Monday, December 26, 2011

I mustache you to read this

Would you like to make a weighted mustache bookmark?  They are great for shaving your place. hehe.  I have been wanting a bookmark that will help weigh down the pages of some of my instructional books.  I couldn't find what I wanted and remembered a bookmark I had seen a long time ago that was shaped like the number eight.  Inspiration struck me and I decided a mustache shape would be much more fun.  Right?  

This is a quick tutorial which means no pattern, but I know you can draw at least half a mustache and that's really all you need to be able to do.  What you will need for this project is a non fraying, medium weight fabric.  I used a faux leather I found in the clearance section of my local fabric store.  Faux suede, vinyl, anything similar to that will work really well for this project.  You also need weights.  I used 1.5" washers I found at the hardware store for 20 cents each.  You don't want too big of a washer or you will have a ginormous bookmark. But you don't want small ones either. If you end up with smaller washers, then you can stack two on top of each other for a better weighted bookmark. I tried using the plastic beads that people use to stuff bean bags with. Those work for weight but you end up with a bumpy stache. Which isn't cool.

I would prefer this tutorial to be used for personal use only.  If you feel like sharing, I would appreciate a link back or credit to this site.  I am happy to link you back.  I don't mind if people want to make these for profit, I would just like some credit.  It did take me a full day to do this. :) 

List of items needed:

  • Medium weight, non fraying fabric like faux suede, pleather or vinyl.
  • 2 to 4 weights like metal washers found at the hardware store. Approximately 1.5" in size.
  • sewing machine and matching thread in bobbin
  • a pencil or marker
  • scissors
First, trace your pattern.  I used a piece of card stock, laid the washer down for a general size reference and then folded it in half and traced one half of the pattern.  Then I proceeded to cut the folded paper so I would have a full sized mustache pattern.

Make sure the washers will fit with a nice amount of room.  It's nice to have some room for them to slide around a bit which helps distribute the weight on pages that do not want to stay open.

Then cut out your pieces.  You will need two.  It's easier to fold the piece in half and cut. That way you can make sure the sides are even and it takes less time.

Then lay your two matching pieces together right sides facing out.  You will not be turning and topstitching.  Just stitching along the outside of the fabric.  If you do not own a sewing machine, hand sewing could certainly be an option.

Make sure you have matching thread in your bobbin, and start sewing the two pieces together starting at the bottom of the left curl of the stache.  I did not use pins because they leave holes in this type of fabric.  The pieces are small enough to keep under control when sewing, but if you are worried about them slipping, then you can use a touch of water based stick glue on the inside between the two pieces. Just make sure you do not put any where you will be stitching or you risk gumming up the needle.  Go slow and take your time. You want to make sure you catch both pieces in your stitching.

Once you have reached the other side of the mustache, you can slip one (or two if you are stacking two) washers in between the two pieces on the right side. (see diagram 1)

Do not pick up the needle.  Just slide the weights in between and push them toward the top of the curve so you will have plenty of room to sew.  Then continue sewing until you reach the middle of the bottom left curve. Stop your machine again and slide the other weight (or weights) in and push to the top of the curve to allow more room to sew.  (see diagram 2)

Then continue to where you started and backstitch.  You should have a cute mustache with weights inside.  Trim around stitching to even it all out. 

Here it is being used to weigh down a cookbook.  Also works great on textbooks and magazines. You can adjust the size and amount of weights for your needs. In the picture below, I cut a smaller one out and glued it to some stiff cardboard to use as a regular bookmark.  That one is on top, then the middle one has two small weights in it, and the bottom one has four.

Thank you! Happy sewing.

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Gaga Poinsettia pattern and tutorial

I designed this flower to go on a wreath I was making for the Holidays. About halfway through with sewing, I realized this was the biggest, flashiest fabric flower I had ever seen. To my surprise, people liked it. So I am sharing the pattern and giving instructions on how to make this flashy flower that I personally think Lady Gaga would love to wear as an accessory. This pattern and tutorial took a long time to put together. Please use for personal use only and if you share the pattern, share the link or give credit back please. I'd be happy to share your link as well. Thank you.

What you will need to make this lovely decoration.

Approximately a 1/2 a yard of fabric. If you plan on using several different fabrics for the petals, you will need approximately ¼ of a yard of each fabric.

Medium to heavyweight fusible interfacing. You can use sew in interfacing as well, but it is much easier with the fusible.

One large button. Any style will do, however I personally like the four hole button style for this pattern.

A sewing machine, scissors, straight pins, hand needle and matching thread. I recommend a embroidery needle which is larger and thicker. It will be easier to use through the layers of fabric.

A thimble. Yes, you need to search for that old sewing kit you received long ago and get that thimble out. There are quite a few layers of fabric and interfacing you will be hand sewing through and you will thank me. :)

wire, wire cutters and needle nose pliers. (optional) You can use floral wire that is available in most grocery/goods stores. You can also use jewelry wire. I used 20 gauge jewelry wire in my flowers.

