buttonhole scare you, just do what I did when I was first making them… use extra strong Velcro.  You can do this!  And the pleasure you get from seeing your little one in something you made especially for them, is a great feeling!



1st Birthday invitations

Miss P is turning one this summer!  I’ve saved each of my children’s 1st Birthday invitations.  I’m not much of a saver, but those handmade invitations are very dear to me, and I wanted to continue the tradition with Miss P.

I went to Hobby Lobby with a few ideas in my head, but when I got to the paper craft aisles I felt completely overwhelmed!  So many pretty options but nothing was jumping out at me.  I wanted them to be sweet and lovely but simple too.

I was so close to leaving empty-handed when I came across this packet of papers.  I loved them!  I stood in the middle of the aisle staring at those papers trying to come up with a good way to use them, when inspiration struck… they would make perfect envelopes!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen I opened the package, not only did it have full sheets of beautifully patterned paper, but there where sheets of small tags that could be cut apart.  They were supposed to be used as gift tags but I decided they would make perfect address labels.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI downloaded and printed off this free envelope pattern, and spent a blissful hour cutting, folding, and assembling party envelopes.

Party envelopes I couldn’t be more pleased with the way they turned out!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI like that each invitation will be a little different.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe address labels are one of my favorite parts of the envelope!


This little striped envelope is so sweet, but I wish I would have been more careful about lining up the stripes with the envelope template.  It makes the envelope look a little slanted and not quite squared up.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFor the actual invitation I decided to keep it very simple.  Just a pretty shade of pink, a playful font, and a boarder of white lace sewn to the bottom.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA1st Birthday invitations OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI used a little strip of washi tape to seal the back of the envelope.

Naturally I want to make a million more of these darling envelopes in ALL shapes and sizes, because… hello! you can’t have too many pretty envelopes!!

PS- if you’re interested in making your own envelopes there are lots of free downloadable templates on the web.  A quick search on Pinterest will give you lots of great templates!

Basic Flower Arranging


Basic Flower Arranging

Don’t you just love the flower section at the grocery store?  All those colorful bunches of flowers, packed into buckets of water.  They look so happy and fresh!  So you bring home one of those cheery bouquets, and plop it down in a vase of water.

Basic Flower Arranging

Somehow the effect is always a little disappointing.  That pretty little bouquet that caught your eye in the grocery store suddenly looks a bit disheveled, haphazard, and not quite as charming as you had hoped.


But not to worry!  It’s nothing that a little bit of arranging won’t fix.  I know it looks like the flowers come pre-arranged but they still need some help.  So here’s a little step-by-step breakdown of basic floral arranging.

Start by opening your bouquet and laying all the flowers out onto the table.  Then sort them into the following three categories~

Basic Flower Arranging Most store-bought bouquets come with some greenery (all the leafy stuff that doesn’t have any flowers), several stems of small “cluster” flowers (meaning multiple-head small flowers), and a few big “showy” flowers (those are your large single flower stems like roses, lilies, large mums, etc).

Once you have them sorted, you want to take each stem and strip away any leaves that are on the bottom section of the stem.  If you can help it, you don’t want leaves submerged in the water.  It makes the water get yucky fast… flowers don’t like yucky water.

Basic Flower ArrangingI also pull off any damaged petals while I’m at it.

Basic Flower Arranging

Now you’re ready to begin arranging.  Start with your greenery.  This bouquet didn’t come with very much greenery, so I placed it all around the lip of the vase.  The rule of thumb with greenery is;  put any drooping greenery around the lip of the vase, and any tall, straight greenery in the center of the vase.  The straight greenery in the center of the arrangement should be slightly taller than the rest of the flowers.

Basic Flower ArrangingStarting with the greenery is important because it will give you the bones of your arrangement. It provides structure for the rest of the flowers.

Now you’re going to choose one kind of the smaller cluster flowers, and start adding them to the greenery.  I chose the purple Status flowers because I have the most of them.  As you add each stem be sure to trim a little of the end off.  The shorter stemmed flowers should go at the base of the arrangement and the taller ones in the center.

