DIY Neck Cooling Scarf | Easy Sewing Tutorial

neck cooling scarf youmakeitsimple.com

When it’s hot and you need to keep cool, this DIY neck cooling scarf works like a charm. The scarf is made of simple cotton fabric and filled with water beads. These polymer crystals or water beads are quite amazing and when soaked will plump up with water, expand and then release the moisture slowly. That’s what makes this cooling scarf so nice is that it will stay wet and applies gentle moisture to your skin that keeps you cool for hours.

This is a very simple sewing project that even a beginner seamstress can handle. Making a neck cooling scarf will only take you about ten minutes to make, and it only takes a minimal amount of fabric. These are great to wear when you are working outside, or inside and can be worn by adults and children.

What types of water beads/crystal are best to use?

There are lots of varieties out there. The “crystals” are very small chunks that almost looks like a powder, while the “beads” are smooth spheres. I like to use spherical beads for comfort and ease of use, and some say that the small crystal powder can absorb into the fabric. You will be AMAZED at how the big the beads plump up when soaked in water. One teaspoon turns into 3-4 cups once soaked!

You can find the beads in most craft stores, floral shops and even some hardware stores will sell them in the garden section. They were all sold out in the stores in my location, so I bought them on-line and was very pleased with this brand. (clear beads) (colored beads)

You can find the beads in most craft stores, floral shops and even some hardware stores will sell them in the garden section. They were all sold out in the stores in my location, so I bought them on-line and was very pleased with this brand. (clear beads) (colored beads)

Neck Cooling Scarf Materials & Items Needed

  • Water beads or water crystals
  • Cotton fabric
  • Scissors/rotary cutter (optional)
  • Sewing machine
  • Iron
  • Pins/ fabric clips
  • Measuring tape
  • Cookie sheet (to keep the beads from going all over the place)

Neck Cooling Scarf Instructions

1-Hydrate the beads.

If you are using beads, hydrate them before placing them into the scarf. There are so many different sizes of beads that it’s hard to know how much they are going to expand. If you fill the scarf tool full they can expand too much and pop the seams.

If you are using the crystals you can apply the powder before soaking. JUST REMEMBER YOU’LL ONLY NEED JUST A LITTLE BIT! 1 teaspoon of powder, split into different pockets.

neck cooling scarfThe bead to water ratio is 1 teaspoon/3 cups water. Get a big bowl or tub to put them in. It may take a few hours for them to hydrate completely. I like to soak my beads the night before I plan on sewing.

neck cooling scarf cutting fabric

2 -Cut a piece of cotton fabric 4.5/10 cm x 42-44/112 cm inches.

Most bolts of cotton fabric are 42-44 inches wide, so just cut a strip of fabric 4.5 inches.neck cooling scarf cutting ends

3 -Fold the long edges of the fabric strip in half and CUT OFF THE SELVAGE EDGES AT A 45° ANGLE to form a taped edge.

4 -Open up the strip and fold in half again with the RIGHT SIDES FACING EACH OTHER.]

5 -Pin or clip in place.

You are going to leave a space un-sewn about 4 inches/10cm long to turn to the scarf. Find the center and mark that 4 inch space so you don’t forget and sew.

red clips
neck cooling scarf tip
neck cooling scarf sewing

6 -Sew together.

Using a straight stitch, start sewing at one tapered edge and sew all the way around to the other end. DON’T FORGET TO LEAVE THE OPENING. When you come to the red clip, backstitch and then lift up your presser foot and move to the next red clip. Backstitch and continue to sew the rest of the seam backstitching at the end.

7 -Clip corners.

neck cooling scarf turning

8 -Using a turning stick, turn the tube right sides out.

9 -Press seams out.

Fold the seam allowance under where you left the opening and press in place.

10 -Fold the scarf in half and measure 10.5 inches/27 cm from the fold and mark both layers with a pin.

This is where you will stitch the scarf to create the pocket that will hold the beads. You don’t want the whole scarf to be filled with beads, just the portion that wraps around the neck. (Some folks like to make 3 separate pockets, and this works well if you are using the powder, but if you are using the beads, I find it’s not necessary and only takes more time).

11 -Sew vertical seams

Sew two seams where you marked with pins. Backstitch at the beginning and end of seam.

neck cooling scarf filling with beads

12 -Fill scarf with beads.

