Tag Archives: sewing

Tutorial: The most awesome rainbow tiered skirt *ever*

30 Jun

A few days ago I was lurking around the internet, bored senseless, and not a single crafty project that sounded remotely interesting, then I stumbled across perhaps the most lovely skirt I’ve ever seen and I knew I had to have it. And so, I made one for myself!

Obligatory spin shot!


The San Diego LGBT Pride parade is coming up in about a month and I’m planning on marching in it. I just had to have this skirt in time for the parade! So that night I decided I was going to do it. I spent about 3 hours planning everything out and went to the store the very next day to get my supplies.

Turns out my 3 hours of planning was totally wasted! My initial measurements included over 1400 inches worth of fabric for the bottom tier! I also had wanted to copy the patchwork design of the original but I am not a patient lady. Thankfully the lady at the sewing counter suggested I just use strips of a single fabric (the poor lady probably thought I was going insane, I was sitting on the ground talking to myself and angrily scratching out numbers while looking at a million different quilting packs). Ok, so first simplification complete–this project seems more manageable now!

At this point I still planned on having about 1400″ of fabric for my final tier. I picked out my favorite fabric and calculated the costs. Over $60, ouch! Ok, so being a broke crafter I needed to bring that down a LOT. So instead of each tier being 1.5x the tier above it I figured I’d do 1.25x the tier above it. This brought my 1400″ final tier down to a “measly” 370–way more manageable. It also brought my costs down closer to $25, about what I’d pay in a store for a significantly-less-awesome skirt, which was easy to justify (especially after my initial estimate of costs, eesh!).

After congratulating myself on being both frugal and maintaining the inherent awesomeness of this project I spent the next 15 minutes or so having the sewing counter lady cut my fabric into chunks as small as 1/4 of a yard. All in all I spent over an HOUR just picking out fabric and figuring out exactly how much I needed. What’s worst is that I nearly forgot to grab extra thread on my way out! But I remembered before hitting the check-out lane and all was well. So, let’s give this thing a look, shall we?

Just after completion–I didn’t take it off all night!

Very tired, but so proud!

Outside in the sun

I tried to get progress shots of this but being so big and bulky it was pretty difficult, so this tutorial will mostly be words. if you need clarification just leave a comment and I’ll do my best to clear things up.

First, get your measurements. All the fabric I got came in 44″ lengths and I decided the easiest way to get my measurements was to do strips and just sew them into one longer strip, the seams mostly get hidden in the ruffles and even if the seams show…who cares? Cheaper is WAY worth it for this. The second measurement is how much of a yard I bought of the fabric.

  • Waist – 40″
  • Tier 1 (pink) – 50″ (1/4 yard)
  • Tier 2 (red) – 62.5″ (1.25x tier 1) (1/4 yard)
  • Tier 3 (orange) – 78″ (at this point I started to round the numbers) (1/4 yard)
  • Tier 4 (yellow) – 97″ (3/8 yard)
  • Tier 5 (light green) – 122″ (3/8 yard)
  • Tier 6 (dark green) – 152.5″ (1/2 yard)
  • Tier 7 (light blue) – 190.75″ (5/8 yard)
  • Tier 8 (dark blue) – 238.5″ (3/4 yard)
  • Tier 9 (light purple) – 298″ (7/8 yard)
  • Tier 10 (dark purple) – 372.5″ (1 and 1/8 yard)

To get my strips to the length I needed I cut everything into 4.5″x44″ strips, then measured my final length for that tier and evenly divided that amongst the strips. For example, tier 4 was 97″, I cut 3 strips and trimmed them to approximately 32.5″ each, then sewed them together to create the final 97″ strip.

Everything cut into strips and sewn to their final sizes

I decided to do the easiest step next: hemming the bottom tier. I did a simple fold, I didn’t even fold it under itself, though I may go back to hem it properly.

After that came the hardest part: figuring out how to ruffle 370″ of fabric @.@ I did it wrong TWICE before finally giving up and freehanding half of it. I used a basting stitch but pulled it far too tight. Despite the frustration I’m glad I started on the longest strip: every strip after it was easier and easier than the one before! By the time I got to the final strip I was breezing through them.

Ruffles, ruffles, everywhere!

