Archive | April 2016

Super Hero Cape!

What 5 year old doesn’t want to be a super hero with a cape?  Remember tying a towel around your neck and flying across the living room furniture or jumping high on your bed until your Mom yelled at you?  I sure do!  But really, bath towels are so yesterday.  Enter, the Super Hero Cape!  This is for my grandson, Super Calvin.

I followed this tutorial to make it. .  However, this power-tooling grammy must customize of course.  I ended up making it 13.5″ across the bottom vs. just 11″ and the length was 33.5″ vs. 31.

I found the emblem at Planet Applique and the fabric was a stretch twill with a beautiful drape I got at Hancock Fabrics. I like to do a preliminary stitch out just on a piece of stabilizer to see the size and shape.  Note the shape outline of the hoop?  It is stitching horizontally vs. vertically.  When hooped, the bottom point of the emblem is pointing toward where the hoop attaches to the machine arm – away from the machine body.
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Up front, I could not hoop properly until recently.  The words torqued, wonky, and AARRRRGH! come to mind when I attempted to hoop.  Hair pulling ensued and I’d give up on the project.  Then one day, I got an email from Eileen Roche from Designs in Machine Embroidery and it had an advertisement for the PAL. The Perfect Alignment Laser.  OMG.  Hooping Nirvana.  This bad boy provides a perfect 90 degree crosshair laser light on your hooping surface.  Slick!  I love technology.

You mark the design center of the garment with a crosshair.  I’m not going to tell you how to do this because it’s totally subjective depending on the item, but folding in half, and then quarters, and then ironing a cross-crease began the process for this project.  Because this is a lightweight fabric, I’m using a heavy duty regular stabilizer (it feels like sturdy interfacing) and Sulky Sticky+  for two layers of stabilizer.  I’ve found that when you have lightweight fabrics, using two layers of stabilizer prevents the puckers.  Puckers suck.  I’m certain there’s a better or more professional/efficient way of doing this but I don’t know what it is.

I use a pin to score the paper and pull off the top center of the sticky backing is up.  Then I mark on the stabilizer using the plastic guide thingy that came with my machine to mark the center, sides, top and bottom.


Then I mark a crosshair with a pencil using the dots I made.
Now PAL comes into play.  Press the button to turn it on and TA-DAA!  A laser crisscross!  I align it exactly over the pencil marks.  Seriously, how stinking cool is this?!

Then it’s just a matter of aligning the fabric in the hoop so that my ironed creases match up with the laser light.

That center dot is a placement sticker from Designs in Machine Embroidery.  Hubs gave me the Perfect Placement Kit for Christmas (because I asked for it and he’s a good Santa) and these markers are included as part of it.  You can buy these stickers separately for $20 but honestly, you can get the same result with those sticky dots from the dollar store and mark a 90 degree crosshair in the center.

Now you can’t see it in the image above but I almost TOTALLY screwed this up!  I originally aligned the cape with the neckline at the top of the hoop.  No, no.  Remember on the sample stitch out it was horizontal?  Thankfully, I remembered that just in time.  Total disaster averted.  Whew!  I also like to put a few pins to help the fabric stay in place on the sticky.

The next images are the machine doing its thing.  In machine applique, the first stitch is called a placement stitch and it outlines the amount of space your fabric needs to cover.

Then place the first fabric over that stitch line and the machine will tack it down over the first stitching line.  The only solid yellow I had was a little transparent so I used two layers.

When that’s done, remove the hoop and cut away the excess fabric around the design. I use those curved scissors so I don’t cut the under fabric or stitching line.

Then the machine will do a couple more rounds to tack it down real good and then do a satin stitch around the first fabric.  No worries about extra threads.  It gets a good haircut at the end.

Change thread colors and repeat with the other fabric.  I always cut jump threads (those long crossing threads) whenever I can in between the stitching cycles to prevent them from being anchored down where they don’t belong.

Then I stitched the top of the cape to the back RST (right sides together), turned, pressed, top stitched and added Velcro to the neck closure.  🙂

Yeah, I know, the cape clashes with Dolly’s skirt.  lol  Here’s the neck closure.  All done!  Yeah…Who’s the super hero now?  🙂  BANG!  POW!!  BOOM!!