Now it’s time to fill the scarf with beads. Place a cookie sheet under your workspace so you don’t have beads rolling all over the place. YOU DON’T WANT PETS OR CHILDREN INGESTING THESE BEADS!!!! You can use a funnel that will fit the beads, but I find that you can just grab a handful and feed them into the hole you left. Fill one side and then the other. Don’t overfill as they may expand a little more and pop the seam.

13 -Sew the opening closed.

Once the scarf is full, place the opening edges together and clip in place. You can hand-sew the opening closed or I use the sewing machine. I prefer using a 1/8 inch seam allowance on the sewing machine, it’s much quicker.

14 -Clips threads and you’re finished.

neck cooling scarf soaking

15 -How to soak and hydrate the neck cooling scarf

The beads will eventually dry up, but it takes several days. To re-activate the neck cooling scarf, just soak the entire thing in water for a couple hours. If you want to dry it out, just leave it in the sun. The beads will shrivel up to almost nothing, allowing you to store the wrap flat until the next time you need it.

Some friends and I are currently making a bunch of these up and taking them to the homeless shelter all hydrated and cooled. Perhaps this could be a project for those in your own community who are out in this heat; just a little way to give back.

Get in your fabric stash and make a few neck cooling scarves for yourself, family and those in need.

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T-Shirt to Tank Top | Binding Tips and Tricks

t-shirt to tank top youmakeitsimple.com

It’s summertime and wearing a cool tank top can be very inviting. In this tutorial, I am going to show you how you can easily take a t-shirt and make it into a tank top. This post is full of great tips and tricks for adding binding to the armholes and neckband. This is such a fun way to upcycle an ordinary t-shirt into a unique tank top.

Most of you know how I love upcycling t-shirts. The simple stretchy fabric of a t-shirt can come in handy for making so many other things.

So if you have a t-shirt that has some good stretch to it, fun colors, or cute print, don’t throw it out. USE IT.

Here is a post with some good tips for upcycling t-shirts.

 

HOW TO MAKE A TANK TOP FROM A T-SHIRT

I am going to go over several different styles and ways to make a tank top.

  • Basic work-out tank with cut armholes
  • Rolled hem method
  • Knit binding method

BONUSES: How to add binding to t-shirt sleeve edge, and how to apply a tag or label.

There are so many options and the variety and the color combinations are limitless. So get out your creative bones and have fun making tank tops.

TANK TOP ITEMS AND MATERIALS NEEDED

If you have an existing tank top that you like that fits well, you can use that as a template of where to cut the armholes and neckband. If you don’t, start cutting the holes bigger and then try it on. You can always cut off more, but you CAN’T add fabric back after you cut.

BASIC CUT ARMHOLE TANK TOP INSTRUCTIONS

Turn the t-shirt wrong side out.

If you’re using an existing tank top as a template, lay the tank on top of your t-shirt. Line up the shoulder seams. Most likely the armholes of the tank will be smaller than the t-shirt. No worries.

Using the chalk pen or erasable pen, trace the armhole of one side of the shirt. You can just eyeball where you want to cut.

Cut out that armhole. Fold the shirt in half, lining up shoulder and side seams, and cut out the other armhole using the previous cut as a guide.

You can leave it like this, BECAUSE KNIT FABRIC WILL NOT FRAY.

TANK TOP ROLLED HEM METHOD

If you want to finish the armholes with a rolled hem, I recommend cutting the sleeve off OUTSIDE THE SLEEVE SEAM, leaving about a ¼ “ from the seam. (This will give the armhole a little reinforcement and feel like you’ve added binding to it). But if you want a deeper cut, you can do that as well and it will still work out fine.

I RECOMMEND TRYING ON THE SHIRT BEFORE CUTTING, JUST TO MAKE SURE IT FITS WELL AND CUT WHERE YOU WANT IT TO BE! (If the armholes are a little gappy and loose, just note that after you hem or add binding, it will pull and be more fitted).

Once the sleeves are cut off, all you need to do is fold the fabric edge over the sleeve seam (1/4 inch) and then fold it over again.

Thread your sewing machine with the same color of thread as the t-shirt. Starting at the underarm seam, sew all the way around using a straight stitch. Sew just inside the outer fold to hold in place.

Do this for both tank top armholes.

GATHERED SHOULDER TANK TOP

If the shoulders seam too wide and you want to bring them in a little, you can add a little gather to the shoulder seam as I have in this photo.

gathering tank top shouldersSimply take a needle, double the thread, knot the end, and take two rows of big gathering stitches to gather to your liking. Knot to secure in place.

tank top shoulder bowYou can also use a ribbon to gather the shoulders by tying a bow around the shoulder top and tacking in place with a needle and thread.