The pattern. Which is HERE. You need to make 3 copies if you are using all three sizes.
Step 1: Cut out your pieces.
This is where you decide how many petals you want for each size. I used five for the largest size, then five for the medium, 4 for the small in this example. Feel free to experiment with different amounts. Just remember to cut 2 of fabric for each petal and one of interfacing.

Step 2: Iron on the interfacing.
If you are using fusible interfacing, now is the time to iron it on to your petal piece. Remember you are using one cut of interfacing for each petal.
Step 3 sew petals together
Alright, get crackalacking on sewing up all the petals. Put right sides together, pin, and sew from the bottom edge up to the point, pivot, and sew down the other side. Use a ¼ inch seam allowance. You will leave the bottom open for turning. Clip the top point, careful not to clip the stitches. This will make the point look nice on the outside once you turn it. I usually sew all the petals together first, then turn them. (see diagram 1)

Pardon me while I ninja spam my latest creation and product. (Psst, it's the stamp.) :)
Step 4. Turn and topstitch
Turn all the petals right side out. Tuck the raw edges at the bottom of the petal inside then iron. Next, topstitch close to the edge. I use a ¼ inch seam allowance. For the medium and small petals, you only need to stitch from bottom of left side up to the tip and then down to the bottom right. For the large petal, if you plan to use the wire, then you need to stitch a path for it, which is easy enough to do when topstitching. (see diagram 2) Start at the bottom middle and stitch one way up to about ½ inch from the tip of the petal, then down again to the bottom, leaving a ¼ to ½ inch space between stitches for the wire path.

TIP:  When topstitching your medium and small petals, to save time and thread, you can chainstitch on the machine.  As soon as you stitch the bottom of one petal, place another one under the needle with only a stitch or two in between.  Example in the diagram below.
Step 5. Insert the wire. (optional) Skip to step 6 if you are not using wire.
Once you have stitched a path for the wire to go, grab your wire pieces and small needlenose or similar pliers. You will use one cut of wire for each large petal. Each piece of wire needs to be approximately 13 inches long. It's okay if it's too long for now. Take one end and with your pliers, bend the wire into a loop and then wrap the end back around the wire so there won't be a sharp piece of wire sticking through your fabric. Then slip the wire into the stitched path you made. (see diagram 3) Bend the bottom part of the wire into a small loop. Do this for all of the large petals. Also make sure you use flat needle nose pliers. I used rounded because I couldn't find my other pair. Flat is much easier to use.

Step 6. Shape your petals.
For the Medium and Small petals, to make the petals have a nice curve shape to them, you need to pinch the bottom of the petals between your fingers and using needle and thread, hand stitch the two sides together to create a curved effect. (see diagram 4 and pictures below.)
to the left.
Back to the right.

And you have a bunny ear! Or a petal with a little bit of shape to it.
Step 7. Position and sew your petals together.
I hand sew this part. For the record, I have terrible hand sewing skills. (So no judging.)  But the beauty of this is the large button will cover up all those ugly stitches. So if you are hand sewing challenged like myself, no worries! Start with the large petals and spread them out the way you want them to look. You will most likely wnt to overlap these and sew through them to make the base nice and secure. Now take the wires that you loosely had looped into circles on the ends, and loop them all together, so the are attached. (see diagram 6) Sew each layer of petals together separately.

Step 8. Sew the button on.
This is when you will want to find a nice long movie to watch or maybe something you can do in the car (as a passenger) on a long road trip. Grab that thimble.  Now stack all three layers together and sew the button on the top, connecting all three layers. Make sure you get all layers and go through the wire loops to secure the flower. (see diagram 7) Once you have done that you have completed your Gaga flower.

Nice Job!

There is one extra part you can do to cover up the exposed wire on the back.

Proceed to diagrams and photos........

This is where I will repeat that I am not good at hand sewing. So proceed with no high expectations of Martha-like hand sewing.

Cut out a circle that is roughly 3 inches by 3 inches.  You can use felt or another type of fabric that will not fray and whip stitch or glue it on and be done. If you want to torture yourself... keep reading.

Cut out three 3" x 3" circles and then cut two of them slighly more than in half. Fold the straight edges to the wrong side of the fabric and machine stitch it like a hem.

Then lay the pieces right sides together.  The two half pieces will form a small sham opening for easy turning. (yes I went to extra steps to be lazy.)  Stitch together in a complete circle and trim extra seam allowance.

Turn it and then you can slip a wooden clothespin or a binder clip like I used for hanging your ginormous flower you made.  I machine stitched a little pocket for the metal handle to fit in and then hand stitched it to secure.
Then take your circle and handstitch it to the back to cover the exposed wire. The petals do look off on the back but that is from me arranging them to overlap to keep the petals secure.

Backview of the flower clipped in place.

These would be great as sunflowers or in patriotic colors for the summer.  You also could make them smaller by only using the medium and small sizes but maybe more petals to make it fuller. 

Thank you for reading. I hope if you do attempt one of these, you will share. Thank you!


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