After the disaster with the longest tier I (ok…my honey) devised a new way to “ruffle”: pleating! I divided each strip into smaller sections and pleated as I went. I started by folding my previous strip (let’s say dark green) and my current strip (light green) and pinning the very far sides together to keep them from coming apart. Next, fold everything in half and pin the middle of the light green to the middle of the dark green; I found the best way to do this was just hold the two sides together as high as you can and have a friend pin the bottom of the droops together. Continue this way to find the middles until you’ve pinned everything into more manageable lengths. I suggest using safety pins, by the way, because there’s a lot of movement involved in this process. Hopefully the following picture makes at least a little bit of sense!

Weird picture but the best I could take to show the pinning

When I was finally done sewing all of my strips together I added a strip of elastic for the waistband. I used the same pinning method but instead of pleating the fabric I pulled the elastic taut and allowed the fabric to scrunch itself up. Finally, I sewed the loooong seam up the back and the skirt was complete! It’s officially my favorite piece from my wardrobe :-)

Simple Armwarmer Tutorial

12 Sep

It’s getting close to autumn, that strange season (for me, at least) where I can go from comfortable to cold in a matter of minutes. My solution? ARMWARMERS! They fit so easily in my purse and can be slipped on for comfort. I also have a bad habit of wearing through the bottoms of my socks so this is an excellent way to get more use out of a pair of socks! These can be made in about 10 to 15 minutes so they’re a great project. Before we begin, let’s see the finished project!


  • Sewing machine
  • Scissors
  • A pair of socks (knee-high for full forearm armwarmers, shorter socks for wristwarmers)

First, gather your supplies and lay your socks out. Figure out where it's best to cut off the foot portion.

Evenly trim the feet off of the socks.

Set your machine to a zig-zag stitch, remove the storage compartment/extension table and slide the sock onto the remaining part of the sewing machine. Slowly zig-zag around the edge of the sock, then repeat with the other sock. I zig-zag'd around the edge twice using two different lengths of zig-zags to ensure it wouldn't unravel. Note: the wider your zig-zag stitch, the more pronounced the ruffle will be.

Ta-da! You're ready to wear your new armwarmers!

You can also add a thumb hole by cutting a very small hole in the heel, testing to make sure your thumb fits through, then zig-zag stitching very slowly around the thumb hole as well.

A Sample of my Custom Work

11 Jul

I love doing custom work for people. When one of my friends saw my embroidered rainbow panties she decided she wanted me to do a few custom pieces for her. We talked about what she wanted and worked out a price, and ta-da! She got some custom items that she (hopefully!) loves!

Headband, two pairs of embroidered undies, and a butterfly bookmark

I even wrapped the bunny panties in a cute little carrot bag!

If you have an idea for something custom you’d like me to make, leave a comment and we can discuss the details! If not, I hope you at least enjoy seeing my custom work :-)

Some Changes and a Link to a Great Tutorial

17 Jan

First off, if you look at the side bar over there –> you may notice something new. Now there’s a “What I’m Working On…” widget that streams tweets from my new Twitter account! I’m planning on updating it every time I’m working on something crafty. I’ve also added a new pattern for sale at my store.

Now, on to the real content :-)

I love finding tutorials and letting my creative brain figure out just how to make it work best for me.

I found this excellent tutorial for interchangeable bra straps and as soon as I saw that they only used one eyelet for the straps I thought “Oh no way will that give me enough support!” Next time I have bra straps that wear out I’m definitely going to replace them with ribbon but I’m using two eyelets just to be safe…

Image from handmadeportland.com

Today I Learned! Shirring

20 Dec

Today I learned how to shirr (what a weird word) fabric!

I was looking through the archives at Ruffles and Stuff and I found this great tutorial on how to shirr fabric. It looks so much easier than I thought it was, I’ll definitely be trying it out in the future :-)

This is from the website, I haven't gotten around to trying it yet but it looks so simple I can't wait!

Renaissance Faire Costume (with Mini Tutorial for Overskirt and DIY Awl)

8 Nov

Saturday the 6th I went to the Escondido Renaissance Faire. I decided a week and a half beforehand that none of my clothes were suitable enough for the Faire, so I asked myself (and some friends) “Am I crazy enough to make a Ren Faire costume in a week?” The answer was a resounding “YES!”.