 

HOW TO ADD BINDING TO THE TANK TOP ARMHOLES AND NECK

Using stretchy knit fabric strips from other upcycle knit clothing can add a lot of character to your tank tops. CHECK OUT MY POST AND VIDEO ON BINDING.

Decide where you want to cut the armholes.

Cut out and try the tank top on to make sure that is where you want things to be.

 

Measure the armhole, starting at the shoulder seam and go down to the side seam. DOUBLE THAT MEASUREMENT AND THEN SUBTRACT 1 INCH. This will be the length to cut the armhole binding.

tank top binding stripsCut 2-inch strips, on the stretch of your binding fabric. Cut them to the armhole measurement. (If you don’t have strips long enough, you can piece them together. WATCH MY TUTORIAL ON HOW TO DO THAT HERE.

Place the strips RIGHT SIDES TOGETHER and sew the short ends together using a ¼ – 3/8 inch seam allowance to form a ring. Do this for both strips.

Fold the rings in half to find the halfway point and mark with a pin.

Do the same thing with the armholes. Find the halfway point from the side seam and mark with a pin. It’s not always going to be the shoulder seam. Most likely it’s a little off to the side.

Now you’re ready to sew the binding to the tank top.

With the shirt WRONG SIDE OUT, line up the binding seam with the side seam. Pin that in place. Line up the halfway points and pin them in place. The binding piece will be shorter than the tank top piece, so you will be stretching the binding slightly as you sew.

You can pin ¼ points, but I usually don’t. Take it to the sewing machine and starting at the underarm seam, sew all the way around. Use a 3/8 inch seam allowance and a regular straight stitch. Backstitch at the beginning and end of the seam.

I LOVE USING THIS TECHNIQUE TO BIND ALL KINDS OF PROJECTS: blankets, slippers, and other clothing items.

Fold the binding over to the WRONG side with the seam finger pressed outward and toward binding. Pin or clip in place all the way around. (Make sure the seam is enclosed in the binding).

TANK TOP STITCH IN THE DITCHOn the TOPSIDE, stitch in the ditch, which is the point where the shirt meets the binding. Turn your sewing machine handwheel toward you, bringing the needle down to make sure it is placed in that crevice. Start sewing. Ease and stretch the fabric slightly as you sew. Backstitch at the end.

There may be a lot of excess fabric, no worries. (Better to have too much fabric than not enough).

VERY CAREFULLY take your scissors and trim the excess fabric close to the seam. Be careful NOT to cut the fabric underneath! No need to worry, the fabric will not fray.

tank top bindingTadah! There you have a nice professional-looking finish to your armhole.

tank top neck bindingYou can do this in the same manner for the neck if you want.

ADDING BINDING TO A SLEEVE EDGE

You can add binding to a t-shirt sleeve edge to give character and contrast. This really adds a lot of charm to a basic t-shirt and something you don’t see every day.

You pretty much just follow the same procedure that you would for an armhole.

  • Measure the sleeve opening, x 2, subtract 1 inch. Cut the binding 2 inches x length.
  • Find halfway points
  • Pin in place.
  • Sew
  • Wrap binding around seam
  • Stitch in-the-ditch
  • Trim binding

BONUS: HOW TO ADD LABEL OR TAG

Adding a cute little tag is optional of course, but another way to customize your clothing. Get more information about how to make your own labels HERE. 

Cut out the label and decide where you want to apply it. Some recommended places would be.

  • The outer bottom center of the sleeve
  • Just under the neck binding on the back of the tank top
  • The bottom hem of the tank top

fabric stabilizer interfacingUnless the knit fabric is really thick, you’ll want to reinforce the knit fabric by applying a little piece of INTERFACING, on the backside of the fabric where you want to apply the label. (Follow instructions on stabilizer).

Using a narrow, short zigzag stitch, sew around the label to secure it in place.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. Be sure to reach out if you do have questions.

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4 Basic Sewing Machine Seams and Seam Allowance Tips

seams and seam allowances

In this tutorial I am going to go over the basic sewing machine seams and give you some seam allowance tips.

What are seams?

Seams are the building blocks of a clothing item and are the points of connection between fabric pieces. As a beginner seamstress, the first thing you will learn how to do is sew a basic seam. (Sew two pieces of fabric together).

