October 28, 2010

Mend It! Replacing A Broken Hoodie Zipper

Filed under: Sewing stuff, Tutorials — Tags: , , , , , , — laupre @ 8:49 pm

Once again I can’t bear to part with a hoodie that still has plenty of good miles left in it but has developed a fatal flaw. This time it’s a cozy oversized hoodie with a busted zipper. I start to zip from the bottom, but I get no zip!

Broken zipper

I think I feel a draft

Once again, it’s time to spend a few minutes and save this sweatshirt. I honestly don’t know what’s wrong with the zipper so the easiest solution for me is to replace it with a new one. I just happen to have one almost perfect in my stash. If you need to buy a zipper, be sure to measure the length of the original zipper as accurately as possible. I suggest taking the item with you so that you can match up the color and exact length before you begin.

matching zipper

New functioning zipper

This zipper is just about perfect. The right length, nearly a perfect match, and was dirt cheap. I bought it locally at Scrap, an excellent resource in Portland, OR for Reuse and Recycling. The other important thing is that it is a separating zipper so the two halves of the zipper separate when the zipper slider is pulled all the way down.

3 zippers

Here are three similar zippers. They are all the same size, all have plastic teeth, the only difference is color and how they end. The first on the left (blue) has a closed bottom. The two sides are connected at the bottom preventing the slider from coming off at the end but it won’t come apart. The middle zipper (green) is a separating zipper. It is perfect for jackets or sweatshirts/hoodies that are expected to open all the way. The one all the way on the right (black) is a double separating zipper. It can come apart like a separating zipper, but it has the added feature of a second slider allowing you to zip it up, then unzip it from the bottom, leaving the top zipped if you want to.

three zippers

Now, back to my project! Looking at the inside of the sweatshirt you can see that this zipper is simply attached with just a single line of stitches.

I could easily pick out the stitches and remove the zipper first. I like to leave the old zipper in place when I add my new zipper for two reasons. First, I like to have the old zipper tape to act as a support layer to keep the sweatshirt material from stretching as I sew, causing wavy zipper syndrome. Secondly, I like to have the original zipper teeth to line the new zipper teeth against as a guide to make sure my zipper is set straight (and make it easier to not use pins. Use them if you prefer.)

Place the zipper, and sew it in place.

I started at the bottom and sewed up towards the hood. Then I stopped an inch or two from the top and hand stitched the rest in place, folding the extra zipper tape from the top between the zipper and the sweatshirt fleece to hide it.

Now I have the option of trimming away the original zipper, if it wasn’t removed before sewing on the new zipper. In my experience it works just fine to trim away the old zipper, cutting as close to the line of stitching for the new zipper as possible. anything leftover is hidden just fine by the new zipper and the edge of the sweatshirt on top. I chose to leave the original zipper in place for this, though. I just like the look of the “double zipper” and the shiny brass of the original.

This is a quick and easy repair that anyone can do. It took me under 30 minutes, including hunting for the zipper! ūüėČ


June 2, 2010

Big Flower Pin Cushion

Filed under: Needlework, Projects, Tutorials — Tags: , , , — laupre @ 10:01 pm

I decided to make a new large pin cushion for my sewing desk. I needed one that was big and heavy, one that I couldn’t lose or knock over accidentally.

I don’t know if I’m the only one who tends to lose things in the midst of a project, but I’d guess I’m not the only one with backups. ¬† I’ve got a selection of scissors, multiple packages of needles, a spare pair of reading glasses, and a collection of pin cushions scattered about. (If however, you’re the kind of person with perfect organization who always know exactly where every supply is just play along for my benefit.) ¬†Besides that, A quick and easy pin cushion project is just the thing for a blah rainy afternoon.

This is the cushion I created. ¬†It’s a basic rectangle shape with a big flower on top. ¬†I made it to fit inside this low, wide planter making it nearly impossible to lose!

After the jump I’ll share my technique for making the cushion and give a tutorial to make the petals for the flower.


February 12, 2010

Blackberry Sleeve

Filed under: Projects — Tags: , , — laupre @ 1:05 am

I made this sleeve for a friend who lost the case for his blackberry.

I used a sturdy black canvas for the fabric and some heavy weight interfacing to help protect the phone.

