Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Tutorial: How To Make A Lined Bodice

This is the first of several tutorials on how to embellish a simple dress pattern.  In these tutorials, I will be using the Good Deeds Dress by Elysium.  The Good Deeds Dress was designed specifically for charity sewing and made to be quick and easy to sew.  One of the nice things about this pattern is it is easy to embellish and create new looks with just a few extra steps.  This tutorial will show you how to line the bodice instead of using bias tape.  In other words, you will will be using two layers of fabric and then turning and topstitching with no exposed seams.  There are a few different ways to make a lined bodice. This is a simplified version that should not take very long and fairly easy to complete.

The first step is to print and cut out your pattern in the size you intend to sew. Lay your pattern down on the fabric you will be using for the outside of the bodice.  With a marking pen or pencil, add seam allowance.  In my example I am using 1/4 an inch. You do not need to add seam allowance to the sides of the bodice.

Mark your seam allowance around the pattern pieces.
Draw the added seam allowance around the pattern pieces.

Once you have drawn your seam allowance, cut your pattern pieces along the new line. Take your cut pieces from the outer fabric and lay them on the inside fabric and trace and cut around them.

* In the picture below, the fabric already had a seam sewn in it on the right side.  I was repurposing it from another project that did not go so well.  I moved the bodice over to avoid the seam.  At this point however, you are tracing the bodice that you added the seam allowance to, so you do not need to add any more when cutting your second set of bodice pieces.

Use the newly cut outside pieces to trace and cut the inside fabric.

Once you have the outside and inside pieces cut, sew the shoulder seams together for each set per the original instructions.  Press the seams.  You should have two sets of the bodice (3 pieces each) sewn together at the shoulder seams.  Place the outside and inside pieces with right sides together and pin along the neckline and curve of the arm openings. Pin as much as needed to account for the curves, also know as "easing" the fabrics together.  Sew where you have pinned making sure to sew with the added seam allowance. 

TIP: to line up the shoulder seams, pin right on the seams of the outer and inner pieces to line them up and keep together while sewing.

This is also the time to add your sewing label or size tag.  If you are using a flat, sew on label, the inside fabric along the back of the neckline is a common place to add a tag.  Most people choose to use a tight zig-zag stitch to keep the edges from being scratchy.  In this example, I added a foldover satin label placed between the two layers along the neckline.  If using a foldover label, make sure the printed side is facing the outside fabric piece.

Sew the inner and outer pieces, right sides together along the neckline and arm openings.  Make sure you use the same amount of seam allowance that you added to the pattern.

After sewing the inside and outside pieces at the neckline and arm openings, clip the curves carefully to avoid nicking the seam.  Pinking shears are great for this purpose.  Press the seams flat with an iron.

Clip along the curves of the seams careful not to cut the thread.

Turn the bodice right side out and again press with an iron.  Then topstitch along the neckline and arm openings.

Once the bodice is turned right side out, press with an iron and topstitch.

The lined bodice is now complete.  Line your sides up and stitch together.  Proceed with adding the skirt per the original pattern instructions.

Topstitch then sew the side pieces, right sides together.

Completed dress with a lined bodice.

Thank you for reading. I hope this tutorial was helpful.   There will be more tutorials on embellishing a dress pattern in the near future so stay tuned!  In the meantime, check out Elysium on Etsy for more great patterns.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

And The Winners Are....

Thank you to everyone who entered my giveaway and participated in the Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day event.  I had a lot of fun reading new blogs and the comments on my giveaway post. 

The winner for prize package #1 is: ♥Duff (comment made on May 23, 2012 7:52 PM)

The winner for prize package #2 is Beth (comment made on May 23, 2012 8:10 AM)

The winners have been sent an email and have 48 hours to claim their prize.  Thank you again to everyone who participated.  Check in from time to time for new tutorials and new giveaways. (hint, hint)

Monday, May 21, 2012

It's A Giveaway!