There are several different types of sewing stitches that you can use to make up seams. Be sure to check out my SEW SIMPLE SERIES, A BEGINNERS GUIDE TO SEWING, where I show you all the basic stitches, seams and guide you through several easy sewing projects. (PATTERNS INCLUDED).

seam allowance

What is a seam allowance?

Whenever you sew seams, you’ll have some kind of seam allowance. This is the distance from the seamline to the raw edge of the fabric, which allows the fabric pieces to be durably connected without fraying or coming unsewn.

 

Here are some basic seam allowance “facts” and “rules”

  • The width of the seam allowance depends on the type of fabric and the seam finishing technique used. A thicker, bulkier fabric requires a larger seam allowance while thinner, lightweight fabrics work well with a narrower seam allowance.
  • The most commonly used seam allowance measures 3/8” to ½”.
  • Some seam allowances are finished to ensure seam durability and prevent the raw fabric edges from fraying. Fabrics like knit or polyester do not need to be finished. Here are some simple techniques to finish seams (NO SERGER NEEDED).
  • After the seam is stitched, the seam allowance should always be ironed down in a specified direction in order for the seam to lay flat (you’ll see a demonstration of this in the sewing tutorial video below).
    All conventional sewing machines have a seam allowance guide to the right of the sewing machine needle. In order to sew each seam at the proper seam allowance, the raw edge of the fabric is aligned with the appropriate seam allowance guideline according to the required seam allowance length. In my tutorials, I usually give some great tips on things you can do and use to make following these guides easier.
  • Most patterns will give you the SEAM ALLOWANCE requirements and measurement for that specific project. If it doesn’t, use the standard 3/8 inch seam allowance. (This by the way is just the edge of your normal presser foot).

BASIC 3/8 INCH SEAMS INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Place the two pieces of fabric you are working with together, matching edges and pin in place. Use the 3/8 inch guide on the top plate of your machine to line up the edges of the fabric, or if your presser foot edge is at that measurement, you can just use the edge of the presser foot as your guide.pressing seams
  2. Sew the seam. Open up the seam allowance and press flat using an iron.

FLAT FELLED SEAMS INSTRUCTIONS

A flat felled seam is basically an overlapping seam that’s sewn flat. When the seam is complete, there are no raw edges showing. It’s used frequently in menswear because it’s extremely durable and sturdy and provides a neat finish. If you’re wearing jeans, take a look at the seams. They are almost certainly flat-felled. Use a flat felled seam on shirts or trousers, which see a lot of stress, and you’ll get a durable finish.

Here’s how to go about sewing a flat felled seam.

  1. Pin fabric with right sides together. You will be using a 5/8 inch seam allowance. tape seam allowance guideI like to place a piece of masking or painter’s tape onto the sewing plate at the 5/8 inch mark. This will help you see more clearly and help you guide the fabric along as you sew.pressing seam allowance
  2. Instead of pressing the seam open, you’re going to fold the seam allowance to one side and press.flat felled seam stitching
  3. Flip the fabric over to the right side. Now sew a straight line on the side that the seam allowance is pressed to.1/8 inch seam allowance
  4. Sew 1/8 inch from the seam line fold. TIP: Most presser feet will have little notches indicating 1/8 inch marks. This is nice to use this feature when sewing this seam. Simple line the fabric up with that right 1/8 inch guide and sew away.

FINISHED FLAT FELLED SEAMS INSTRUCTIONS

trimming seam allowance

  1. Sew the seam with a ½ seam allowance. Before pressing the seam, take your scissors and trim away ¼ inch from the right seam allowance.pressing seam allowance
  2. Fold the uncut seam allowance over the cut seam allowance and press in place.
  3. Now fold the top seam allowance under ¼ inch encasing the cut allowance. Press in place.
  4. Topstitch in place along the folded edge to secure in place.

FRENCH SEAMS INSTRUCTIONS

French seams are perfect to use on lightweight, sheer fabrics, or lace. I like using this seam when I make pillowcases. The seam encasing all of the fraying fabric edges inside a tiny seam allowance of 1/4″ (5mm). French seams can be great to use if you haven’t got an overlocker (serger) and want to create a perfect finish to your project.

  1. When sewing a French seam, you start by placing WRONG SIDES OF THE FABRIC TOGETHER, instead of right sides together.French seam 1/4 inch seam
  2. Sew the first seam using a ¼ inch seam allowance. Then, fold the fabric along the seam line, so the right sides of the fabric are together and the stitching is at the edge of the fold. Press well, so you are working with a sharp crease at the fold on the seam. You may want to pin the fabric edge, especially if you are using a slippery fabric.3/8 inch seam allowance
  3. Now sew another seam using a 3/8 inch seam allowance.