Downton Abbey Tote

Confession, I’ve never seen the show.  I know, I know…I can’t believe it myself.  We don’t watch much PBS in this house (like none) and if I were to start watching, I’d have to buy the entire series, all 7 or 8 years of it, and go from start to finish.  I have hundreds of books written in this era and I swear I was there in a former life.  I snagged this kit a couple of years ago from the Fat Quarter Shop and it’s been waiting patiently for me to get with the program.

I used the Pink Sands Beach Designs Tuscany  pattern that came in the kit and it was SO easy to follow.  I really like these patterns because inside, she has these great arrows that point to which fabric is what.  I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve used patterns where I was like “Is this fabric 2 or 3?” and “Where the heck does this go?”  Not a problem with these patterns.

This tote has a lots of inner pockets and if I had to do it over again, I’d of skipped a couple of seams that divide the pockets to double the pocket space by making two into one larger spot.  But otherwise, this tote is great.

I fussy cut the fabric as best I could to make sure the Downton Abbey was center in the outside accent piece and the directional print was right-side up for the lining.

I love that these patterns use a really stiff bottom so they don’t flop over or sag.  And I’m a real stickler for side seams that match.  Nothing screams “home made” more than mismatched side seams.

I’ve got the Riveria Pink Sands Beach Designs pattern with a zipper top that I’m going to use for my next tote.  I scooped up this adorable Loralie panel on a recent shop hop and it’s demanding to be shown off.  Can’t wait!  What are your favorite patterns and do you have a recent favorite tote you’ve done?  I’d love to see.  🙂



Cara Maternity Top for G-baby #3!

OK, so the top is really for baby’s mama but… another excuse to sew!  Yay!  Congrats to my wonderful son and beautiful daughter-in-law.  And to the big brother and sister already here. 🙂   It sure looks like big brother is about to pinch baby sister.  Boys!
Family 2015

Grandbaby #3 is due in Oct. Right about the time they told me, a blogger I follow up in Austin, Texas Sewnhenge, had this fabulous post about a maternity dress she made using Megan Neilsen’s Cara top. I shared it with my DIL and she said she’d love some new maternity tops.

On my first attempt above, I followed the pattern exactly and got it in the mail right away to her for a fit check. Other than asking that it be a little longer in the back, she loved it. She does have a very long torso so I added another 1.5” in length. That might sound like a lot but she likes long tops and has the lean figure to carry them off and have them be super cute.

The 2nd and 3rd editions were made from a stretch t-shirt knit that was slightly stretchier than the first one. The fabric is pretty thick so nothing shows through. I pre-washed all the material and sewed them with a ball point needle and polyester thread. I got the fabric for all these tops at Hancock Fabric. Did you hear they are going out of business? So sad.

The only thing I did a little differently than the pattern directed was to add French seams on the shoulders and interfaced the neckline with strips of stretch iron-on interfacing to prevent any distortions over time.

I was happy to make these because I needed more time on my coverstitch machine.  Here is the inside of the sleeve.  Perfecto!  Factory dude.

WP_20160327_15_29_12_Pro I put the yellow one together this weekend while we were at the coast.  I still need to complete the cover hems on the sleeves and bottom and serge the inner neckline in this photo.  Look at that neckline…really.  OMG.  Heavy steam hides a multitude of sins!  lol

I’m extremely pleased with how the neckline came out on the yellow and blue editions. They are absolutely perfect with no ripples or gaps. DIL had asked for short sleeves and I did that for the last two. However, I’m glad I made the 1st one with ¾ sleeves. It’s still pretty cool up in Colorado where they live and with the baby due in Oct, it will be cool again before she knows it.

This is my first knit sewing project that I’m completely happy with. The pattern was easy to follow and went together so painlessly. I can finish one in about 2 hours from cutting to hemming.  I really have to admit…these are so much cuter than the hatching jackets I used to wear.  If you have a new baby in your future, I highly encourage you to try this pattern.