Basic Flower ArrangingOne at a time, add the rest of the cluster flowers.  You want to keep the bouquet balanced.  Don’t group all of one type of flower together, spread them out evenly.  Trim the stems as needed.  You want your bouquet to be nestled down into the vase, not standing two inches above it.

Basic Flower Arranging

Once you’ve added all your smaller cluster flowers it’s time to move onto the last type of flowers.

Basic Flower ArrangingNow it’s time for the fun part!  The showy flowers!  Again, add one stem at a time, keeping the taller flowers in the center and the shorter ones around the edge.  You don’t want any one flower to stick out too far, just have all of them nestled together.  It will take a little fussing with.  It’s a good idea to occasionally step back a few feet to see how the arrangement looks over all.

Basic Flower ArrangingAnd there you have it!  Not too hard right?

Here’s a little side-by-side comparison-

Basic Flower ArrangingI think the extra effort is worth it but maybe that’s just me.  I like playing with flowers.

Another bonus for the extra TLC; it helps your flowers last longer!

Basic Flower Arranging

Although if I had to choose, I think I prefer the carefree look of garden flowers, spilling out of pitchers or Ball jars.  No fuss, no particular color scheme, just lots and lots of pretty blooms!

Garden Flowers | InAnOrchard

But my most favorite of all, are the little arrangements that are picked with small grubby hands.  The flowers with the stems that are almost too short to get into a vase, the ones that a may or may not be weeds… but are given by blue-eyed boys with lots of love.

Favorite Flowers


How to: Turn your child’s artwork into a lasting keepsake

I love my children’s artwork.  Which is good, because I get a lot of it!  I will confess that some of the countless “masterpieces” end up in the trash at the end of the day (horrified gasp!), but some of them make it into the stack of “keepers” that I keep on the shelf above my sewing desk.  The trouble is, I’m not always good at keeping tack of loose papers.  Sometimes those beautiful works of art get shuffled in with the junk mail, or become bent and wrinkled, or just fade with time.

A few years ago I had an “ah-ha” moment and I started embroidering and framing the children’s artwork.  No more worrying about fragile pieces of paper that get lost and damaged, and it got all those lovely pictures off my desk and onto the wall were they could be enjoyed by everyone.

So, if you have some priceless pieces of art that you’ve been saving, and would like to turn them into lasting keepsakes, this is how it’s done:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAList of supplies needed: one embroidery hoop ($1.99 at most craft stores), an embroidery needle, embroidery thread in a variety of colors (33 cents/ bundle), a small pair of scissors, and some light colored fabric.  Plain old muslin works great but in this case I’m using fabric that has a subtle floral design.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANow comes the hardest part; choosing from all that amazing art you’ve been collecting.  This is one that Miss E drew a few weeks ago.  I fell in love with her loopy circus animals, and decided to embroider them so I could include it in a wall grouping above her bed.  I usually make a copy of the original artwork, and then use a Sharpie to trace over the photocopy, just to make sure the lines are nice and dark and easy to see.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Next tape the photocopied picture to a window that gets lots of sunlight.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThen tape your fabric over the top of the picture.  As you can see from the picture I cut my fabric quite a bit larger than the picture.  You want extra fabric all the way around the design, so that you can trim it down later to a size that will fit in a standard frame.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANow, using a regular old pencil, carefully trace over the image onto the fabric.  This will transfer your child’s art work onto the fabric.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATake your embroidery hoop and pull the two rings apart.  Put the smaller ring under the fabric.  Center is around the drawing.  Then place the larger ring over the top of the fabric and push it down onto the smaller hoop.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANext, cut approximately a 12 inch section of embroidery thread.  Cut it too long and the thread will have a tendency to tangle up; cut it too short and you will spend most of your time tying off and re-threading your needle (no fun!).  As you can see I’ve threaded the needle with a standard knot and one end and a few inches of “tail” on the other end, just to keep the needle from coming un-threaded (apparently “un-threaded” isn’t an actual word. huh) .