The strap that holds the phone in wraps around the back so he can put it on his belt if he wants to.

There’s also a slit on the side to¬†accommodate¬†the charging cable or the headphone jack.

One of my favorite things about the case is the magnetic closure I used for the strap. The blackberry turns itself off whenever the case is closed because it has a magnetic sensor under the keyboard.

He likes it.

February 10, 2010

Zip-up Earbuds

Filed under: Projects, Tutorials — Tags: , , , , , — laupre @ 1:29 pm

I love to have my music with me everywhere I go, but I hate the tangled mess my wires become when I toss them in my bag or pocket. Last night I whipped up a fun and functional solution by adding a zipper to my earbuds.

This project took me around an hour to do (perfect for catching up on some t.v. from The supplies are few; basic sewing supplies, a pair of headphones, and a nice long zipper. I happened to have this crazy purple and gold nike zipper I found thrifting a while ago, it seemed perfect for this project.

The first step is to pull the earbuds apart, to separate the wires all the way down to the plug.

Next, take one side of your headphones and one side of the zipper tape and start stitching the wire into the tape. Simply fold the outside edge of the tape under to the wrong side (enclosing the wire) and use a running stitch to hold it in place. A little bit of glue could be used at the top to attach the end of the zipper to the earbud, but I found that it wasn’t necessary for me.

It’s as easy as that! Zipped up, I can toss them into my bag or pocket without worrying about tangles or having them get caught on something and breaking.

Then unzip them to the length I want and put them on so much faster than having to untangle the mess!

January 27, 2010

Working on My Black and White Quilt

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — laupre @ 11:56 am

I took a moment this morning to snap a couple of photos of my black and white quilt. The sun is actually shining today and the quilt was just begging for my attention!

The quilt is officially half way done now. ¬†It measures 70″ by 45″, once it’s done it will be a 70″x90″. There are 54 hand quilted squares there! (and that means 54 more to do, oooh).

I am still really liking the quilt as you go method for joining the squares . ¬†With this technique you never have to have more than one block’s width rolled up under the arm of your sewing machine. ¬†(the blocks are hand quilted, but pieced together by machine). I also love that it is pieced together so that it is patchwork on the front and back, too. ¬†To be honest, I am feeling a bit intimidated with the amount of work left to do. ¬†Each of these blocks takes me 45 minutes to an hour to quilt (I’m slow, but getting better!). ¬†I even toyed with the idea of machine quilting some of the squares just to keep motivated and get some of it done quickly, but a friend told me, “Don’t do it! you’ll never forgive yourself”. ¬†I laughed, but I thought about it and she was right. ¬†I just know I’ll be proud of it when I’m done and know that I put so much effort into it, and didn’t compromise my plan.

Right now I just want it done so I can snuggle up under it.

June 5, 2009

Let’s Pink!

Filed under: Gadgets, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — laupre @ 3:24 pm

When I saw this little machine in the thrift store I was immediately intrigued.


I thought it was beautiful.¬† It is all metal, except for the wooden handle, and is pretty small, at a little under 6 inches tall. (on my monitor, the photo is just a little bit smaller than the real thing)¬† I wasn’t sure what it was at first, but as I played with it I started to get an idea of what it was for.¬† When you turn the handle, the wavy blade turns as well as the metal disk below the table.¬† I thought it had to be for pinking fabric!¬† I brought it home, not really caring if it would work or not because I loved it.


Just look at those neat gears on the back! You can see here that it was made by Singer.¬† I started looking around online after I got it home and found out that it’s a little hand pinking machine that Singer made during the first half of the 1930’s.¬† I was even able to download a PDF of the instruction manual.¬† The manual promised that the blade will “never need sharpening”!¬† I thought I’d better give it a try.¬† The little machine clamps down onto the edge of a table for security. I clamped it down, fed some sweet Kokka Japanese linen through it, and it worked like a charm! perfectly!


I wonder if Singer knew when they wrote their manual that it would really still work perfectly 70 years later.¬† It’s so nice because the machine feeds the fabric through as you turn the handle, all you have to do is guide it to keep it straight.¬† It is so much easier to use than pinking shears (scissors), because you never have to worry about lining up the zags and zigs every time you reopen the scissors to cut the next part.¬† You just get one long continuous line of perfect pinking!


