Tuesday, September 20, 2016

September Tutorial Tuesday #3 - Knit Yoga Pencil Skirt

 ** If you would like to see an image on our blog in a larger format, just click on it to enlarge.

Hey there! It’s Melissa here from Made by Melli. I’m thrilled at the opportunity to guest post here at Whimsical Fabric! I am going to walk you through creating a knit fabric pencil skirt, custom fit to your body! I am using these beautifully soft Art Gallery knits that can be found  HERE and HERE . (Hint: Read all the way to the bottom of this tutorial for a special sale we have right now on knit fabrics!)

I don’t know about you, but even when I’m dressed up, I like to be comfortable! Most Sundays, I wear knit fabric maxi skirts with yoga waistbands. I feel like I am wearing my pajamas to church, and it’s wonderful! To dress that up just a notch, I decided that it would be great to have a knit fabric pencil skirt with a yoga style waistband. My body proportions are not your typical “hourglass” shape. I know that women come in many shapes, sizes, and heights! So I will show you how to customize your skirt to get just the right shape and length for your body!

Here is a list of what you will need to create your skirt!
  • 1-2 yards of knit fabric with at least 50% stretch and excellent recovery.
    These Art Gallery and Riley Blake knits
    are 95% cotton and 5% spandex, so they will work beautifully
  • Coordinating thread
  • Measuring tape
  • Fabric scissors & pins OR a rotary cutter and quilting ruler
  • Fabric marking pen
  • Ball point or stretch needle
  • Optional - Twin Stretch needle
  • Optional – wash away wonder tape for hemming
  • Optional – Wonder Clips

We will start by taking some measurements. I made this little diagram that you can print out to keep as a reference.
NOTE: Click on the image above to save as a PDF. When printing, choose Fit to Page and NOT Actual Size. This is opposite of most PDF patterns.
  1. First, you will measure around your natural waist. Mine is 41". (This will be a high waisted skirt) Subtract 4” from that to get Measurement A. (for me – 37")
  2. Next, you will measure around your belly, right around where your belly button is. Mine is 42". Subtract 2” from that measurement, and then divide that by 2. This will be Measurement B (for me – 20").
  3. Next, measure around your full hip, around the widest part of your bum. Mine is 44". Subtract 2” from that measurement, and then divide that by 2. This will be Measurement C. (for me – 21")
  4. Next, measure from your belly button down to your full hip. Try to get this measurement straight down. This will be Measurement D. (for me – 8.5")
  5. Next, measure from your full hip down to your knee, or wherever you would like your skirt to hit. This will be Measurement E. (for me – 16")
  6. Lastly, take your full hip measurement again and subtract 3”. Then divide that number by 2. This will be Measurement F. (for me – 20.5")
Now that you have all of these measurements written down, let’s get started! First we are going to cut our yoga waistband. You are going to cut your waistband 8” long by [Measurement A]. For my waistband, I cut it 8” long x 37" wide. You can either create a paper pattern piece using these measurements, or just use your rotary cutter and quilting ruler. If you’re using your rotary cutter but your ruler isn’t long enough, fold your fabric in half or fourths width-wise and then cut the length of your waistband as shown in the picture below.

Once your 8" length is cut, unfold your fabric once, so your waistband is now folded once width-wise. Since my waistband is folded in half, I took my waistband width measurement (37") and divided it by two, and cut at the 18.5" line. Now when I unfold the waistband, it is 8" long x 37" wide.

I am not going to create a paper pattern piece for my skirt front & back, but you can if you want to. I am just going to draw my pattern piece directly on the fabric using a fabric marking pen, and then cut it out. Make sure to test your fabric marking pen to make sure it will fully come out of your fabric.

First, we are going to fold our fabric RIGHT SIDES TOGETHER, width-wise (selvage to selvage). The front and back of our skirt will be identical, so this will make it easy to just sew up the side seams once we are done cutting! To mark the center of my skirt, I am first going to fold my fabric piece in half width-wise AGAIN, so it is now folded into quarters. Press the center seam. Unfold your fabric so it is again folded in half with right sides together.

Now I am going to mark a line at the top using Measurement B. Make sure the middle of your measurement (for me – 10”) is at the center crease you pressed.

Then go down the center crease, the length of Measurement D. (for me - 8.5") Mark this point on the center crease.

At that point, draw a straight line the width of Measurement C. Again, make sure the center point of Measurement C (for me – 10.5”) falls on the center crease.

Then go down the center crease from that point, the length of Measurement E. (for me - 16") Mark this point on your center crease.

At this point, draw a straight line across using the width of Measurement F. Again, make sure the center point of Measurement C (for me – 10.25”) falls on the center crease.

You now need to add your hem allowance below this line. Go straight down 1” and draw another horizontal line the same width as the line directly above.