I wanted to draft my own pattern for the bodice, but after one night of trying to steal the pattern from a vest I realized there’s no way I could do that in the timeframe I had available. So I went to JoAnn’s and got Butterick 3906 and used up some of my beautiful black denim. I also spontaneously decided to make a matching overskirt but didn’t bother using any pattern because it was so simple (a tutorial for my skirt is at the bottom of this post). I’m really happy with how it all turned out.

The completed outfit

The back after Faire, showing my new silver fox tail <3 You can see where I altered the center of the back

Also after faire, I just love this pic <3

I had to make some minor variations to the bodice to make it fit properly. I have very odd proportions: big in the chest but relatively small in the waist, then huge in the hips. Therefore, in order to get a bodice that will fit my chest, I had to make it a size that’s too big in the waist. In the end, I probably could have just made a smaller size since it laces up, but I made the smallest size this pattern was for which was 12.

When I was all done with the bodice, I had to take in the back so it was more form-fitting, fold in the shoulders since they looked odd and weren’t comfortable, and I added a strip of elastic to the back at the base of my neck to keep the shoulders up. For the back, I turned the bodice inside-out, pinned straight up the center of the back, and took in about an inch off each side (for a total of 2 inches taken out). I sewed straight up the back from the inside, then laid the big flap down so that what had previously been the center of the bodice was laying right on top of the seam and was even on both sides. After that, I just sewed straight up the sides to keep them flat. It also gave a bit of decoration to the back. For the shoulders, I just turned them in a little since the tips were scratching at my neck and were uncomfortable. I just sewed over the edge stitching I had done before, caught the turned-under fabric beneath it, and at the same time sewed the elastic strap in place. And voilà: completed bodice that looks great and fits perfectly!

I needed to add eyelets to lace up the bodice but since there would be a lot of strain on them from being laced up, I didn’t want to cut holes in the fabric like I had for my corset tote so I therefore needed an awl. JoAnn’s is kind of far away and the cheapest they had them for was about $5, which was more than I wanted to spend. So I went to the 99 cent store right by my house and bought an ice pick, then sharpened it with a metal file. I used my little stabby to poke holes in the fabric, then used a chop stick to stretch them out, and it worked wonderfully while only cutting a couple threads in the fabric!

Now for the skirt tutorial!


  • Fabric that is long enough to go around your waist at least one and a half times and is 2 inches longer than the length you want your final skirt to be (mine was 60″x30″)
  • Elastic long enough to fit around your waist
  • “The basics” Sewing machine, thread, scissors, pins, etc.
  • One big safety pin or something else to thread your elastic through with

First, take your fabric and hem the bottom (one of the longer edges). You can pin it and then sew or just fold and sew as you go. Then hem up the shorter sides the same way. Next, take your elastic and fold a bit of fabric over it, enough that you can sew the fabric without catching the elastic. Once again, you can pin everything and then sew or you can just use your elastic as a guide.

When you’re done sewing your tunnel, take your elastic and attach the big safety pin to it (make sure you pin it in a way that the elastic won’t break off of it) and start threading it through. When the non-safety-pinned end of your elastic reaches about to the entrance of the tunnel, pin the end to your fabric so it won’t just keep sliding through! Continue threading your elastic through; as you reach the end it will get a lot harder, just hold the end of your elastic that’s inside the tunnel and scrunch the fabric up against the beginning hole.

When you’re done threading your elastic all the way through, sew the two ends of your elastic together (make sure the elastic lays flat and isn’t twisted at all inside the tunnel). I used a zig-zag stitch on my sewing machine but you could use a couple lines of straight stitches to secure it. After your elastic is sewn into a circle, scrunch the fabric around a bit so you have a nice, pretty piece of elastic in the front (just in case it shows) instead of the sewn bit. Wear your new overskirt and bodice with a nice underdress or similar clothes and you’re ready to party like it’s 1499!

Corset-Laced Tote Tutorial

25 Oct

My final item for the reddit craftit swap: The corset-laced tote! Throughout the project it gained the nickname “That Goddamn Tote”; multiple times I wanted to just give up and burn the stupid thing because it wasn’t turning out how I’d hoped. I’m so glad I stuck with it, though; when I’ve forgotten how much of a pain it was to make and I’m crazy enough to start another one I’m totally making one for myself :-D May I present to you, That Goddamn Tote!