     

  4. Press the finished seam to one side or the other.

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There you have it, 4 basic seams for you to use.

HINT: my SEW SIMPLE COURSE COMES WITH INSTRUCTIONS AND MEASUREMENTS FOR ALL SIZES OF PILLOWCASES.

OTHER BLOG POSTS YOU MAY BE INTERESTED IN:

7 Sewing Machine Presser Feet and How To Use Them

Unpicking Serger Stitches the EASY WAY

SEWING BY HAND | Most Important Stitches to Know

Have fun sewing my friends!

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DIY Upcycled T Shirt Bags | Sew and No-Sew Methods

DIY Upcycled T Shirt Bags

Recycling and upcycling is one of my passions, and making these t-shirt bags is another way to reduce waste and find another use for unwanted clothing. I love these bags! They make great grocery bags, activity bags, and you can even use them as a purse if you want. You will be surprised how durable they are!!

Making and using these DIY T-Shirt bags is great way to reduce waste and recycle unwanted clothing. They make great grocery bags, activity bags, and you can even use them as a purse if you want. You will be surprised how durable they are!!

These bags are super easy and quick to make (10 minutes), and it will help to reduce the pollution of shopping bags. Did you know that one hundred billion grocery bags are used in the United States each year?  This means that the average American family gets 1,500 bags from shopping trips. That’s NOT OK!

That’s a lot of bags. Even if they make it into the garbage, 100 billion bags take up space. Whether they’re stuck in a tree, floating in the breeze or sitting in a trash pile, these bags don’t decompose. Because they’re made from petroleum, toxic chemicals can seep into soil and water.

 

Pollution on land is a problem, but what about these bags when they get in the ocean?  It’s dangerous to animals. Sea turtles, marine mammals and fish confuse the bags with prey, such as jellyfish, and eat the plastic imposters. Ingestion of these bags can lead to malnutrition, and eventually, starvation. Bags can also become caught on waterfowl or coral and wrap around the animals, causing injury or death.

Ok, I think you get the picture. Making and using these upcycled t-shirt bags will help reduce plastic bag pollution. I love that, and I love upcycling t-shirts as most of you know.

I am going to show you two different methods. A no-sew method (in case you don’t have access to a sewing machine) and a simple sewing method.  I prefer the sewing method myself because it is a lot faster!

Let’s jump right into the tutorial.

Upcycled T-Shirt Items & Materials Needed

  • T-shirt
  • Scissors
  • Masking tape (optional no-sew method)
  • Sewing machine/serger (sewing method)
  • Fabric clips/pins (sewing method)

T-Shirt Bag Instructions

NO-SEW METHOD

  • Turn the t-shirt wrong side out.
  • Cut off the sleeve just inside the arm seam.
  • Fold the shirt in half lengthwise.
  • Cut out the bag opening by cutting a deeper neck line. (About the depth of the armholes).
  • Decide how deep you want the bag to be +3 inches/7.5 cm. Cut the bottom off if you want it shorter. You’ll really only need to shorten if you are using a very larger t-shirt.
  • Measure 3 inches/7.5 cm from the bottom of the shirt, take a piece of masking tape or painter’s tape and apply it to the shirt to mark this point.
  • Cut little slits along the bottom of the shirt up to the tape line, ½ -3/4 inches/1 cm apart.
  • Starting from one side, tie one strip from the front to the adjacent strip on the back in a double knot. Continue tying knots until the bottom is all tied.

There will be little holes between the knots. To close those up, take one tie from the first knot and tie it to one of the ties of the second knot in a diagonal manner. Do this to all the knots.

Reinforce the end knots by tying them again.

Flip right side out and there you have it.

T-Shirt Bag Sewing Method

  • Follow the steps for the no-sew method, but instead of cutting the strips, simply sew the bottom closed.

 

  • Set your sewing machine to a LIGHTNING BOLT STITCH or SMALL ZIGZAG STITCH. (SHORT & NARROW).

You can use a serger if you have one.

  • Make a tuck/pleat in the bottom of the bag by folding the sides of the shirt over about 4 inches/10 cm. Clip or pin in place.
  • Use about a ½ inch seam allowance. Sew across the bottom, backstitching at the beginning and end of the seam.
  • Turn right side out and ta-dah you’re all finished. Such an easy project.