Now all you need to do is draw a tapered line down each side to create your skirt side seams. We are now ready to cut!

I prefer to use my rotary cutter, but you could also use regular fabric scissors. If you are using a rotary cutter, throw a few pattern weights inside the edges before you start cutting to keep both layers of your fabric in place. If you are using scissors to cut, pin in a few spots inside the edges of your skirt pieces to keep your layers of fabric in place.

Once your skirt pieces are cut out, pin or Wonder Clip down the side seams.

I am going to sew my skirt on my serger, but you can use a regular sewing maching using a stretch stitch or a narrow zig zag stitch. Sew your side seams with a 1/4” seam allowance. Set your skirt aside for now.

Take your waistband piece, and fold it in half width-wise with right sides together.

Sew down the short side with a ¼” seam allowance to create a loop.

Now take your loop, and fold it in half lengthwise with WRONG sides together, enclosing the seam you created in the previous step.

This seam will now be the center back of your yoga waistband. Using the seam as the center back, mark your waistband in quarters using pins or Wonder Clips.
Using the side seams of your skirt, mark the top of your skirt in quarters. With your skirt RIGHT SIDE IN, and your waistband piece RIGHT SIDE OUT, place your waistband INSIDE the skirt (upside down) and align the raw edges.

Match up your quarter points, and stretch the waistband to fit. Sew the waistband on with a ¼” seam allowance. Make sure to only stretch the waistband as you sew, not the skirt.

Flip your waistband up and press.

All we have left to do is hem! Almost finished! At the bottom of your skirt, fold up the raw edge ½” and press well. You can use Wash Away Wonder Tape here to keep the hem in place while you sew, but keep in mind that your hem won’t stretch until you wash the Wonder Tape away!

Sew your hem with a zig-zag, stretch stitch, double stretch needle, or cover stitch machine and you are FINISHED!

Now you have a gorgeous and comfortable skirt custom made to fit your unique shape!

BONUS!! This week Whimsical Fabric has all of their knit fabrics 20% off! That's over 99 different prints from Riley Blake and Art Gallery Fabrics to choose from. Stock up today! The sale lasts through Friday, 9/23. And then do some self-care sewing this month. You deserve it. :)

Happy sewing!! 

Note: Links to products within this post are either links to our website or affiliate links.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

September Tutorial Tuesday #2 - Free Motion Applique Pillow

This month's Tutorial Tuesday is brought to you by Laura of Stitches by Laura.

** If you would like to see an image on our blog in a larger format, just click on it to enlarge.

I'm so excited to be sharing how I make pillow covers!

     • FMA Pattern by StitchART - (I used the Birthday Set) 
     3/4 yard Fabric Finders Chambray - (I used Grey)
     2 yards Jumbo 1.5" Riley Blake Ric-Rac - (I used White)
     1 Charm Pack
     1 Travel size pillow (14" x 20")
     Scrap of quilt batting approx. 20" x 28"
     Piece of other fabric for interlining approx. 20" x 28"
     Fusible Web (Amount varies.)
     Rotary cutter, ruler, and mat
     Safety pins

1. First, cut your chambray (background fabric) 14" x 20."  Yes, this is the size of the pillow, but we'll trim it down just a little after the free motion applique.

2. YOU are in charge of the appliques - I styled mine after my nephew's children, changing the scale as needed for the different ages. I also flipped the smallest one halfway through tracing so he would be holding both of his sisters' hands. Follow the directions in the pattern or use methods you are already familiar with for creating your masterpiece.

3. After you have your scene created, trim about 2" off each side so that it now measures 10" x 16".

4. Next, we are going to sew on the ric-rac. As shown in the pictures below, position the ric-rac so that half of it is hanging off the edge of your chambray. Pin in place on one side and sew using a scant 1/4" seam allowance.  Trim off excess.  Repeat for the remaining three sides.

5. Now it's time to trim off the overhanging ric-rac.  Yikes, sound scary?  Don't worry, it's not!  Turn your piece over so that the back is facing up.  Using a ruler and rotary cutter or scissors, very carefully cut along the edge of the chambray.  All four sides!
Now you have clean edges all the way around!!
6. Take the charm squares that you didn't cut and stack them up. (maybe 2 stacks!)  Again, using a rotary cutter or scissors cut these in half so that they measure 2 1/2" x 5."
Also cut pieces the same size from the chambray and fabric you used for appliques.
I have a few pieces that are 2 1/2" squares because that's what I could get from the leftover applique fabrics.

7. On to the borders! Lay your appliqued piece on the table and surround it with the strips you just cut.  Keep moving them around until you are pleased with the layout, or go with a random selection like I did (except for the two pieces that were directional). These don't have to be exact, but need to be at least as long as each side!

