Monday, October 27, 2008

Gathering Tutorial: How to Gather Fabric

So the typical instructions for making gathers are to sew 2 lines of basting stitches and then gently pull until the fabric gathers. PITB if you ask me. Especially when there's a lot to gather. Here's an easier, faster, no stress way.

You will need:
*Crochet thread or thin yarn
*Zig Zag foot -or even better some kind of foot that you can feed the yarn into, I used my Satin Stitch Foot (it's the clear one)

Set your zig zag stitch on it's widest and longest setting. Lay your fabric down. Position the yarn in the middle of the zig zag foot. This is where one of those other feet come in handy. It eliminates all the guess work.

Start zig zagging over the yarn, without catching it in the stitch. This what it will look like when you are done. (click to enlarge) Pin the edges of the yarn down. I had 2 yards of material to gather, so I split it in two, sewing the yarn onto each separate yard, that's why there's 2 pins.

Start pulling the yarn on the other end, until the fabric reaches the width that you need and pin the other end of the yarn down.

Now pin the gathered fabric onto whatever you're sewing it onto, right sides together. In my case, it was a t-shirt. Make sure the top of the fabric is pulled neatly up, so that it doesn't get caught and peek out at you from the right side.

Side note: If you want to sew this onto a t-shirt to make a dress, the neck of the shirt will be at the hem of the skirt when you're pinning.

Position the needle to the left of the zig zag stiches. This is important! If you position it on the right of the stitches, the right side of the garment will look like this (click to see the riff raff) and then you'll have to spend time pulling out the zig zags. Which will defeat the purpose of trying to do this thing faster.

Now just sew the gathered fabric onto your other fabric using a straight stitch. In this picture you'll see my original sewing line (on the no-no right side of the zig zags). Again, make sure the gathered fabric is laying straight up.

In my house, it's best to use the Straight Stretch Stitch (marked with an S.S. on my machine). It keeps better for active little girls. When that's done, pull out the yarn. It comes out quite easily.

Viola! Easy Gathers.

Hope this was helpful and easy to understand. If you need anything clarified, let me know.

Crafty Sunday

We had bit of a crafty day this Sunday. I'd been in quite a funk all week and then this post over at Carla's blog just cracked me up! Funny how laughter works, huh? It totally lifted my mood and I just started feeling better.

So, I finally made this Halloween dress for my niece Marley in NY. She's 6 months old. The dress looks like it might fit a 2 year old. But the little tee does say 3-6 months. Oh well, she can save it for next year. My girls aren't getting Halloween dresses this year because Omari still fits into hers and I have Omari's dress from 2004 for Naiobi to wear. Unfortunately, she refuses to even try it on. Oh well. Her loss. I bought the little tee about a month ago, got the fabric at Joann's about 2 weeks ago and I waited until the last week in October to make it!

Then late Saturday night, I was on the net and I re-discovered Cindy's blog. She had so many Halloween ideas up! We made the ghostly candle holders out of yogurt jars. I like how the girls' jars look way scarier than mine.

And then also on Cindy's blog you can find this Halloween Garland. You just print it out on cardstock and string it together. I didn't have any cardstock so I printed it on scrapbook paper and we then pasted then onto construction paper. It prolonged the process, killing some time. This the blog with the tutorial on how to make the crayon rolls. I've gotten so much use out of that pattern that I made a donation.

And then we made brownies. Those are all gone now.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Check this out! This is what I decided to do at 1am last Saturday. Isn't that gross?! I have owned this machine for 9 years and I have NEVER opened it to clean it. Don't know what possessed me, especially at that hour. But no wonder I'd been having such a hard time with the feed dogs pulling the fabric! I haven't used the machine since then, so I don't know if it will feel any different, but I should think so.

Slippery fabric fix

Okay, so I had to go back and fix that little baby blanket I made. It was just embarrassingly wrinkled. This idea popped into my head, and although not perfect, it worked nicely. I had this roll of double sided, 1/4" tape. I don't know what it is. It came as a thank you in something that I bought. Well, that stuff didn't work. It wasn't strong enough.

Out popped the photo squares. I use these when I'm scrapbooking. Which I haven't done in forever. Living in a small space sure can get unmotivating. Gotta drag everything out of it's hiding place then put everything away at 2am and put it back in it's place before the chilrens gets up. Anyway... I put the photo squares around the whole blanket, topped it with the other fabric and stitched along fixing the fabrics as I went. WAY less wrinkles this way and I am much happier. I turned and top stitched and removed all the photo squares.

