Archive for the ‘tutorials’ Category

How to Organize Sewing Patterns

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The silence over here has been killing me! It’s been a crazy couple of weeks around our house. Chris got the renovation bug not too long ago and we’ve been working our tails off on completing the last unfinished bedroom in our house (pics soon!) and updating all closets. The new closets are heavenly!

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While in spring cleaning/nesting mode, I’ve taken the opportunity to re-organize my sewing patterns. They’re out of control. I’ve drafted about as many patterns as I’ve bought, so coming up with a good system for easy storage was necessary.

In the past, I’ve bought envelopes the same size as as standard pattern envelopes and tried to stuff drafted patterns into those. It’s not terribly effective for me, since most of my pattern envelopes end up sitting on my desk for weeks simply because I’m too annoyed with the thought of putting them away.

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A few fellow sewers mentioned to me how they organize patterns in clear sleeves in three-ring binders. Genius. Wanting them to look polished in my new closets, I went for leather binders*. They’re gorgeous. So far I’ve only separated out tops and bottoms. I’m filling these binders fast, so I’ll likely need to branch out to more categories. Here’s how I’ve done it (and you can too):

Supplies:

  • binders, either 8 1/2 x 11 or 12 x 12
  • clear sheet protectors
  • large labels
  • fun marker or pen

Step 1:

I never cut into store bought patterns. They always remain intact, I simply trace the appropriate size on tracing paper and make adjustments there. I bought a giant roll of 36″ wide x 50 yard tracing paper at a local art supply store for somewhere around $20. If you sew, it’s a worthwhile investment. Store bought patterns stay in their envelopes and those envelopes get stored in a box. Pattern tracings, PDF patterns and self-drafted patterns get stored in binders for easy-access.

Step 2:

Pack the sheet protectors with your pattern (one pattern per protector).

Step 3:

Label the protector. I labeled it with the pattern maker (i.e. Megan Nielsen, Hey June, Self-drafted), pattern name or description and traced size or estimated draft size at the bottom.

Step 4:

Sort. Alphabetical order, style, preferred fabric type, etc. Figure out a system to easily find your patterns and your done!

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I had a lot of fun busting out my brush markers and washi tapes to fancy-up the labels for each pattern. The lettering is far from perfect, but it was great practice.

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Let’s end on a keeping-it-real note. This is how awesome my studio looks at the moment. I’ve got a lot of organizing ahead of me, but with binders, cute boxes and new shelving I feel unstoppable!! WEEEEE!!

How do you organize your sewing patterns? Do share in the comments below!

*Binders and sheet protectors provided by Lifestyle Crafts.

Sewing: Leather and Knit Tuxedo Skirt Tutorial

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This is the last of the pieces I made for Alt Summit. And sadly enough, I’ve barely used my sewing machines for basic mending since mid January. It’s time to get my rear in gear and sew some more! I’ve got a few great ideas for clothes for Penelope and me. Penelope is finally at a point where she’s not destroying her clothes, so I’m excited to start sewing for her again.

Here was the basic vision that I had for the first day of Alt Summit. It was something simple with the letter lover sweatshirt and skinnies (blogged here), but then kicked up a notch for the evening with a blazer and leather skirt.

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The outfit pictured below isn’t what I actually wore the evening of the event, but it’s something I’ve been doing a lot lately: mixing neutrals. I’ve been mixing browns and blacks a lot lately. I find that it can be easily done, if browns and blacks are the only “color” introduced into the outfit. It’s much harder to mix neutrals (for me at least) when other colors are introduced into the palette.

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Instead of going for a black leather like I had originally sketched out, I went for an oatmeal/white leather. It breaks up the brick pattern nicely and it’s a little more casual.

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Constructing this skirt after my last leather skirt was a BREEZE. I didn’t insert any invisible zippers on leather. The fact that it’s mostly ponte knit allows for more wiggle room when moving around.

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Between the knit and the yoga waistband, I can wear the skirt lower or higher depending upon how I want the overall look to come across. It’s nice to have flexible, comfortable pieces in the wardrobe.

So I’ve been meaning to write up this post for some time, but the biggest hang-up has been the tutorial. It’s so easy to make your own, I thought I would include a tutorial in the post. Click “read more” below to view the instructions.