8. Take your mini strips from one side and sew them all together to form a longer strip that is at least as long as your first side.  Pin to one edge of your appliqued fabric (right sides together), covering the ric-rac and matching raw edges.  Sew this seam, then press open.
See how mine is a little longer at the top edge? 
That's okay, just trim it off straight and even with your rotary cutter!

9. Repeat with the other three sides, remembering to trim as needed and don't forget to press!!

10. After it's all trimmed up nice and straight, we'll get started with the quilting process.  We need to make a quilt sandwich, as shown in the picture below.  The piece we've been working on will be the top layer, the middle will be the quilt batting, and the bottom will be the plain fabric.  I didn't use the chambray for this layer because it won't be seen later, but you can if you want.

11. Using safety pins, secure all three layers together (This is a small piece and doesn't need tons of pins.), then take it to your machine and free motion quilt however you would like to!  I did very sparse "meandering" lines  in the center and stitched on or very near the seam lines in the border.

12. After quilting, remove the safety pins and clip any threads you see hanging about.

13. It's time to measure our mini-quilt.  If your "pretty" top measures 14" x 20"  all you need to do is trim off the batting and backing fabric so that it is even with the top piece.  If your top piece measures a little larger than you need, trim off around all of the edges until it measures the same as your pillow.

14. Cut two pieces of chambray measuring 14" x 27" each.  Fold each piece in half, short sides meeting.  Press, then sew a line about 3/4 inch from the folded edge.  These will form the back of the pillow case/cover.

15. Place the front piece on the table, right side facing up.  Place one of your back pieces on top of the front piece matching raw edges--folded end will be near the center of the top piece.  Pin in place.

16. Repeat with other back piece.  Now it's time to sew all the way around the pillow cover. (We will turn it out through the overlapping back pieces.)  If you plan on washing this later on, it's a good idea to finish the seams either with a zig-zag stitch or using a serger. (I opted for the serger.)
Stitched and serged. You can see where the pieces overlap, right?

17. Turn right side out where the back pieces overlap and give it a good press.

All done!  Insert pillow form and sit back and admire all of your hard work!

Thank you for the great tutorial Laura! To check out more of Laura's creations take a peek at her blog, Stitches by Laura.

And don't forget that this week all precuts (charm packs, layer cakes, jelly rolls, fat eighth, and fat quarter bundles) are 20% off. The sale ends at 11:59pm MT, Friday, 9/16/16.
Happy Creating!
Danielle Storm

Note: Links to products within this post are either links to our website or affiliate links.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Sew-Along #33 - Sailboat Outfit - Lesson #9

The Sailboat Outfit by Oliver+S

** If you would like to see an image on our blog in a larger format, just click on it to enlarge.

Note: Links to products within this post are either links to our website or affiliate links.

You can find the Oliver + S Sailboat pattern in the shop. Kits are available as well. Click on the links below:

Welcome to Day 9

Before we begin with today's lesson be sure to read all of the patterns instructions. Today, and throughout the entire sew along, you will need your pattern in hand to go along with each lesson. Some things I will share/teach will not be in the pattern, but are some tricks and tips I have learned over the years from sewing this pattern. 

Today is the last day of our sew long and the most exciting as we finish up our outfits!! This is always my favorite day as I get to see everyone's finished garments. Some of the methods I will be using are not in the pattern, such as the lining and some of the finishing techniques so if you have any questions along the way please don't hesitate to ask. Ready? Let's start! 

1. First we are going to make the casing for the elastic. Turn your skirts inside out first. Press the back under a 1/2" then again 1" again. This is where the top notch is at on the back side of the skirt. It will help you to measure the distance down for pressing.

2. Stitch the fold in place.

3. Measure and cut your elastic according to the pattern chart, then insert your elastic into the back casing. Now stitch your elastic in place. I am going to show a little trick that I do for all my back only elastic shorts/skirts.  I move the inside of the elastic casing edge out of the way (You can pin it if you would like) and then stitch the elastic in place right over the side seam, or "stitch in the ditch," on both sides.
Outside view.

 Inside view.

4.  From the inside, tuck the elastic into the casing.

5. Then simply hand stitch the casing closed.

6. To make your hem, press the bottom raw edge up a 1/2" then again another 1". Pin in place then stitch around. Take your time on the kick plate part to get a nice even hem. 

7. After you stitch your hem press the hem again, taking care to press the back kick plate in place.

8. Stay stitch the kick plate in place from the wrong side, down a 1/2" from the top edge of the kick plate.

This is the back view, a nice professional looking skirt.

The very last step? Try it on your daughter, granddaughter, or any little girl in your life and admire all your hard work!!

Happy sewing,

*If you would like to earn entries into the prize drawing, please make sure to submit a photo of your completed Lesson Nine to this Facebook Album by 12:00 noon CT, Tuesday, September 13th. If you have any questions the Facebook Group is a great place to ask.