Ta da!

You will need

  • Sewing machine
  • Thread
  • Eyelets and tools necessary to set them
  • Scissors, preferably small, sharp, pointed scissors to help with putting the eyelets on
  • Seam ripper, also for putting the eyelets on
  • Pins
  • Lace
  • Ribbon
  • Fabric
    • Outer fabric, I chose black denim
    • Lining fabric, I chose a simple black fabric
    • Outer accent fabric, I chose natural muslin
    • Fabric strap or webbing, I chose webbing


I dyed my lace using coffee. Please disregard the icky background, this picture is just to show how much the dyeing affected the lace. I dyed my lace using about a cup and a half of coffee and two tablespoons of white vinegar, soaked over night then allowed to dry and ironed lightly. If I recall correctly, this is the exact same shade it looked like it was the night I put it in, so use that as a guide and add water if necessary to lighten your coffee to the right color. Just let your lace sit for a minute, check color, rinse the lace and add water to your coffee if necessary. Once the test color comes out right, soak overnight.

Gather your supplies! Top row: 2x black denim, 3.5"x9.5"; 1x black denim, 9.5"x9.5"; 2x black denim, 2"x9.5" (I used 2.5"x9.5" but it was too wide). Bottom row: 2x lace, 10"; 2x muslin (since it's thin), 3.5"x9.5"; 2x lining, 9"x9" (I used 9.5"x9.5" for mine but it was too big). You'll also need straps, I used two pieces of 1"x22.5" webbing but you could make a strap with your black denim. Iron everything (except the webbing)!

Take one of your 9.5"x2" pieces of the black denim and fold it lengthwise with the right side facing inwards. Sew across the top and bottom and repeat with the other piece. I used about a 1/4" seam on each side and it worked out wonderfully.

Tie off the ends of your thread then carefully snip the corner of your fabric off.

Turn your fabric right side out and poke out the corners with a small blunt object (I use chopsticks). Take some chalk, mark lengthwise where you will be sewing (top line in this pic) then mark halfway between your first mark and the edge (bottom line). Next, figure out how many eyelets you want (I chose 6) and draw lines at equal distances apart (vertical lines).

Place your eyelets where your chalk lines intersect. I started by taking my seam ripper and ripping a couple threads from the denim, then using my pointed scissors to bore out a hole while ripping more threads when necessary, then finally snipping the frayed edges clean. Wash off your chalk lines before setting your eyelets.

Take one of your 3.5"x9.5" pieces of black denim, pin a piece of lace, then one of your strips of eyelets (pretty side facing TOWARDS the black denim), then your muslin.

Before sewing, make sure everything is in the right order. Then sew (making sure to catch everything in the seam!!). Repeat for the other side, pinning the muslin to the eyelet strip (pretty side facing the denim you'll be sewing it to), lace, then black denim, and sew it all together!

Open everything up, spritz with a bit of water, and using a very low iron (I think I set mine to 2 or 3, not sure if the settings are universal) flatten everything out. When you're done with that side, flip it over, spritz, and iron the other side.

Pin your pretty side to the plain black denim with right sides facing one another. Sew around both sides and the bottom, being VERY careful to not sew your eyelet strips when you sew across the bottom, go really slow.

Flip it right side out, push out the corners, and admire! Set this aside for now.

Take your lining and sew around three sides (I had to keep bringing my seam in closer on one side to get it to fit nicely inside the bag). Leave an opening at the bottom center about 3 inches long so that you can turn everything right side out later.

Pin your straps in place as shown but don't sew them down or fold anything over yet!

Ok, here's the difficult to describe part. Keeping the straps pinned to the outer, turn it inside out; your pins will now be inside. Next, turn your lining inside out and place it inside your outer so that both pretty sides are facing one another and line up the seams for the lining and outer as best as you can. Make sure you move your straps out the way of where you'll be sewing, then (without letting your straps shift) unpin your straps and pin everything together.

Sew around the top to hold your lining in place. For the straps I always go over them, reverse to go over it again, then continue forward with my stitching for better strength. When you stitch across your muslin, once again go very slowly to make sure you don't catch your eyelet strip in it!

Pull your lining out and reach through the hole you left in the lining to turn everything right-side out.