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Outfit Details:

  • earrings: c/o Ardor
  • necklace: Ann Taylor Loft
  • watch: c/o Feral
  • bracelets: handmade, gift
  • top: Forever 21
  • skirt: handmade
  • shoes: c/o Sole Society

 

 

 

Leather and Knit Tuxedo Skirt Tutorial

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Supplies:

  • 1 yard ponte knit (heavy knit with 50-65% 4-way stretch, see here)
  • garment weight leather (see measurements below for amount)
  • bulldog clips, or paper clips
  • large paper
  • pencil
  • ruler
  • measuring tape
  • regular sewing machine
  • universal sewing needle

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5 Easy Ways to Improve Your Handwriting

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I was on Studio 5 last week! It’s hard to convey everything I want in a short segment, so in addition to the little video (below), I have great tips on how to improve your handwriting.

As I’ve mentioned before, it’s International Correspondence Month. I’ve made a dent with my box of envelopes, but I still have about 15 letters to go before the end of the month (totally doable, if you ask me!). I make goals like this for myself quite frequently, and I’m excited that this one is sticking! Ideally, I’d love to write this many letters all the time, but it’s a matter of carving out the time. It’s not as quick or convenient as sending an email, but it certainly means more to get something hand-written than a quick 2-liner in your inbox. At least, that’s how I feel.

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With the rise of the digital age, good penmanship has gone down the crapper. If I had a quarter for every time I heard the whine “I wish my handwriting looked better”, I’d be living it up in my multi-million dollar dream home. It’s an epidemic of bad handwriting! Most schools aren’t teaching cursive, either! I’m glad to be in a state that still requires cursive as part of the third grade curriculum. Not only does it teach kids a slice of history, but it promotes better literacy (often times kids that don’t learn how to write cursive have issues reading script fonts), better fine-motor skills and concentration. It may be impractical to hand-write everything in this modern age. However, we should shift our perception of handwriting from an archaic means of communication to something meditative, meaningful and personal.

Calligraphy and penmanship have very similar foundations. So let’s talk about 5 ways to make your everyday handwriting better.

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Tutorial: Leather Handbound Book

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I’ve been kinda stumped with Christmas ideas. But another one came to me! Penelope and I made a few of these for gifts for her to give away. They make the perfect gift for guys or girls, too! Once I got all the supplies together, each book takes about 10 minutes to make. Perfect for mass production, or that little extra handmade touch to your perfect holiday gift.

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I’ve styled this purple and liquid gold-leafed leather book in a gift “basket”. Perfect for the young lady needing a respectable purse and purse contents. Details:

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They’re ever so simple to make. I’ve made these with the leather scraps I have on hand (I have a giant overflowing bin full!), but these could easily be made with felt, fabric fused to paper with Heat ‘n Bond. Let’s make one together!

EASY Leather-Bound Pocket Notebook Tutorial

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Supplies

Read more to learn how to assembly this easy easy book!

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Tutorial: Beaded Turban Ring

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I’m a last-minute gift-giver. 90% of the gifts on my list have not been bought or made. . . yet. I’m that on the ball this year. In fact, does anyone else feel like they’re just dragging behind with holiday prep?

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Each year I try to make most of my gifts. It’s become increasingly harder with two kids and calligraphy work. So I like to go for things that are simple, thoughtful and/or cute. I was playing around with an idea for a ring design using only these small beads and gold wire. That’s when the idea for this little ring struck. It’s so easy, you could make up a bunch for  of your besties this winter!

Beaded Turban Ring

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Supplies

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Cut the wire about 8 inches long. bend one end about 2 inches from the end. The bend will keep the beads from falling off.

With the straight end, string the beads, about 4-5 inches. Some glass beads won’t fit at all, while others will slide on smoothly. Just keep picking out more beads until you find one that fits.

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Wrap the beaded wire around a marker or finger. Above I have 4 wraps. Only wrap the marker twice. Remove any excess beads, then trim and kink the straight end about an inch or so in.

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Coil one wire around the other, tucking the end in as much as you can.

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Coil the second end around the first coil tightly.

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Now enjoy!

Outfit details:

More tutorials are on their way!

*This tutorial/freebie is free for personal use and should not be distributed/republished without my consent. Altering any files is NOT ALLOWED. If you would like to use this freebie for commercial purposes, please email me. Thanks!

 

 

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