Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Sewing Tips Compilation #1

If you haven't noticed, we've been posting daily sewing tips on Twitter, but we've decided to compile them all together in a blog post every few weeks or so. Some of them may be common sense, but just take a refresher and you'll be able to prevent yourself from any accidents and end up with a great project! *Pics will be added along the way*

[Sewing Tip 1] Press your seam open after sewing for a polished look. Less homemade, looks more professional.

[Sewing Tip 2] When sewing a square project or a corner, trim off a triangle on your seam allowance 1/8" away from sewn corner. This prevents bulkage when flipping project inside out. *PS- This example is from our reference board in studio, which also includes examples of stitches, hemming, pockets and other sewing techniques!

[Sewing Tip 3] When attaching fusible interfacing always use a fabric guard in between iron and interfacing to prevent glue from sticking to iron.

[Sewing Tip 4] Change your sewing machine needle after 2 major projects.

[Sewing Tip 5] This might be common sense but only use fabric scissors for fabric, never paper!

[Sewing Tip 6] No empty bobbins? Wrap a new thread color over top of a half full bobbin.

[Sewing Tip 7] Test your thread tension using a scrap of your project fabric before sewing your project.

[Sewing Tip 8] Purchase a pair on thread clippers like these. Easier to trim threads then big scissors. Very handy!

[Sewing Tip 9] To find your natural waistline measurement, bend to the side and take your measurement where it hinges.

[Sewing Tip 10] When hand sewing silk use a thinner guage needle so needle can glide through fabric easily and leaves smaller, less noticeable holes.

[Sewing Tip 11] Dont rush sewing during the last steps of your project. That's when the most mistakes happen.

[Sewing Tip 12] Trim off the hanging threads after sewing a seam. This ensures no threads will be pulled into machine later when sewing.

[Sewing Tip 13] Invest in a magnetic pins holder. Easier to grab and store pins! Buy from Dressew, it's cheap.

[Sewing Tip 14] If you sew a lot like us, ensure you clean out any fuzz & threads from around your bobbin area. Better quality stitches.

[Sewing Tip 15] Backstitching is used to re-enforce a seam. Only do 3-4 stitches, anymore will just add unneccessary bulk.

[Sewing Tip 16] Keep a cover on you sewing machines while not in use. Decreases the amount of fuzz/dust that can accumulate.

[Sewing Tip 17] When pressing a garment press all seam allowances towards the back or down.

[Sewing Tip 18] No serger? Use a zig zag stitch close to the seam allowance raw edge instead. Or come and use ours :)

[Sewing Tip 19] When threading your machine ensure presser foot is up. This ensures thread sits properly in tension areas.

[Sewing Tip 20] Pre-wash fabric prior to sewing. If you forget, then wash in cold water and hang to dry to maintain original shape.

[Sewing Tip 21] Avoid lots of pins when sewing with silk, decreases the amount of holes. Or just pin in the seam allowance area.

[Sewing Tip 22] Prior to sewing a hem, press it in, so that the hem lays flat while sewing. Make sewing easy!

[Sewing Tip 23] Need to decrease the height /width of a garment? Do it from the middle and re-curve outer seams. Never from the outsides.

[Sewing Tip 24] Keep food and drinks away from machines and irons. Who wants sandwich crumbs melted into their project??

Follow us on Twitter for more daily sewing tips!
Check back soon for another compilation with more pics!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

[DIY Tutorial] Comfy Sweater

In this tutorial, we'll be teaching you how to sew your very own sweater!
We'll be using a different technique this time with very few measurements and no patterns.
It's a bit longer than usual but quite simple and you'll love telling people you made your own sweater!
Personalize it by changing the length, the neckline or even adding a design on the front :)

Our very own Elmo sweater!

Materials needed:

Serger (this entire project was made with a serger, but if you dont have one, use a sewing machine on a zigzag stitch)
Sewing machine (optional)
Iron and ironing board (not pictured)

1m of jersey stretch fabric; thick or thin is up to you
0.2m of ribbing (if you can't find ribbing to match your fabric colour, the scraps from your fabric will work fine; we made our ribbing from scraps)
A sweater you already own (with a shape and size that you really like)
Quilting ruler
Fabric shears
Mini Snippers

These instructions are detailed, so please read carefully, click to enlarge pictures if necessary and read through before cutting anything to avoid mistakes! :)

1. This diagram will show you where to fold your fabric and trace out the sweater. Click to enlarge! Please excuse the quick sketch of the sweaters, they are not to scale. It should give you an idea of how to place your sweater on the fold and where to chalk it. It'll ensure that you have enough fabric for your sweater and a lot of extra scraps too. (Black: good side of fabric, White: bad side of fabric)

2. Lay your fabric flat on the table. Take your sweater, fold it in half with the front facing you, matching the shoulder and side seams. Fold your fabric, bad side up, and lay the sweater on top with the folds right on top of each other.