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANow we begin to embroider!  The stitch I’m going teach you is called the back-stitch and it’s one of the most useful embroidery stitches you can learn. Start but running the tip of your needle along the backside of the fabric, until you can see that the needle is right under one of your lines.  Then, gently pull the needle up through the fabric until the length of your thread has come through, and the knot you made is right up against the backside of the fabric.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATaking your needle move one stitch length to the left and push the needle down through the fabric.  (Note: a stitch length is however long you want to make it.  Just keep in mind that smaller, even stitches look the nicest.)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPull the thread until it is taut with the fabric.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANow to make your second stitch.  Position your needle one stitch-length to the right of your last stitch.  Gently pull your thread through so that there’s no slack thread on the backside of the fabric.  Put your needle down right next to the last stitch.  There should be no space between the stitches.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAContinue to follow the line of your design; making back-stitches from right to left.

When you start to run out of thread, or you’ve come to the end of your design, you will need to tie-off on the back.  Make sure that you have three or four inches of thread left to work with.  If you don’t leave enough thread you won’t be able to make a knot on the back.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATo make a knot, slide your needle under the last stitch you made.  This time don’t pull the thread all the way through.  Leave a loop.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASlip your needle back through the center of the loop, and gently pull the loop closed.  Then slide the needle back under that first knot and make another knot.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt should look like this.  Cut the thread close to the knot, re-thread your needle and start again!  Continue to back-stitch all the way around your design.

Feel free to use a variety of colors.  In some cases my children used particular colors and I matched them as close as I could.  In this case Miss E’s circus animals were done in pencil, so I chose colors that would go well in her room.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOnce your embroidery is done, find a frame that compliments the artwork, and hang it up in a place of honor!  You will need to gently iron the finished embroidery and trim the fabric to fit the frame.

It took a little bit of work but now you have a keepsake that will stand the test of time.  And who knows?  Maybe someday it will hang on your granddaughter or grandson’s wall.

Thanks for stopping by!  I hope you’ve been inspire to try a little embroidery, I think you’ll find it very addicting :)


PS- if you are interested in learning more embroidery stitches there are tons of great video tutorials on Youtube.

Ode to a Simple Skirt

Over the last 3 years I’ve sewn a lot of things for Miss E.  While she happily wears pretty much anything I make her, there is one pattern that gets worn more than any other.  It’s not really a pattern, it’s Dana’s Simple Skirt tutorial.  Her skirt tutorial is one of my all-time favorites!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA I’ve made nine simple skirts for Miss E over the last few years.  She loves them.  They’re comfy, colorful, easy to put on, and given the choice they are what she will wear on any given day.  In the summer she wears them with t-shirts and Salt Water sandals.  In the winter she wears them with leggings, sweaters, or long-sleeved shirts.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThey are so easy to make, easy to embellish, and they require very little fabric.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe simplicity of the pattern allows you to add little details and make variations to the basic pattern.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis patchwork version of the Simple Skirt is Miss E’s favorite among favorites.  I made it on a lark at the beginning of the summer.  I had a bunch of scraps leftover from some projects I had completed and I decided to patch them together to make her a skirt.  It ended up being a little shorter than I wanted, so I finished the hem with bias tape.  It was a happy accident because I like the bias tape even better than a plain hemline.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis skirt was washed and worn every week for the entire summer.  It seemed like a good time to make her another.  While I was at it, I thought I would write up a quick tutorial for turning a Simple Skirt into a Patchwork Simple Skirt.

Start by reading Dana’s Simple Skirt tutorial.  She does and excellent job of explaining how to draft a pattern and construct the skirt.  Before you begin, use Dana’s formula to figure out the length and the width of your skirt.  This tutorial will simply show you how to assemble the patchwork part of the skirt.

Next, go through your scrap fabric and choose a handful of fabrics that look good together.  I’m using 14 different fabrics but you can use as few as 7. Using 7 fabrics will mean that you will have to use each type of fabric twice, maybe more depending on the size of the skirt.   As you can see, I chose a wide variety of patterns in green, orange, and purple hues. With one pop of turquoise, because turquoise is always a good idea.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn addition to the fabric you will need a sewing machine (obviously), a cutting mat, with a cutting ruler, a rotary cutter, 3/4 inch elastic, bias tape, and pins.