The Giveaway is now Closed. Thank you! 
Winners will be announced Saturday morning.

It's been a long week and I have been up to my eyeballs counting new inventory of sewing labels that arrived last week.  Back in 2008 with the help of some of my online friends, I started designing sewing labels for the home sewist because the only ones I could find were less than cute or stylish at the fabric stores.  I wanted to have a wide selection of stylish and universal labels to add to my sewing projects, so why not just do it myself.  And so that is what I did and designing labels slowly turned into a business.  (I ran out of storage space.) Four years later, I'm still putting my designs on labels to share with the creative crafters out there in addition to my other artistic pursuits. 

Since I recently completed inventory on new designs, I thought I would try something different and do a giveaway on my blog. 

There are two prize packages comprised of two different groups of 25 labels.  Each group has 5 different designs of sewing labels. There is a mix of woven, flat and fold over labels as well as satin printed fold over labels.  There will be two separate giveaways consisting of 50 labels total in each drawing.  I have divided the labels into four "collections" with a different theme and designs in each group.  Click on the photos for a closer view.  Instructions are below on how to enter the giveaway.  I would love for you to follow this blog but it's not required.  I have several new tutorials in mind to share soon, so check back often.

The first two collections for Prize Package 1 :

"Hip Collection" Consists of 25 labels, five of each design.  All are woven labels.  The heart is a fold over style with a design on each side.
"Patterns Collection". Consists of 25 labels, five of each design.  Four out of the five are woven labels. The chevron labels on the top right are satin fold over.
The following two collections are for Prize Package 2:

The "Critters" Collection. Set of 25 total, five of each design. Twenty are flat, woven, sew on labels and five are satin printed fold over labels, (the bird).
"The Nature and Blooms Set"  Consists of 25 labels, five of each design. All are woven labels, the mushroom is a fold over style with a design on each side.
Side note: It is perfect for sewing into the seam of a messenger or tote style bag. 

 To participate,  Use the rafflecopter widget below to enter  leave a comment in the comment section telling me which collection you like the best and what you would use the labels on.

*One extra note - These labels have already been manufactured and cannot be altered in any way.  I can create a custom design for the purpose of being made into a clothing label, but I cannot make the actual label itself nor facilitate the making of the label.

I will be selecting TWO winners.  This giveaway will end on Friday, May 25th, 2012 at 5PM PDT.  Those outside of the USA are welcome to participate. I seem to have made almost every mistake possible yesterday when I posted this on the Sew Mama Sew site. I listed it under domestic shipping only but I will ship international.  I will announce the winners on Saturday, May 26th.

** This widget doesn't work with my blog format. Of course I find this out AFTER I set it up. I'm sorry.  Go ahead and leave a reply in the comment section. Everyone who has entered with the rafflecopter so far will still be counted. I'm going to shut it down and let you use the comments section.

a'>">a Rafflecopter giveaway

This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook, Blogger or any other groups or identities.
  • You must be 18 to enter.
  • VOID where prohibited.
  • You must leave a contact email if you reply to the post as a "no-reply", otherwise if selected, you will automatically be passed over and a new winner will need to be selected. 
  • If the winner does not claim their prize within 48 hours of being contacted, a new winner will be selected.
  • The prize package will be shipped within two business days once winners have claimed their prize. 
  • Once the winning item is mailed, it is out of my hands as far as liability and I cannot be held responsible for the item being lost or damaged. 
  • By participating in this contest, you release the host (Night Owl's Menagerie) from any type of liability.
Thank you for stopping by and thank you Sew Mama Sew. I'm looking forward to reading and discovering some great blogs this week.
Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Good Deeds Dress - A Gift To You To Give

I apologize for not updating this post.  I had so many problems with the internet and more that I did not update this post.  I hope I can be forgiven or at least given a pass for now.
Please go to Elysium Patterns to download this pattern. Please use this for charity or personal use.  Thank you.

