Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Beginner's Essential Sewing Kit!

People often ask which sewing materials they should keep around, so we decided to blog a list of things we love to use when sewing! Here are our recommendations for the essential sewer's kit! (Great for all sewers, but super helpful for beginners especially)

A Beginner's Essential Sewing Kit Materials and Tools:
  • Fabric Shears: Pick one with a long, sharp blade and be sure to never use them on paper!
  • Quilting Ruler: Having both sizes is really handy but just one is good to start with.
  • Mini Scissors: Really great to keep around when sewing to snip off loose threads, cutting thread, snipping notch marks. Highly recommended. (We own several pairs of these!)
  • Tailors Chalk: Available in a variety of colours, pick some that will be easy to see against the fabrics that you're using.
  • Pins: Essential for keeping your fabric together when sewing or cutting.
  • Handsewing Needle: Very helpful for quick, minor alterations. Essential for sewing buttons. Great to keep around for other small projects and detail work.
  • Stitch Ripper: Removes any sewing mistakes quickly, perfect for beginners.
  • Measuring Tape: Works great for measuring larger projects and body measurements.
  • Thread: Black and white thread are good basic colours to have. Also keep another spool that would match with most fabrics you use or just one of your favourite colours. (We like dark blues, but greys are also easy to match)

These materials can all be found at your local fabric store. As well, if you sign up for a class at SWFDS, you'll also get this kit in a cute storage pouch! (thread and shears not included) 
Check it out here. Beginner, intermediate, and advanced classes available.

Hope this helps and happy sewing!
FashionDIY Artist signing out :)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

[DIY Tutorial] Upcycled T-Shirt Stash Bag

Here's our simple tutorial on how to "upcycle" an old t-shirt into a stash bag!
We've stuffed ours with extra thread spools!

Materials needed:
Sewing machine
Serger (optional)

Old t-shirt
Ribbon or drawstring
Fabric Shears
Medium/Large Safety Pin
Iron (not pictured)

1. Lay t-shirt flat on table, measure and chalk out a rectangular box 10" wide x 13" tall.

2. Pin around the edges (to keep the back and front of the t-shirt together) and cut the rectangle out.

3. Place good sides together and chalk out 1/2" seam allowance from the left, bottom, and right sides. Leave a 2" space at the top on the right side. (This is where the drawstring goes so we dont want to sew it closed!)

4. Pin pieces together and sew on the chalked line. Make sure the good sides are together.

*IMPORTANT: To keep the corners sturdier from however much weight you keep in your stash bag, change the stitch length when sewing the corners. About one inch away from the corner, change the stitch length to 1.5. When you reach the corner, pivot the fabric with needle in, continue sewing at 1.5 for another inch then change the stitch length back to 2.5. Do this to both bottom corners.
Click on photo to enlarge
5. After sewing the sides and bottom, iron the side seams at the top flat.

6. Mark 1" from the top on the front and back of the good sides.

7. Fold in the top at the chalk line and iron flat all around.

8. Pin the 1" part down and sew around the bag at around 5/8". We are creating the casing for the drawstring.

9. After sewing all around, attach the safety pin to one end of your ribbon/drawstring and put it through the top casing that we have just created. Feed the safety pin through until it comes out the other end.

10. Pull the two ends together, knot them and you're done!

Hope you enjoyed that tutorial and enjoy your new upcycled stash bag!
Let us know what you put in yours, we're storing thread spools in ours :D
Comments and questions are welcome too.

Till next time,
Happy Sewing!

FashionDIY Artist

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

[DIY Tutorial] Upcycled Frayed Jean Shortshorts

In this tutorial, you'll learn how to create your own pair of jean shortshorts the easy and inexpensive way! Recycle those jeans you dont wear anymore and turn them into a cute pair of frayed summer shorts!

Materials needed:
Sewing Machine
Pair of old jeans
Fabric shears

For distressing: (optional)
Butter knife


1.Lay the jeans flat. Measure 9" from the waistband and chalk it. Measure 3" from the crotch. (Use your own measurements depending on how long you want the shorts, but make sure both sides are the same!)

2. Chalk a line connecting the two chalk markings. It's not necessary to do it on the back.

3. Make sure the jeans are flat and cut. No need to be neat at all, messier edges work better for fraying.

4. Start fraying! Use your fingers to pull out horizontal threads from the raw edges. Don't be too gentle or you wont be able to get the threads out. Throw them in the dryer to fray them even more!

5. Once frayed to your liking, sew a straight line around to prevent further fraying. Sew where the highest part of the fraying stops, (ours was about 1.5" from the edge)

6. You're done! If you want to distress your new shortshorts, grab some sandpaper and other creative tools like knives, scissors and experiment! Tip: Try sponging a small amount of bleach lightly on the fabric to create a worn out look.

To get this distressed look, grab some sandpaper and press and rub it quickly, left to right until the fabric starts shredding. 
Enjoy your new frayed shorts and keep updated for our next tutorial!
Till next time, happy sewing! :)

- FashionDIY Artist

Saturday, August 6, 2011

[How To] Pick Thread Colour for a Sewing Project

Important steps to know:

  • At the fabric store, get your fabric cut first and then pick your thread.
  • Pull a bit of the thread out the from the spool and lay it on your fabric so you can see how it will look it.
  • For solid fabrics: pick a thread colour that either matches it exactly or one shade darker. *Darker shades of thread blends easily to match your fabric*
Thread colour matches fabric exactly. Thanks to Davie & Chiyo for letting us use their clutch as an example! Check them out here!
  • For printed/patterned fabrics: pick a thread that either matches the base colour or one of the darker shades in the print.

We chose dark grey thread to match with the darkest shade in the print.

Did you see our cute new promo cards peeking out in the pictures?
We've been working on lots of beautification changes and little upgrades so keep updated!
Be sure to check back next week for an upcoming tutorial!

Until then, this is your FashionDIY Artist signing off~
Happy Sewing :)