Start by ironing all of your fabric.  While this might seem obvious, it’s actually an important step.  When cutting with a mat and rotary blade, it’s important to have smooth, crisp fabric.  Otherwise your lines will be wobbly.  Wobble lines = not good.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALay the fold of your fabric along one of the horizontal lines on your mat.  Using your ruler and rotary blade, trim the edge of the fabric so that it is straight and perpendicular to the folded edge.  You’re just getting a straight edge so you can begin to cut your fabric into 3.5 inch strips.  After you’ve trimmed the vertical edge of your fabric, move your ruler 3.5 inches to the left (line you ruler grid up with the grid of the mat) and cut.  Continue to cut 3.5 inch strips with the rest of your fabric.   We aren’t going to worry about cutting the length of each strip at this point.  Just be sure that each individual strip is several inches longer than you want  your skirt length to be.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIf you want to know how many pieces you need to cut, just take the waist measurement, double it, then divide that number by 3.  That will give you approximately the number of strips needed for your skirt.

Miss E’s waist is 19 inches, double that and I get 38 inches.  Divide 38 by 3 which (when I round up) means I need to cut 13 strips.

This is what your fabric will look like once you are done cutting.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANext I lay them out in the order I want them to be sewn.  Right now we are only working on making the width of the skirt.  I’m not going to cut the length of the skirt, until all of the strips are sewn together.  By waiting to cut the top and bottom edges of the skirt, it will give me a more accurate rectangle.

I begin by sewing the strips from left to right.  I take the two strips that are on the far left, I pin them right sides together, and sew along one edge of the strips using a 1/4 inch seam allowance.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI use my serger to sew the fabric together.  A regular sewing machine works just fine but be sure to zig-zag the edges of the fabric before you sew them together, to prevent fraying when the skirt is washed.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Once the fabric strips are sewn together, press them gently open.  Don’t be too aggressive with your pressing or you will warp you strips.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAContinue to take the next strip to the right and pin (right sides together) to the raw edge of the last strip you sewed.  Be sure to press each strip as it is added before adding another. Keep adding strips until you have reached the length you need for your skirt.  As you can see from the picture, when I pin the strips together I try to keep the top edges of the strips sort of even.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is what it will look like.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFrom the picture above you can see that the top edge of the strips are sort of even but the bottom edge is very uneven.  That’s okay.  We’re going to straighten out the top and bottom edges next.

Now you want to fold your skirt in half right along one of the seam lines. Line that seam up with one of the horizontal lines on the cutting mat as shown (at the back) below.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALining up your cutting ruler edge with one of the vertical lines on the mat, trim up the edges, making them even.  Be sure to get all of the edges.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Now your ready to cut the length of the skirt.  Cut the left side of the rectangle to the length of your skirt.  Using Dana’s formula, I know that I want Miss E’s finished skirt to be 13 inches long.  So I add 1.5 inches for the elastic waist band which means that the width of my skirt will be 14.5 inches.  So I measure 14.5 inches to the left, line up my ruler and cut.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is what the finished rectangle will look like.  Use the rest of Dana’s tutorial to assemble the skirt.  Last, add the bias tape around the bottom of the hem.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd here’s the finished product.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMaking the patchwork version is more work, but I think it’s worth it.  Miss E certainly thinks it’s worth the work :)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOf course you could always turn a polka dot into a daisy.  Miss E thought it was a pretty neat addition.

Iron-on Applique 101

Iron-on applique is a sewing technique I use a lot.  It’s an easy, versatile way to add an extra little touch to just about any sewing project.  I thought I would take a minute to do a quick step-by-step tutorial for iron-on applique.

First, you will need to purchase some iron-on adhesive.  I keep yards of this stuff around at all times.  It’s very reasonably priced.  I like HeatnBond brand the best.  In fact I wouldn’t waste my money on any other brand (Pellon in particular is very difficult to work with).