Ta da! Now that everything's right side out, fold the fabric into your magic hole and stitch right across where the hole is, then stuff the lining into the purse.

With the lining inside, stitch all the way around the purse to hold the lining in place.

Thread your ribbon through the eyelets (I didn't measure my ribbon, sorry!).

Make sure to tie your bow nicely.

And you're done!

Pumpkin Pincushion

11 Oct

Part two of my craft swap gifts: a pumpkin pincushion! I followed this tutorial but decided to not make the face. To get it to look right I had to squish the sides in a bit after doing the thread over the seams, otherwise it looked too much like an orange donut!

I’m so happy with how it turned out!

Spats Tutorial

6 Sep

Sorry there’s no pics this time, this is mostly for my own benefit so that if I’m crazy enough to make these things again I can remember how I did them.

So, I attempted to recreate these beautiful spats/leg warmers. My thighs are probably too fat for the ones from Sock Dreams so I decided to make some myself! If you have any questions or need clarification, let me know! If I make these again I’ll take pictures. I’ll be taking pictures of the ones I made when I get the opportunity.

You will need:

  • Sewing machine
  • Thread
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • Jersey-type fabric
  • Elastic (mine is .5″ wide)
  • Buttons (20 to 24)
  • A pair of jeans that fit the way you want your spats from the mid-thighs down to the bottom
  • Fabric pen
  • Normal pen
  • Paper to transfer your pattern on to (you might be able to use an opened-up paper bag for this)

First, put your pants on and put a pin in them however high you want your spats to come. Lay down your paper then put your jeans down on top of it. Trace around the jeans on both sides and along the bottom up to as high as you want your spats to be, then remove the jeans and connect the two tops of your lines. Cut this out. The whole time I was working on this I marked which end was the bottom by putting a pin along the bottom edge. Both sides looked pretty similar and I didn’t want to mess it up.

Lay out your fabric making sure that your fabric will stretch along the short side once it’s cut out. When you’re done, you want to make sure your leg holes can stretch to fit around your legs, I did mine wrong so don’t you make the same mistake! Fold your fabric over so you only have to trace once, then place your paper guide over it and use your fabric pen to trace around it. Move your paper guide to a different spot on the fabric, trace around the top, bottom, and one side of the guide. Next, move your guide 1.5″ to 2″ to make this one a little wider and complete tracing around it. This step is so that we can fold over a little bit of the fabric and make it look “darker” like you see in the photo at Sock Dreams. Cut out around your markings, making sure to get two of each size. I pinned my fabric to make sure nothing shifted.

Take one of each size of fabric and sew along one long side. Lay your project down (inside-out) with the wider piece of fabric on top. Fold the fabric back so that the edge lines up with the edge of fabric on the other side, then fold again so that both sides are the same length. Pin and sew along the inside edge, the edge closest to the seam you already made. Turn your whole thing right-side-out and pin the remaining unfinished side underneath the part you just sewed. Check for fit before sewing, then sew along the side to create a tube! Hem the bottom so it looks nice and trim any excess fabric, make sure you still have enough for the stitching to remain secure though.

Take your elastic, stretch it so it will fit your leg snugly, and trim it to the size you need. Sew it into a circle (I did this by hand). Put the circle of elastic inside your fabric tube and pin the elastic inside of it. Using a zig-zag stitch (which allows the fabric to stretch more than a “normal” stitch does), sew. Make sure you don’t sew the elastic TO the fabric, just into a fabric sleeve so it can stretch easily.

Measure how long your spats are and, based upon how many buttons you have, figure out how often they should be sewn on. I marked my points where I would sew the buttons with my washable fabric pen. Finally, sew on your buttons! Repeat for your second spat.

I will be trying to recreate the buckle that Sock Dreams has on them but I’m not sure how successful that will end up being.

Baby Stuff! Park 3: Crinkly Baby Chain Tutorial

31 Aug

Here’s Part 1 and Part 2 of the Baby Stuff series.

I got the basic idea from this tutorial when I was looking at the fabric blocks. I modified this quite a bit, just like the crinkly square, so it gets its own tutorial as well! Some of these pictures are terrible, I apologize in advance. It’s hard taking pictures as you work and this project drove me insane!