During the month of April, our friend Kristy at Hopeful Threads ran a Dress A Girl project where she challenged readers to make at least 100 dresses by the end of the month.  This was a fantastic project that resulted in over 300 dresses donated to the Dress A Girl Around The World organization.  Kristy really rocked that project and inspired me to start making dresses for little girls in need thousands of miles away. 

I started looking for a dress pattern that would be not only fast and easy to sew but did not require much fabric.  Confession time. I have a slight, well, okay a big fabric stash that consists of one yard and under fabrics.  This always poses a problem when I need to sew larger items and I end up going to the fabric store and buying more fabric for that project and maybe just a bit more because it's pretty.  Sound familiar?  Another confession.  I do not like the pillowcase dress. Feel free to throw tomatoes, it just doesn't appeal to me at all. I wanted to sew some sturdy, modest but cute dresses that would not require a lot of fabric and I didn't want to mess with buttons, snaps, elastic, drawstrings or zippers.  My long list was starting to sound like John Cusack's big job monologue in Say Anything. But I digress.

I was being selective and looking for the perfect dress which I was not having any luck with.  What does one do when they are being picky and nonproductive? They whine to their talented pattern making friend of course.  My friend Carisa of Elysium did not hesitate to help me draft a pattern for charity.  She took my drawing of what I had to have in a dress and turned it into an adorable, fast to sew and modest dress called, The Good Deeds Dress Pattern.  The pattern takes about one hour to make.  It doesn't require much fabric and has no snaps, elastic, buttons, zippers or any type of fasteners.  The only requirement is bias tape, thread and fabric.  It's quick and easy.

We didn't quite make the April Dress A Girl project deadline, but the dress is available now to download.  The link to the pdf is here on my blog but make sure you check out Carisa's blog for updates and to read her side of the story on how we came up with the dress.

Also in the weeks to come, please check back here and on Carisa's blog to see tutorials on how to embellish the Good Deeds Dress Pattern with pockets, ruffles and other cute additions. There are a lot of ways to fancy it up and make it unique. Stay tuned for those tutorials.

Carisa's usual policy is to welcome individuals to sew and sell garments made from Elysium patterns. However, this pattern is geared towards charity and goodwill sewing and as such she kindly asks that garments made with this particular pattern not be sold for profit. Feel free to make a dress for your daughter, grandchild or next door neighbor, but please be ethical and keep this pattern for personal use only. Also, please note that this pattern is the intellectual property of Elysium and sale or reproduction of the pattern itself is prohibited. And last, if you know someone who would like to download the pattern, please be kind send them a link to us and not the pattern itself.

We would love to see the dresses you create.  You are welcome to post pictures in the Elysium Patterns flickr pool

I hope that you will feel inspired to make dresses for Dress A Girl Around The World or a similar organization.  If you have seen the pleased look on your own child when you make an outfit for them, imagine how a child who's never owned something new would feel to be handed a pretty dress made just for them that they can keep. 

The Good Deeds Dress Pattern

Happy Sewing!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

A springtime applique

It is finally spring. I am grateful for the warm sun and longer days.  I am enjoying the smell of the iris blooms and the sight of all the blossoms in the garden.

It is just about time to start making summer skirts and dresses.  I have an applique for you in two sizes.  You can embellish with ribbons, hand embroidery and fabric.  Use your imagination. I would love to see what you come up with.

Here is an example made by my friend Stephanie.  She is talented in hand embroidery in addition to being extremely creative.

Isn't it cute?

Here is my version. Try not to laugh. I wanted to show how it can look with ribbons.  For those like me who are not good at hand embroidery, here's a simple way to add a little color and flair.  

Click Here for the PDF that you can print and use as a pattern.  You can use this on whatever you wish, but please be respectful of the designer and don't share the graphics or the PDF.  If someone wants to use the design, please direct them to this site to download it. Thank you and enjoy. 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Printable Warm and Fuzzy Notes

I sometimes get caught up in the craziness of rushing the kids to school, making sure everyone is fed, dressed and alive.  I forget to slow down and remember what is important. My family and my friends complete me. For that I am grateful. I forget so often to stop and make sure they know that they make a difference in my life. 