You will also need some cotton fabric.  I usually stick with fabrics that have medium to large prints with easy to cut shapes.

When you open up your iron-on adhesive you will notice that it has two sides.

A smooth side that feels like parchment paper and a bumpy side that is slightly shiny.  The bumpy, shiny side is the side that has the adhesive on it.  Whatever you do DO NOT let you iron touch the adhesive side!

Next you will want to cut out a piece of the adhesive that just barely covers the shape you wish to use as an applique.  In this case I’m using two little houses.

Turn your iron on to the “wool” setting.  Place the fabric on the ironing board with the right side down.  Place the piece of iron-on adhesive on the fabric with the bumpy (or adhesive) side down.  You want to make sure that you are ironing on the smooth paper side.  I want to be clear about this step, you are melting the adhesive into the wrong side of the fabric with the paper side up.

Slowly glide the iron over the paper.  Make sure to run the iron all the way out to the edge of the adhesive paper.  It should only take about 30 seconds to melt the adhesive into the fabric.

Allow the fabric to cool and cut out your shape.

Once you have the shapes cut out, peel the paper off the back.  It should come off easily.  If it doesn’t, that means the adhesive hasn’t melted all the way and you need to iron it a bit more.

Place the applique onto the clothing, being sure to position it exactly were you want it to go. Once it’s ironed there’s no making adjustments.  Once again you want to slowly glide the iron over the fabric applique being sure to get the edges.

When your fabric applique is secure, move to your sewing machine and carefully stitch around the edge.  The iron-on adhesive will keep the fabric from fraying when it’s washed.  The stitching is to make the applique a little more secure and to add a finished look.

Easy as pie!

Now that you’ve got the applique basics down the sky is the limit! You can use it on so many different projects.  It’s just my personal taste but I find that the simpler the applique the better it looks.  A little bit of embellishment goes a long way.


Have fun, don’t go crazy (unless you like crazy. the by all means applique everything in sight), and if you have any other questions please feel free to send a message.


Show & Tell Thursday?

I had this post planned for Show & Tell Wednesday, but a class field trip and sick kiddos put me a day behind.  So today I’m breaking out of the mold, going hog wild and doing Show & Tell on Thursday.  What can I say, I’m wild, I’m a rebel (not really… in fact I’m the complete opposite of that. I am rule follower, because after all that’s what they’re for.)

This is a little sneak peak at some things I’ve been working on for the last week.

I was invited to take part in Ladies Night Out next Thursday night.  Ladies Night Out is a fun event hosted at Jake’s Coffee in Ripon (CA).  Vendors set up tables with their wears, and people are able to shop while enjoying fresh coffee and delicious coffee-house treats.  It happens once a month, but this is my first time to participate and I am so excited!  I’ve been busy making hair clips, infant headbands, pins and even doing a little sewing.  I’m hoping to have some more Sunday-go-to-meetin’ bags done by Thursday as well.

Here’s some of the pieces I’ve made so far~

A wide variety of hair clips in lots of fresh, fun colors.  I really had fun this time experimenting with different techniques and materials.  I pulled out everything I had!  The sewing room was quite the site.

I also made some larger flowers with pins on the back.  I thought they would be really pretty on a scarf or jacket.

I made a few infant headbands, I might try to make a few more.

I didn’t want to leave you high and dry without any creative inspiration.  So, I thought i would show you how to make a basic flower rosette.

I think these are even easier than the folded rose tutorial I did a few months ago.  They’re fun little flowers that can be made to look dressy or playful.  You can use a variety of fabrics (cotton, silk, satin, linen) and you can add little trinkets to the center.

First step: The Supplies

You will also need a glue gun and a sewing machine.

The 2×32 inch measurement doesn’t need to be precise.  You don’t have to get your straight edge and measuring tape out (unless you like that sort of thing, then by all means have at it).  A strip this wide and long will make a rose that is about 3 inches in diameter.  Longer and wider will make bigger and fatter roses.

Now, fold your fabric in half and lay the netting on top of the fabric.  The fabric is folded over but the netting is not.