3. Using chalk, trace around the folded sweater, pulling the sleeve over so you can trace the edge. Hold the waistband ribbing and neckline ribbing down so you can trace around them as well.

4. Repeat steps 1 & 2 with the back of the sweater. *If you are a bit confused as to where to fold and cut, please refer back to Step 1.

5. Cut both pieces out and you should have something looking like this.

6. Using the scraps, Cut two pieces that are more than double the size of your sleeve. Fold each in half, and put one aside for now. Taking your sleeve of your sweater, lay it flat making sure that the folded sleeve and folded fabric are right on top of each other. Trace around it like the previous steps, holding the wrist ribbing and folding the rest of the sweater over so you can just trace the sleeve.

7. Cut the sleeve out and keep it folded. Take the other scrap previously set aside and fold it in half. Place the fold of the sleeve you just cut, right on the of the folded fabric. Pin the two pieces together. This is to ensure that the sleeves are exactly the same.*It's difficult to see the second sleeve in the picture, but the white outline is where it should be*

8. Cut the second sleeve out and you should have two sleeves like this. (These are still folded but you can unfold them) Set these sleeves aside for now.

9. Lay the two sweater pieces flat on top of each other, good sides together. Pin them together at both shoulders.

10. Serge the shoulder seams, making sure the pieces are good sides together. (*If you dont have a serger, use a sewing machine on the zigzag stitch. Keep it on that stitch for the rest of the project)
After serging, the sweater pieces should be attached like this.

11. Lay it with the bad side up. Turn it 90 degrees until one of the serged seams is facing you. Take one of the sleeves, open it with the bad side up and place the edges together, the serged shoulder seam with the middle of the edge of the sleeve. Start pinning from the center. Pin both sleeves, good sides together, bad sides facing up. If the fabric is scrunched or wrinkly, dont worry, just make sure the edges are flat on top of each other. 

12. After serging both sleeves, the sweater should look like this. Now fold it in half like this and match the side seams together. Make it sure the bad side is facing up.

13. Match sleeve edges and side seams on each side and pin. Starting at the sleeve, serge all the way down to the end of the sleeve and continue down the side seam. Do this to both sides. (Make sure all the seams are lined up, especially at the armpit or else there will be a hole there!)

14. Flip it inside out and press seams with an iron. If you want an edgy sweater with raw edges, your sweater is done! To add cuffs, waistband and neckline, continue on :)

15. To make the ribbing, first measure around your hips or where you want the sweater to sit. Then take off an inch from that measurement. (Ours was 29") If the ribbing is very stretchy, use your discretion and take off a few inches. If you dont have ribbing, the extra fabric will work fine.

16. Taking the ribbing/extra fabric, measure a rectangle 4" wide by 29" (use your measurement here.)
If you like wider cuffs, measure 5" instead.

17. Cut the rectangle out, fold in half, good sides together, and pin the ends.

18. Serge the ends together and flip it inside out.

19. The ribbing should now be attached in a circle. Fold the raw edges together with good sides facing you.
Serge the raw edges together.

20. Slide the bottom edge of the sweater inside the ribbing so that the edge lines up with the serged edge of the ribbing. Good sides together! Make sure the seam of the ribbing matches with one of the sweater side seams.

21. Pin at the seam of the ribbing first then the find the middle of the ribbing and pin it to the other sweater side seam. The ribbing will be smaller than the sweater so you will need to stretch the ribbing, in order to pin around the entire sweater, matching the raw sweater edge to the serged ribbing edge. It should have a scrunched look.

22. Serge around the bottom edge, sewing the ribbing to the sweater. You will need to stretch the ribbing so that it is flat against the fabric when you serge them together. Remember, good sides together!

23. For the cuffs, you will be the repeating steps 17-22. This time, you will need two rectangles, 7" by 4". Fold them in half, good sides together, pin and serge the ends. Flip it inside out, match the raw edges together, good side facing you, and serge around the cuff.

24. Because the cuffs are in a circle, serge carefully and make sure you don't serge the cuff closed!

25. Attach them to the sleeves the same way as the waistband. Refer back to steps 20-22.

26. For the neckline, its just like the waistband and cuff ribbing, but this time the rectangle will be 2" wide. For the length, you will need to measure the neckline of the sweater. Ours was a wide neck so we used 28". Do the exact same steps from 17-22.

27. Press all the seams with an iron for a finished look.

28. You're finished! Congrats on making your very own sweater!

Thanks for reading through this detailed tutorial and hope you enjoyed it!
Add your own touch to your sweater by sewing on some designs or maybe changing the neckline or making it short sleeved? (We added Elmo's face to ours :D)
Show us how your sweater turned out!

