July 11, 2011

Super Easy Summer Shirt

Filed under: Projects, Tutorials — Tags: , , — laupre @ 4:44 pm

Yesterday I whipped up this simple top after seeing people wearing similar ones around town.  I thought they looked comfortable and the design is so simple I thought it would be a great project for summer sewing.  I know I’m not the only one who gets busy and begins to neglect their sewing space when the weather gets nice!

click image for full size

click image for full size

It ended up being just a twenty minute project, and it’s as easy to wear as it was to make.  There is no need for a pattern as it was as simple as three pieces, and since I used a knit that’s pretty stable and not prone to unraveling I just left the neckline and sleeve holes unfinished.

click image for full size

To add a little something special to this simple top I put a couple of grommets onto the back and strung some chain I had between them.  (note that I said grommets, not eyelets.  Grommets have two pieces that fit together while eyelets are the just one piece.  It makes a big difference in how well they will stay in place and not get ripped out.  Also, when setting grommets into stretchy knits you want to remember to use a smaller hole than you would with a solid woven fabric)


How to after the break: (more…)

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 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!

April 3, 2009

Mend it! Replacing worn Cuffs

Filed under: Tutorials — Tags: , , , , , , , , — laupre @ 10:54 am

I’ve got this old sweatshirt hoodie here that I’ve had for a while. When I took it out of the wash this week I found that my “ok, these are starting to wear out” wrist cuffs had exploded into a huge mess. Tatters and shreds! Instead of just tossing the hoodie out, or cutting it up to make rags, I decided to replace the cuffs with some new material to extend the life of the garment and to fight the disposable everything society that surrounds us. It’s a shame that so much of the clothing that’s produced today are made to wear out quickly and then be tossed away and replaced with new disposable fashion. So I’d like to share with you a quick 10 minute or less solution to worn out cuffs. No worn out cuffs around? That’s okay, too, you can use this same technique to add your own style to your sleeves.

Look at those cuffs!

Look at those cuffs!

The materials you’ll need are few and easy to get.

You’ll  need the shirt you want to mend, fabric for the cuffs, and sewing tools.  The material you use to replace the cuffs should be stretchy, like a knit or ribbing.  Ribbing is the best and is what you will usually find for cuffs and waistbands.  You can tell if a material is ribbed if it has vertical lines,or bumps.  A flat knit material will work, too, and that’s what I’ll be using for this demonstration.  You can get both ribbing and knit material at most fabric stores, but you’ve probably got an old t shirt laying around that would work just as well, too!

A serger can make sewing knits easier and quicker, but for this tutorial you should be able to use a standard sewing machine with a zigzag or stretch stitch with no problem.


The stretch in this fabric follows the stripes

You’re going to cut two rectangles out of your fabric, one for each cuff.  You fabric will most likely have more stretch in one direction than the other.  The stretchy direction will be our “width” or the way that will wrap around your wrist.  The less stretchy direction will be our “length” or how long you want the cuff to extend from the end of the sleeve.


Marking my fabric rectangles 9"x12"

Here I’m using just regular chalkboard chalk to mark my fabric.  Your rectangles’ width should be about 9″ and the length should be two times the final length that you want the cuff to be.  I decided I wanted my cuffs about 6″ long, so my rectangles will be 9″ wide (stretchy wise) and 12″ long (non-stretch wise).


Right sides together

Your first seams will be along the length of the cuff.  Fold it in half with right sides together and sew the fabric into a tube.

Your tube

Your tube

Now start as if to turn the tube rightside out, but you’re going to stop halfway.  You’ll want the raw edges to line up giving you a tube half as long, with both cut ends on one end, the folded end on the other, and the seam you just sewed should be hidden.

line up the cut edges

line up the cut edges

Now we’ll add the cuff to the sleeve.  First cut off the old cuff in a straight line across the sleeve.



With your sleeve right side out, you’re going to slip the new cuff onto the outside of the sleeve.  You’ll want the cuff to go on folded end first, so that the cut end of the sleeve matches up with the two cut edges of your new cuff.  You’ll be sewing through all three layers to attach the cuff.


An Important note: The cuff should be smaller than the sleeve it will go on.  You will stretch the cuff as you sew it in place.

Now sew around the edge where the sleeve and new cuff meet, stretching the cuff as you go.  Now pull the cuff down and topstitch the new seam if you wish.

img_4763Repeat the process with your other rectangle of fabric on the other sleeve, and that’s it!

Enjoy your new cuffs and the knowledge that you have given new life to an old garment or just have fun with it and try some fun colors or designs to liven up a boring sweatshirt.

All new funky cuffs

All new stripey cuffs

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