Set your machine to the longest stitch setting it has.  DO NOT backstitch! Leave a long tail string, you will need that to gather the material.  Stitch the length of the strip.  Sew closely to the unfinished edge of the material.  Once you get to the end of the strip, do not backstitch, and leave another long tail string.

Hold your fabric in one hand and pull on one of the threads.  Holding the thread tightly, carefully push and gather the layers of fabric with the other hand.

It will look like this when it’s all gathered up.

Now to make the rosette:

Start at one end and make a small tight spiral.  Place a dab of hot glue along the bottom of the spiral to secure it.

Keep spiraling the fabric around the center.  Place a bead of hot glue all along the bottom edge to hold the shape of the rose.

As you spiral gradually flatten the “petals” out.  This will take a little practice but you’ll get the hang of it quickly.

This is what it looks like from the back.

Keep going until you run out of fabric or you like the size of the flower.  Take the unfinished edge and glue it behind the rose.

Next, hot glue the felt circle to the back of the flower.  This hides the stitching and gathers, and gives you a flat, even place to glue the clip.

Using the super glue, glue the hair clip (or pin) to the center of the circle.

All finished!  I recommend making a bunch of roses, sticking them on everything in sight, and giving them to everyone you know.

Have fun playing around and experimenting!  ~April


Tutorial: Sunday-go-to-meetin’ Tote

To make a tote with braided handles and a regular pocket you will need the following pieces~

To make a tote with regular handles and a crayon pocket you will need the following pieces~

The first step is the fun part: embellishing your tote.  Anything you want to put on the bag needs to be done at this point.

You can add flowers, trim, appliques, monograms, whatever you like.

To add a some lace trim to the top edge of the bag simple place a straight edge ruler along the top of the bag (about an inch to and inch in a half from the top), pin lace in place and sew onto the fabric.  Repeat these steps to the other side of the outer material.

The next step in the process is to make the pockets for the totes.

First up is the crayon pocket.  Take your crayon pocket piece and fold it in half (right sides together). Iron it in place.

Stitch around the edges using a 1/4 inch seam allowance.

Next we need to make the markings for the crayon holders.

Using a light colored pencil or chalk mark 3/4 of an inch in from side seam.  Lightly draw a line.  Keep making 3/4 of an inch marks down the pocket until you get to the other edge.

Stitch along each marking being sure to back-stitch when you start and stop.  It should look like this~

Now we move onto the handles.

To make the braided handles, take three strips of fabric and stitch them together along the top side.

Once they are sewn at the top, braid the pieces together.  If you have a hook or coat rack, I found it was easiest to braid the pieces when you placed the end of the braid over a hook.  You can also have someone else hold one end while you braid.  You just need a little tension on the fabric strips in order to get even and tidy braids.

You want your braids to end up being 16 inches long.   If they are longer than that, simply un-braid them until they are the right length.

Sew the bottom edge of the braid together with your machine.

Next we will sew the lining and the outer part of the tote.  Take the two outer pieces, right sides together and pin them in place.

Using a 1/2 inch seam allowance, sew all the way around the outer pieces.

Next, you are going to place the lining of the bag inside the outer bag.  Make sure that the lining is inside out and the outer bag is wrong side out (in other words, the lining and the outer bag need to be right sides together).

Using a ruler mark 2 inches in from the edge of the bag.  Do this on both sides of the bag.  Repeat this step on the other side of the bag as well (these markings will indicate where your handles will go).

In this picture I am using the regular handles but you do the same steps for the braided handles also.

Using a 1/2 an inch seam allowance, sew all the way around the top edge of the tote.

Stitch up the hole in the lining.  Push the lining down inside the tote,

Iron the top edge smooth.

For the last step you will topstich the top edge of the tote.

There you have it!  You now hold the keys to tote-making-heaven.  You can adjust the dimensions to make the bag bigger or smaller, you can use more sophisticated or funky prints to give to a girlfriend.  Or you can cut up an old pair of jeans and make one for your son.  The sky is the limit my friend

Have a great time making your own Sunday-go-to-meetin’ totes!  I’d love to see what you all come up with!