Get in your closet and find some t-shirts you no longer want or need and MAKE T-shirt BAGS!

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DIY Baby Bib Tutorial | Reversible

baby bib reversible youmakeitsimple.com

Sewing for babies is the best thing ever. This reversible baby bib is a fun and quick little project that is great for even a beginner seamstress. You can apply snaps or Velcro and it has an optional food pocket.

You can use two different contrasting fabrics, or use the same fabric for both sides. The baby bib can be made with several types of fabric: flannel, terry cloth, quilting cotton, sturdy knit fabrics, or laminate cloth.

These make the best baby gifts! Combine a few bibs with some burp cloths, a mitered corner baby blanket, and a bottle of yummy smelling baby lotion and you’ve got an adorable baby gift, a gift that is made from the heart.

Be sure to check out my other baby tutorials.

Baby Bib Materials and Items Needed

Baby Bib Fabric Choices & Requirements

Bibs can be made using several types of fabrics; flannel, terry cloth, quilting cotton, knit, and Pull laminate finished cloth (used for diapers). 

You can make the baby bib reversible and you can use two different prints or colors.

 

Baby Bib Pattern Assembly

Due to the large size of the pattern, you will need to assemble the pattern first.

Simply fold or cut the dotted line on pattern piece 2 and place it on top of and on the dotted line on piece 1 where indicated.

Tape in place and cut out the chosen size.

There is a size for infants, toddlers, children, or a small teething bib. 

*YOU CAN MAKE THE PATTERN SMALLER OR LARGER. I give you specific instructions in the video on how to easily do that. 

Cutting Out

Fold the fabric in half, lengthwise with selvage edges (the finished edge of fabric) parallel to the fold.

Place the pattern piece so the grain arrow is parallel to the selvage edge. 

baby bib cutting outCut out 2 bibs on the fold. You can double fold and cut all 4 pieces at once if you are using the same fabric for the front and back.

FOOD POCKET (optional)

Cut out a piece of fabric approximately 8 x 12 inches. Fold the fabric in half crosswise and then fold in half again lengthwise.

Place the food pocket pattern along folds where indicated. Cut out one.

 

Sewing Baby Bib

If applying a FOOD POCKET, fold the pocket fabric piece in half lengthwise.

* Adding a tag along the pocket top is a cute addition, but optional. Or you can add a tag in the seam somewhere.

Place the folded pocket on top of one of the bib pieces right side facing up. Align the edges and clip in place.

 

Baste in place using a ½ seam allowance and a long basting stitch. Do not backstitch.

Place the other bib piece right side facing down on top of the other bib piece. Line up edges and clip or pin in place.

You will be leaving about 4 inches unsewn on one of the sides of the bib. (This will allow you to turn the bib inside out).

Starting on one side, sew all the way around using a    3/8 inch seam allowance. Backstitch at the beginning and end of the seam.

Clip outer curves with V notches and inner curves with little slits.

Using a turning stick, poke out the curves and edges.

REMOVE BASTING STITCHES FROM FOOD POCKET

Close the opening you left open by folding the edges in to match seam allowance. Press and clip in place.

baby bib topstitching

Topstitch all the way around using a 1/8 – ¼ inch seam allowance.

Baby Bib Snap Application

You can use KAM snaps, which is what I prefer and use. Or you can use sew-in snaps or even Velcro.

Place the pattern on top of the bib, lining up curves. (Notice: you will be placing two snaps on one side of the bib and only one on the other. This will allow you to adjust the neck size).

Using the awl, that comes with the snap kit, poke the holes where indicated to mark the snap points.

Follow product instructions for the snap or Velcro application.

Tadah!

Here are some other baby projects you may be interested in:

BABY BEANIE HATS

DIY MITERING CORNER BABY BLANKETS

SEWING WITH PLUSH FABRICS

DIY FABRIC LABELS

Have fun sewing!

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How to Use Heat Transfer Paper | NO MIRROR IMAGE NEEDED

heat transfer paper no mirror image

Heat transfer paper is a great way to create custom t-shirts, garments, and one of my favorites, fabric labels. It’s also incredibly easy to use. However, what if the PDF file, image, or text you’re trying to print needs to have a “mirror image” or “flipped image” and the printer you own DOES NOT HAVE THAT OPTION?

This tutorial will show you a simple workaround that allows you to create a heat transfer paper iron-on without the need to “mirror” the image!