I pinked the edges of a couple of rectangles of the linen and paired it with some lime green linen to make a pouch.  I made the pinked edges a part of the design since it was so fabulous.


And look, the machine fits right inside.  Cute, no?


February 20, 2009

My Almost Pollini Alterations

Filed under: Tutorials — Tags: , , , , , — laupre @ 1:49 pm

poll1Add an Image

There was a discussion thread over on Craftster for doing a sew-along for the Almost Pollini dress pattern available on the Burdastyle website, available here.¬† The pattern is adorable, but unfortuneatly only comes in a single size, and it’s not quite my size.¬† I’d been thinking about recreating this dress, though, so when I saw the sewalong I thought it was time to give it a try and share my process for the other ladies who were thinking about taking on the resizing.¬† The way I did it was pretty easy and didn’t take too long.

I adapted my own bust sloped to fit the style of the pattern, only changing a few things from the original.¬† Instead of having the neckline facing be one continuous piece, I made the front facing a part of the front bodice piece, and made a second facing piece for the back. To use my version of the bust pattern pieces you can print out these photos on U.S. letter size paper.¬† This pattern fits about a 38 inch bust, but be warned! I made the original pattern too long. It will have to be shortened to fit the style of the dress. To fit me, I ended up shortening it to¬† the bottom of the side dart.¬† It’s an easy fix, just cut along horizontally to the bottom line.

Click these images to view full:

First, how the pages should layout when you’re ready to tape them together:

And here are the pattern pieces.  There are 8 in all:



Each image should be printed as a full sheet of paper.

The Making of: The Almost-Almost Pollini dress

Ok, assuming you’ve already printed out your Burdastyle Pollini dress pattern (I only printed out pages 8-9, and 14-25 since I wasn’t using the original bust and sleeve patterns. you can set that in the print dialogue) and the 8 images above, it’s time to resize the burdastyle pieces to fit the LauPre pieces.¬† This is really easy, but here are some images of how I did it.

The key to resizing the skirt is to know that the skirt panel seams should match up with the seams and dart lines of the bodice. Here you can see the original burda skirt panel side back, matched up to the new bodice back piece.  The skirt panel should hit the side seam and the edge of the dart.  The long arrow grainline printed on the skirt piece makes a perfect altering line, so cut the piece in two along this line.   Lay the edges of the pattern in place, and use some scraps of paper and tape to create your resized piece.  The yoke pieces will also have to be made to fit the width of the new bodice.


Remember when you cut out the pieces to add seam allowances to the Burda pattern pieces


I used 2 yards of fabric for the dress, but it was close.¬† I would suggest getting¬† two and a third, or even two and a half so you won’t have to do tricky piece cutting.¬† I ended up not having enough to double my yoke pieces….

anyway, once you have your pieces it’s really easy to put it all together!

Start with the bodice:

Sew the darts.

Fold the facings at the center front of the bust pieces to the wrong sides of the fabric and press.


Place the two press lines together, right side together, and sew a line, using the pressed crease line as a guide


Fold the facing against the crease and stitch along the neckline for each side.  Turn out the corners and press.


Attach the back facing piece to the bodice back.


Sew the front bodice piece to the back bodice piece at the shoulders, being sure to match up the seams for the facings.  Press the seam flat.


Attach the yoke pieces to the front and back.  The original pattern calls for interfacing, so use it if you like. You can see that I cut my yoke pieces extra wide.  I trimmed them after attaching them to the bodice.


Now add the sleeves:


Next you’ll make the skirt pieces.¬† Attach the skirt front sides to the skirt front center and the skirt back center to the skirt back sides.¬† Don’t attach the front and back to each other yet.¬† Instead, sew them into place below the yokes, making sure that the seam lines match up with the dart lines in the bodice.


Match up the right side, from the end of the sleeve to the bottom of the skirt and sew the two pieces together.


For the left side do the same except add a zipper in at the places indicated on the burda pattern.

All that’s left to do is hem the sleeve and skirt, and topstitch the neckline.

I hope this is helpful, feel free to contact me if you have any questions!


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