Also, if there is any part of this tutorial that seems unclear to you, please feel free to send me a private message and I will do my very best to walk you through the step.  I am usually pretty prompt about answering any questions regarding tutorials.

Thanks again, April

Tuesday April 26, 2011

For this week’s Show & Tell Wednesday I thought I would shake things up a bit by doing a “How To” post with a little giveaway thrown in the mix.

{the giveaway is officially closed}
First:  the “How To” portion of the post~

How to make flirty flowers for your hair.

A few years ago I started seeing these lovely fabric flowers popping up all over the internet.  I was fascinated and determined to figure out how they were made.  My mom and I put our heads together and figured it out.  So, if you would like to make some for yourself here’s how it’s done…

I like to use a small torch to make my flowers.  I think the torch makes better petals, and it allows you to have better control of the heat.  If you don’t have one you can use a candle instead.  You also need large, medium, and small circle templets for tracing (different sized cups and plates will also work).

You need small amounts of polyester satin fabric in a variety of colors.  It needs to be polyester so that the fabric will melt.  Natural fabrics like linen, silk, or cotton, will just burn (burning is not good).

Start by tracing circles onto the wrong side of the fabric.  Begin with the largest circle and move down to the smallest size.  Keep in mind that the circles will get smaller once you have melted the edges.

Cut out the circles.

These circles will be the petals of your flower.  You can make them all the same color or you can create a variegated style flower by using different colored circles.  The more circles you cut, the fuller your flower will be.

Now for the fun part; burning the material.  Hold the edge of the circle up to the candle and carefully glide the edge along the flame.  As you do this the edge will begin to melt and curl up.  The more you melt the curlier and more ruffled you flower will be.  Don’t go too crazy though, or you will end up with a little puddle of goo… and that’s not the look we’re going for.

Learning to control and manipulate the heat is the key to making really pretty flowers.  It takes some practice and experimenting.  Every fabric melts and curls a little differently.  I’ve certainly incinerated my fair share of petals over the last few years.

Once you’ve sealed the edges of all your circles, stack them up largest to smallest.  You can re-stack the petals, twist and turn them until you are happy with the shape.

Next, thread a needle and stitch about a half a dozen stitches in the center of the flower.  You don’t have to be real neat and precise you just want to keep your petals together.  The stitching will be covered up later.

As you can see, you can use a variety of materials and layer them together to create different looks and styles.  I like to add netting, lace and tulle layers in between the satin petals.  It’s not necessary to seal the edges of the lace, netting and tulle… they won’t fray.   Now for the fun part: the finishing touches.

Sometimes I like to hot glue leaves to the back.

You can put lots of different things in the center of the flower.  Seed beads, pearls, antique buttons, small gems, vintage velvet flowers… the sky is the limit.  I like to use extra strength glue for gluing any nonporous items like bead or buttons.

Just put a dollop of glue in the center and pile up the pearls or beads.  Have fun with this step, use your imagination.  I just keep messing with mine until I like the way it looks.  Once it looks right I walk away… you gotta know when to walk away.

I like to finish the back by hot gluing a felt circle to the center.  It covers up the stitching and gives the hair clip or pin back a level place to stick to.

Last, I use a little bit of the extra strength glue and apply it to a metal hair clip (or pin back).  I hold the clip open with a pencil so that it doesn’t get glued shut.  Then I center the back of the flower onto the clip.  Let the glue dry completely before using (duh).

Here are some other variations of flowers you can make~

Alright, here’s the “Giveaway” portion of the post.

If you leave a friendly comment on this post, your name will be entered to win your choice of 4 flower clips, from the selection shown in the following pictures~

I will close the giveaway on Monday, May 2nd, and announce the winner Wednesday, May 4th.  Be sure to check back to on the 4th to see if you won!  Comments on my FaceBook page will also be entered into the drawing.  Don’t be shy, even if you are a first time visitor please feel free to say “hi”.

Thanks for stopping by!  I hope you feel inspired today!
~ April