Monday, August 8, 2011

A DIY apron

This apron is based on one I bought while in Japan several years ago. Here are the specs:

Main apron piece: 26" wide, 17" long
Apron band: 23" long, 3" wide
Ties: (x2) 24.5" long, 2" wide
Ruffle: 31" long, 2.5" wide
Pocket(s): 8" long, 6.5" wide

1. pocket(s)
Hem the top of each pocket with a 1" hem. So fold over 1/2" and iron, then fold that over on itself and iron again. Pin and sew a simple hem.

Fold over each side and the bottom 1/2" and iron.

Topstitch the pocket onto the main apron piece (MAP). Repeat if you are doing two pockets.

2. Ruffle
Pin and sew the ruffle piece to the MAP, gathering as you go, or building in pleats. Lay the ruffle piece RST to the MAP, lining up the end of the MAP with the ruffle.

If you build in pleats, start in the middle and work outward. Pleat towards the middle or away from the middle (not towards the left or towards the right).

To build in pleats, I pinned at the top and bottom of each pleat so it wouldn't fall out when I unpinned to sew.

Sew down the length of the ruffle/MAP, using a 5/8th seam allowance. Iron seam flat.

Sew a narrow hem around the sides of the MAP as well as the bottom of the ruffle.

3. Ties
Fold each tie RST in half and sew a running stitch down the length and up the width of one end.

Pull tie "inside out" to get it facing the right way. Iron down the seam.

4. Apron Band

Fold over all four sides of the apron band about a 1/2" and iron flat.
Fold in half lengthwise and lightly iron; unfold. You can kind of see the crease where I folded it in half.

5. Assembly
Place the apron tie inside the apron band, adjacent to the half-way crease. Place the MAP on top of the edge that is folded up. Pin, building in pleats or gathering along the way.

Fold apron band over and pin.

Sew down the side to anchor your tie, then sew along the the bottom edge of the apron band, keeping your pleats intact or gathering along the way. I placed my pleats about 4 inches from each side. Sew up the other side to anchor that tie. I put a pleat in my ties, but that is extra work that you only do if you really want to.

Enjoy your apron!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Monogram (Verse) Pillow

I decided to make a monogram pillow for a friend and because I can leave nothing easy, I thought I'd add a verse to the back. It kind of morphed into a bigger project than I originally planned. But it was still fun!

First pick out your materials!

I used: ½ yard of pink, ½ yard of white, small scrap of black, a 20” pillow form.

My direction was: Use white as the main pillowcase. The pink was an accent strip on the front of the pillow, and the black was the monogram. I also used pink on the back to frame the verse.

Cut your material.

I measured 22” of white fabric and cut 2 squares of that measurement. At first I was going to use the pink as the monogram, but changed my mind and decided to use as an accent strip, so I ended up sewing a rectangle of pink (8”x22”) to the white and cutting 8” of white off, so if you are planning to go this way from the beginning, just cut one square of white (22”x22”) and one rectangle of white (22”x 14”), along with the rectangle of your accent color (8”x22”).

Get your monogram ready.

I printed out the initial as big as possible, then traced it onto a cereal box and cut it out so I had a sturdy stencil for tracing onto my fabric. Remember to trace onto the wrong side of the fabric, but trace backwards so when you cut it out you will have it the right direction with no marks.

Next I printed out my verses in a reasonably large font—three verses took up almost the whole page. I traced the verses directly onto my white material for the back of the pillow. This step is optional. If this is for a baby, it would be cute to embroider the birth info (date, weight, length, etc.) on the back!) It took me about 4 days to embroider the entire 3 verses. Not too bad!

Put the pillow together.

*Optional step*

Because I printed my verse on the back pillowcase piece, I ended up sewing another piece of white to the back of that and embroidering the two pieces together, so the threads wouldn’t show through the thin white fabric. Then I had a smaller white rectangle showing through (sorry, I didn’t take a picture), so I decided to use the pink accent fabric to make a frame for the verse. I cut two strips of pink fabric 2”x14” and 2 strips 2”x8” (or so…measure the height and width of your embroidery and determine what size is good for you.)

Sew one longer string to one shorter strip at the corner. To do this, lay the short strip on top of the long strip lengthwise, right sides together. Flip the short strip up and to the side, making a triangle of material that is overlapping. This should make a corner. Sew down the line where the triangle overlaps. It’s kind of tricky. Sorry no pictures here either! L Continue to sew each short strip to long strip until you have one square.

I played around with my sewing machine to get the stitch I wanted which was a very tight zigzag. I used this stitch to attach my frame to the back pillowcase piece.

*Back to required steps*

Sew the accent piece to the front pillowcase piece, placing right sides together to make your seam. Iron the seam towards the darker piece of material. Pin your monogram where you want it to go and sew around it. You can see I did both of these steps in this picture.

Put the front pillowcase piece and the back pillowcase piece right sides together and pin around entire pillow, leaving space at the bottom to stuff your pillow into the case. Sew around edges, making sure to reinforce your start point and end point. (I had ended up cutting wrong so I had an extra inch of material at the bottom. It was easy to just cut right off!) I pinned from the beginning of the pink material on the bottom all the way around the pink to the top, continued pinning around the top and side of the white material and about three inches of white on the bottom, leaving the middle for inserting my pillow form.

Clip corners and turn inside out, using a dull object to get corners nicely turned (I use a knitting needle).

Insert pillow. *Use husband or anyone else nearby to wrestle pillow into case. J Fluff to get pillow to fill corners.

Now you have this nice huge pillow in your pillow case. And a hole in the bottom of your pillow case. This is what I did to sew up the bottom. Punch pillow way down, pin closed about two or three inches below the hole. Pin all the way across the hole. Now you can actually pin the hole closed.

Topstitch hole. (*Again, use husband or other handy person to help hold the pillow or lift sewing foot for this tricky part.) Take out all pins. Yay! A beautiful pillow!

graphic design challenge

Dana over at MADE issued a challenge to design a blog header for her. It was a lot of fun!