Here are the little blankets. One side flannel the other is Soft and Comfy from Joann Fabrics. I don't like pastels much and I knew the mom would be getting lots and lots of pink. I like to add some bright colors to the mix.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Making progress (circular needles, chunkier thread)

Allright, so it's not such a great picture. But it still looks way better than what I was working on. Thanks Carmell and Carlita for your suggestions. I actually had these ciruclar needles in my stash but had never used them. I bought them for my mom a few yeas ago when she was visiting. She made Omari a poncho in a weekend drive to Mexico. I have no idea what size they are. The yarn is Bernat Cottontots. You guys! These was SO MUCH easier! Hard to believe really. Don't know which of the two (needle, yarn) it was, or the combination of them both, but I LIKE IT! I'm just knitting row after row until I finish the yarn. It IS kind of relaxing. I've done it the past 2 nights for about an hour as I watch tv until 9pm. I got a tiny bit upset as my time was nearing cuz it meant 2 things. Gotta put the knitting away and gotta get to work making lunches, cleaning up etc, etc.

No knitting tonight. Tonight I will be trying to fix that baby blanket I made and making another. What I really want to do is go see The Secret Life of Bees. I loved the book. I will have to wait.

Monday, October 13, 2008

This knitting thing

Okay, so I taught myself to crochet when I was pregnant with Omari. I bought a book at Joann's and went from there. I ended up making a not so easy pattern that came out beautifully. And everything after that has been a piece of cake. This knitting thing, not so easy. I have gotten the gist of it from Knitting Help. It's awesome! But I get so tense when I'm trying to do this. My shoulders are all squinched up and my hands get tired. I have no idea how to position the needles and I feel awkward and I can't tell until after that I've made a mistake. AND I have no idea how to correct it.

Mostly I want to learn so I can make fingerless gloves and legwarmers for the girls. They just don't look as nice in crochet. This was on it's way to being fingerless gloves for me, but I think that these needles are too fat for this thin yarn. Am I right? It's sock yard and the needles are size 8 (5 mm).


So I'm a little pissed about this wrinkled blanket. Because I spent TIME on getting it lined up just so, so that no wrinkles would come out. But that damn Soft and Comfy kept moving ever so slightly as I sewed. I even ripped out some stitches, twice, to try and get it to smooth out. Obviously it didn't work. The printed side is flannel. I have to fix this. Because it's a gift and even if it wasn't, it would bother the heck out of me. So I'm not quite sure what to do. I've seen that quilters tape their quilts down on the floor and pin every few inches. Grrr. What a PITB for a simple thing, no?

Well, I was a bit more sucessful making Omari's poodle skirt out of craft felt. Man that was easy! No hem and no casing for the elastic. And of course, I wasn't about to put in a zipper either. I just sewed the elastic onto the inside of the waist line, so it is exposed. But I don't care much for making perfect costumes. And there's Olivia peeking over the top and showing off her matching skirt. I had to make the t-shir too. Now I've just got to find a tiny poodle applique.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Comfy Shoes

Damn! It's been forever since I posted.

I am forever on the search for comfy shoes. I suffer from Plantar Fascittis. According to my doctor this will be cured once I buy orthotics for my shoes. I just haven't wanted to fork over $400. And so a year has passed buy and I've instead spent more than that trying to find the right shoes. I have it bad enough that the pain from stepping out of bed doesn't subside until about 9am. So when I get out of bed, when I get out of my car to drop of kid #1, then out of the car again to drop off kid #2 and when I get of my car to come into work, I step out lightly and cautiously. Sucks.

I have spent the past year living in Dansko Professional Clogs. Black ones that are now all scuffed up. They work, but they just don't work for professional work attire (don't care, still wear them) or when wearing dresses. So I went out and bought 2 pairs of Dansko Clog Sandals. A red pair and a lime green pair. Not so practical Lilia! And to be honest, I'm TIRED of wearing them. I don't know a single girl that doesn't just love shoes and so this past year has left me pining over what I can't have. I've gotten rid of most of my pre-foot problems shoes.

I am not supposed to wear heels or flip flops so those are all gone. And so is every other pair that made the pain worse. But I do have to say, that those clogs do the trick. Even sneakers hurt. Even the ones that I spent $175 on that were supposed to be specifically for this problem hurt. My feet never hurt with the clogs. The doctor said he doesn't like them much because they are stiff. I didn't ask for more of an explanation. They work for me.

Anyway, tired of wearing clogs, wanting to wear dresses and having no other shoes to wear, I walked in to the Clark's outlet at the Citadel in City of Commerce. I hadn't been there in years and they didn't have this store before. I tried on lots of shoes. Fortunately, I can tell right away if a shoe is going to work for me or not. This pair was the 'practical' pair. They are amazing! They don't have much of an arch support and I was surprised that they weren't painful. But the heel of the shoe is like rubber. It just bounces! The other pair I tried was less practical, brown and red and a maryjane (I LOVE maryjanes!), and so they were left behind. But I think I'm going to go back for them. These shoes are not that cute (but cuter than what I own) and they are what I would consider old lady-ish, but still better than what I've been wearing.

So maybe, it's the rubber heel that is helping? I don't know. Maybe I should go back to wearing Dr. Marten's? I wore the lace up, 8 hole boots in high school and college, but look at all the cute styles they have now! I want SHOES!