Some of you may relate to the frustration that can be experienced when you go to print something out on heat transfer paper and, there is nothing in your printer queue stating “mirror image” or “flip image”. WHAT ARE YOU SUPPOSED TO DO?

I have a tutorial showing you how to make your own fabric labels and in the instructions, it tells you to “mirror the image” when printing. There are a lot of folks out there with printers that don’t have that option. Until now, I didn’t know of any way to get around it, other than to find another printer that does.

One of my followers shared with me a great solution, and I am so excited to tell you all about it! The SECRET is in the type of heat transfer paper you are using.

How does heat transfer paper work?

The process involves printing a design or photo onto a sheet of transfer paper. (You can use an inkjet or laser printer). Then you place the paper onto the shirt or fabric and apply heat and pressure using an iron. Pretty simple!

There are two types of heat transfer papers. One is for LIGHT COLOR fabrics and the other for DARK COLOR fabrics. You may be asking why this matters. Well, it does.

They both have different characteristics and methods of application and that is what is going to allow you to print without flipping the image. I’ll explain the differences below.

LIGHT FABRIC HEAT TRANSFER PAPER:

  • Is used mainly to apply on white or very light-colored fabrics
  • It has a very thin transparent film that is not visible if used on light color fabrics. You can see in the photo below what it would look like to apply light-colored transfer paper to dark fabric, not so great looking.
  • Is thin enough to result in a texture that feels like a screen print
  • When applying light-colored transfer paper, you place the paper face down on the fabric before ironing.
  • After the heat is applied and the paper cools, you remove the backing sheet
  • You’ll need to “mirror” the image before printing!

DARK FABRIC HEAT TRANSFER PAPER:

  • Is more opaque in order to prevent the color of the fabric from showing through the image
  • When applying dark colored transfer paper, you place the paper RIGHT SIDE FACING UP
  • Is thicker and can feel a bit like a sticker on the fabric
  • No “MIRRORING IMAGE” required!
  • Can be used on light-colored fabric as well as dark fabric
  • You peel off the backing sheet BEFORE IRONING onto the fabric
  • ***Any white areas of the print that you don’t want to show, like a border, you need to trim away before ironing!

In the photo above, the labels on the left were made with the dark transfer paper. The labels on the right were made with the light fabric transfer paper. 

As you can see, the ink on the labels on the left is much more crisp and darker. One of the benefits of using this type of transfer paper.

There is one more thing that you need to consider before buying heat transfer paper 

Will you be using an inkjet or laser printer?

There ARE specific papers for both types of printers and it does make a difference. So, if you have an inkjet printer, you’ll need to get INKJET TRANSFER PAPER. If you have a laser printer, buy LASER TRANSFER PAPER. If you are not sure what type you have, google the model number and it will tell you. Most printers will have laser or inkjet in the title of the printer.

Then choose a LIGHT or DARK FABRIC heat transfer paper. They have both for both types of printers.

Ok, now that we have that covered, let’s get back to the

NO MIRROR IMAGE WORK-AROUND

Materials & Items Needed

*You can use white fabric with the DARK fabric transfer sheets.

Instructions

  • For best results, you should always pre-wash and dry to preshrink your fabric (even if the label says “Preshrunk”) because if it shrinks later, the transfer will crack!.
  • Place a sheet of heat transfer paper to your printer paper tray
  • There is no need to adjust the PAPER TYPE setting on the printer, just use the regular paper setting.
  • Print out the image, PDF, or text just as you would a normal document. NO NEED TO MIRROR OR FLIP THE IMAGE.
  • WAIT 30 MINUTES BEFORE IRONING ONTO FABRIC, for the ink to dry completely
  • Place a cotton pillowcase, towel, or cloth onto a hard surface
  • Plug in the iron and empty all water from the iron.
  • Change the setting to NO STEAM!
  • When making cloth labels, I print and apply a whole sheet onto a piece of white cloth. (An upcycled white, cotton pillowcase works great). Then I trim them down to size.
  • If you are applying the transfer paper to a ribbon, or small piece of fabric, trim the paper to size before pressing.
  • Peel off the back paper. (No need to worry about it sticking to anything, it is not sticky).
  • Arrange the transfer sheet onto the t-shirt/fabric FACING UP, where you want it to be.
  • Place the PARCHMENT PAPER that comes with the package of paper, on top of the transfer. Make sure it is totally covered!
  • With firm pressure, apply the hot over the transfer for 15-20 seconds in each position (start in middle and work in circular fashion towards the outer edge to eliminate bubbles) until the entire transfer has been covered. Heat the entire surface again using a circular motion.
  • Allow parchment paper to cool before removing.
  • If making labels, cut the labels to size and apply them to your projects.