Till next time, Happy sewing!
FashionDIY Artist signing out~

Saturday, September 3, 2011

[DIY Tutorial] Protective Storage Pouch for Everything and Anything!

For our latest tutorial, we'll be showing you how to make a simple padded pouch that you can use to store almost anything! Depending on your dimensions, you can put your laptop or phone in it, protect jewelry when travelling or even make it a snack bag! Read on to find out how to make these variations!

Materials Needed:
Sewing machine
Serger (optional but recommended)
Iron and iron board

0.3m to 0.5m of a solid colour AND a patterned cotton fabric (depends on the size of your pouch; we only needed about 0.2m) Coordinate your fabric for a really cute pouch.
0.2m of flattened stuffing, foam or thick felt material (not pictured)
Velcro (we used a strip about 2 inches long, but use a longer piece depending on your pouch)
Fabric shears
Quilting Ruler
Mini Snippers

(Click photos to enlarge)
1. We made ours based on the size of an iPad; to make the same size, lay your fabrics out flat, measure a rectangle 8.5" wide by 25" and mark it with chalk. (The dimensions depend on what size you want your pouch to be.)

*To make a pouch for an electronic device, take the measurement of the length, double it and add 6 inches.
Take the width, add the height measurement and add another inch.
For example: an iPad is 9.50" long, 7.31" wide and 0.34" deep.
The length of your rectangle will be (9.5 x 2) + 6 = 25 inches.
The width of the rectangle will be 7.31 + 0.34 + 1 = 8.65 inches (use 8.5 just to make things easier.)

2. Cut the same rectangle out from both fabrics.

3. Using the length and width measurement, take off about an inch from the width measurement, and cut out two pieces of stuffing. Our pieces were approx. 9.5" by 7". Set them aside for now.

4. Take the two pieces of fabric, pin them good sides together, and sew around three sides, backstitching at the beginning and end, leaving one width end open. (We serged ours, but that is totally up to you since the raw edges will all be hidden at the end.)

5. Flip it inside out and press the seams with an iron.

6. Take the two pieces of stuffing and slide them in one at a time all the way to the end. Make sure the pieces are snug but leave a small gap between them for the fold in the next step.

7. Good sides together, fold the padded and closed end up by your length dimension.
(The folded top piece will be 9.5" for our pouch.)

8. Pin the sides together and sew at 3/8" seam allowance. Backstitch at the beginnings and ends. (We used 1/8 seam allowance for ours so theres less bulk on the sides.)

9. Flip the pouch inside out and you'll find that the sides of the closure flap slightly folds in. Fold the sides of the flap down at 3/8" and pin. Sew those two sides down at 2/8". Remember to backstitch. (These stitches will show up on the front of the flap; sew carefully to ensure its a straight line!)

10. To close off the top of the opened flap, do the same as the previous step, fold at 3/8", pin and sew at 2/8".

At this point, your pouch should look like this. If you choose not to add a velcro closure, you're now finished!

11. To sew the velcro and hide the stitches too, sew the velcro on the other side of the flap. You can sew it in a rectangle, pivoting at the corners with the needle in, and backstitching over where you started.

Click to enlarge for further instructions
12. Flipping the pouch over again, fold the part of the flap with the velcro in, pin down the sides and sew on the same line that you made in Step 8. Backstitch. Again, sew carefully on top on the previous line as these stitches will show on the front of the flap.

13. To sew the other side of the velcro, fold the flap down, match where the other piece of velcro will stick and pin.

14. Sliding your pouch into your sewing machine, sew two lines on the velcro to hold it down. Backstitch at the beginning and ends to secure the velcro.

Tada! You just made a soft protective pouch that stores just about anything!

Hope this tutorial was easy enough to follow.
Drop us any questions or comments you have :)

Tips for Variations:
- Laptop/phone/electronic device case: Measure the length, width and height.
The dimensions of your rectangle will be ((Length x 2) + 6") by (Width + Height + 1").
- Use thicker stuffing to protect your device.
This is great for travelling with fragile items or even to protect your electronics better.
- Use a waterproof plastic for the inner fabric.
You can now use your pouch as a snack/lunch bag or even store liquid makeup and nail polishes!
- Add a longer piece of velcro.
This provides a sturdier closure for your pouch and you could even use it to store jewelry in travel.
- Place the bottom and side seams on top of each other and sew a perpendicular line across both corners.
Cut off the excess. This gives your pouch a larger base and a boxier/3D look.
*We'll post pics soon to show you how this is done.

Thanks for reading through this tutorial!
Until next week,

FashionDIY Artist signing out~

ps - We would LOVE to hear any of your tutorial requests! Leave 'em below or tweet us at @swfds!