I made these little cards to be printed off on card stock or regular paper.  They are small enough to slip into a pocket, lunch bag or drawer.  A nice surprise to discover and a reminder of what they mean to you.  The first page is in color and the second one is in black and white. There are three that are blank to fill in - perhaps to write a quick, encouraging note to the frazzled mom at the grocery store and slip into her bag.  You are welcome to print these off and use them but please do not share the PDF or the graphics. You can direct anyone who would like to use them to this site to download them.  Click here to download. Thank you and enjoy.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

How To Use An Unmounted Rubber Stamp On Fabric

How To Use Unmounted Rubber Stamps On Fabric

For years I have wanted to use a "handmade by" stamp on all my craft projects and not be limited by sew on labels.  I recently had my artwork made into deep etch rubber stamp sets that have clothing sizes and designs for stamping fabric or other craft mediums with a "handmade by" tag.   I chose to go with the unmounted rubber stamp sheets so that they could be more versatile and easier to convert to the crafter's needs.   I am also lazy and it took me a long time to get around to mounting the stamps onto wooden handles.   So in case anyone out there is like me and has unmounted stamps they want to use immediately, I wrote a quick and easy tutorial on how to use unmounted stamps on fabric. 

I would like to note that I am not a stamping expert and I cannot guarantee excellent results by using this tutorial.  This is for those who own unmounted rubber stamps and have not had the opportunity to mount them but want to start using them right away. Mounting your stamps does help regulate your results and it is much easier to use.  But you don't have to have them mounted in order to use them.

Let's get started.

Step 1 - Place cut out rubber stamp design gently onto ink pad. Softly press down on all areas of the stamp design. Then grasp the sides of the stamp with a straight upward movement and remove from the ink pad.  Check to make sure the ink has covered the outline of the stamp.  Then, still holding the sides of the stamp, lay it down gently onto the fabric and area you want stamped. Try not to drop, bounce or rock the stamp back and forth.

Step 3  -  Take the lid of your stamp pad and turn it so the edges are facing up.  Center it over the stamp and press down evenly on the lid .  Do not rock it back and forth or press too hard.  Make sure it's a nice even press.  

Step 4 -  Lift the lid off of the stamp and then gently grasp the sides of the stamp and raise it straight up and off of the fabric.

A medium weave cotton fabric stamped with pigment ink.

  Let the ink dry for at least 8 to 10 hours.  The ink then needs to be heat set in order to stay on the garment and not be washed out the first time it's laundered.  If you are not happy with the stamp placement then you can wash the garment right after stamping to remove the ink.  Heat set the ink by placing a piece of smooth fabric like a pillowcase over the stamped area and then iron over the fabric and stamped area.  Use the hottest setting on your iron and no steam.  Move the iron slowly over the area for at least 2 to 3 minutes for a good set.  Wait a day or longer before washing the garment.   Pigment ink or an ink specifically for fabric can be used on smooth, tight weave fabric.  The ink will take longer to fade if used on a synthetic material verses cotton or all natural fibers.  If the fabric is rough or fuzzy, the stamp will not be as sharp and clean looking.  If you are stamping on wood, ceramics or glass, you will need to use permanent or an brand of ink like Fabrico (VersaCraft) that is recommended for that type of surface.

It's that easy to get started with your unmounted stamps.  When you are ready to add mounts to your stamps, there are many resources on the Internet for either wood or acrylic block mounts.  Wooden mounts are usually attached permanently where acrylic blocks can be used with a type of adhesive mounting foam that sticks to the acrylic with static cling, allowing the stamp to be removable.  Until then, you can still stamp your handmade creations with ease.

Have fun stamping!

To view Night Owl's Menagerie's orginal art handmade stamps:


About Me

Night Owl's Menagerie
View my complete profile