Surprise, surprise, this was another learning experience for me. I seem to be having a lot of those with this set of projects! Oh well, on we go!

I only learned one thing with this project, but it was one that would have made things much easier if I’d known before hand.

  • I should have made my strips both wider and longer, it would have made working with them significantly easier.

You will need:

  • Sewing machine
  • Thread
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • 3 kinds of fabric
  • Crinkly stuff! I used a cut-up compostable Sunchips bag. I’m sure Caden’s mom will appreciate just how crinkly that stuff is when he starts playing with them :-P
  • Velcro (optional but a nice touch so that it can be attached to things)
  • One chopstick (optional but very helpful)
  • Something flat and thin for pressing out edges before ironing

Here we go!

First, cut out one strip in the size that you want. Mine were 1.5 inches by 6.75 inches, which was a bit too small. If I was ever crazy enough to do it again, I'd make them at least an inch wider and two inches longer. After you have one cut out, pin it to your fabric in a way that allows you to fold the fabric nicely for easier cutting.

Next, start folding your fabric until you have a total of 10 pieces of fabric (5 folds, for me since I had folded my fabric in half first).

Cut around your guide piece and snip all of the folded edges so that you have 10 (plus one guide) strips of fabric pinned to one another. Do this for all of the other colors.

Here are my 10 strips of each color.

Next, cut up your chip bag/crinkly stuff into a size that works. I cut my strips to double the width of what my fabric strips would be so I could fold them over and have the silver stuff facing out. Make sure you cut enough to fill all of your fabric strips--in this case, 15 of them.

Take two strips of the same color and put them right-sides facing each other. Stitch up both of the long sides but leave the short ones open for now. Repeat for all colors.

Tie a little knot in the thread at each end to ensure it doesn't come undone. Sorry, this one's hard to see.

Repeat for all 5, then repeat for all colors.

Carefully start to turn your fabric tubes right-side-out.

Put your chopstick in with the big, rounded edge against the side of the fabric that is curling over.

Keep pushing until it's all the way right-side-out.

Now you have this.

Lightly press your strips into shape using just your hands and heat up your iron.

When you're ready to iron, use something flat and rigid to push out the sides as crisply as possible and iron in sections.

Repeat for all colors.

Curl the edge of one side inward, just enough for a seam.

Sew straight across.

Fold one piece of your crinkly stuff in half, silver side out, and slide into the tube.

Sew straight up both sides, making sure to catch the crinkly stuff. Trim any excess crinkly stuff at the open end.

If you're using Velcro, do this for FOUR of the black, FOUR of the white, and ALL of the red. If you're not using Velcro, do this for all of the strips.

For the strips with Velcro, put the crinkly stuff in just like for the other strips but fold in the other side of the strip and sew straight across. If I did this again, I'd probably sew all of them like that just for neatness, but I didn't this time so ON WITH THE TUTORIAL!

Take your Velcro, sew one piece at one end and the other piece on the opposite end AND the opposite side so that it makes a nice circle. In this picture, I have the strip folded into a V to show both sides.

This is what you should have now: 5 white strips (one of which has Velcro on it), 5 black strips (one of which has Velcro on it), and 5 red strips.

Take one of your strips and fold over a little bit of one end

Fold the strip around as shown.

This is where longer loops REALLY would have been beneficial. Keeping everything aligned, put the loop onto your sewing machine. Securely sew the strip into a loop; I sewed down one side, turned and sewed a couple stitches, sewed back up, then completed the little box of stitches and it turned out nice.

You should end up with this. Complete this step ONLY for all of the red pieces.

Using the same method for completing the red loops, sew one black loop to each of the red loops. Velcro on the strip that has Velcro on it just to keep everything the same.

Here's the most important step: lay everything out like this so you know what will be sewn together. Don't forget to loop your white strip around both a red and a black strip (I almost forgot, that wouldn't have been fun). Make sure your black Velcroed piece is on the opposite end from your white Velcroed piece.

Sew the white strips just like the red and the black and you're done!

Here's the whole set for Part 2 of Caden's gifts (they weren't done at the same time as his blocks).

Here's the inside of the card, I love how the whole thing turned out. I incorporated stuff from Caden's baby shower into the card, like the light blue thread and the ribbon. This is probably the best card I've ever made :-)