Heat Transfer Paper Washing Instructions

The transfers will feel a bit stiff when new. This feel will become softer after washing. Always turn the garment inside out and wash in warm or cold water. Plain detergent is ok but do not use bleach or detergents containing whiteners, brighteners, bleaches, etc.

Remove from washer immediately and tumble dry on low or air setting. If the garment needs ironing, don’t iron directly on the transfer; cover it with baking parchment.

There you have it. I hope you found this helpful.

Be sure to check out my tutorial on HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN FABRIC LABELS. Adding a cute label to your sewing projects really adds a professional and charming look.

 

I would love to see some of the items you’ve made and the labels you’ve made. Feel free to tag some photos on my INSTAGRAM PAGE, #YOUMAKEITSIMPLE.

Some other posts you may be interested in:

How to Download and Print PDF Sewing Patterns | Step by Step Tutorial

How to Assemble and Organize PDF Sewing Patterns

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Cool Zipper Upcycling

zipper recycling youmakeitsimple.com

As many of you know I’m really into upcycling and recycling items, and clothing is one of them. In this tutorial, I’m going to show you how to deconstruct an item of clothing for some really cool zipper upcycling.

Benefits of Zipper Upcycling

  • You can save a little money
  • Avoid a trip to the fabric store
  • Recycle material (which is always a good thing for the planet)
  • You can have a better selection of zipper colors
  • Add a professional and unique look to your sewing projects by using zippers with zipper pulls that have a little character and charm. It’s hard to find zippers at the store with cool zipper pulls.

What Kind of Zippers To Look For

  • As mentioned before, look for zippers that have unique ZIPPER PULLS.  (There are some cute vintage, leather, metal, beaded, and fabric pulls out there on existing clothing). Keep your eye out!
  • Unique colors of zippers    
  • Good, sturdy zippers for projects that require a DURABLE ZIPPPER
  • All sizes of zippers (short, long and extra-long)
  • Zippers that are in good condition and are free of stains
  • Separating zippers and non-separating zippers

Items To Use For Zipper Upcycling 

If you are getting rid of an item that you no longer want or need and it has a COOL ZIPPER in it, save it!  I have been known to buy items at the thrift store just for the zipper. YEP! There are all kinds of items that you can find a zipper in.

  • Clothing
  • Bags & purses are a good place to find heavy-duty, DURABLE ZIPPERS.
  • Couch and chair slipcovers have LONG ZIPPERS.
  • Jacket & Coats
  • Sweaters can even have fun zippers in them

How To Deconstruct Clothing For Zipper Upcycling

All you’ll need is a pair of FABRIC SCISSORS, a SEAM RIPPER, and YOUR ITEM OF CLOTHING.

  1. zipper upcycling cut out of clothesCut the zipper out of the clothing. This makes the process so much easier! There is less bulk to work with and if you don’t feel like unpicking right then, you can save it in your zipper bin and unpick it later.
  2. zipper upcycling seam rippingTake the end of the zipper and pull the fabric away from the zipper to expose the stitches. Slide the tip of the seam ripper into one or more of the stitches and cut the threads. Pull the zipper tape away from the fabric to expose more stitches. (The first stitches are the hardest to navigate).
  3. Zipper upcycling unpickingContinue ripping threads and pulling all the way down the zipper. (Sometimes you can rip both sides of the zipper seam at the same time).  Remove any cut threads that are lingering on the zipper and place the zipper in a bin or use the zipper straight away on a fun sewing project or craft.

Zipper upcycling is the BEST! Stay tuned. I’ll be sharing some fun ways to use your upcycled zippers both on sewing and craft projects! If you haven’t signed up for blog updates, you can do that HERE. Let me know what you want topics you want to be notified on.

Play Video

Happy Upcycling!

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T-Shirt Yarn | Made From Upcycled T-Shirts

T-Shirt Yarn youmakeitsimple.com

In this post, I’m going to show you how to make t-shirt yarn from upcycled t-shirts. As some of you know, upcycling is one of my passions and I get a little excited about recycling items of clothing, and t-shirts are one of them.

In a previous post, I have shared some different ideas of how to use upcycled t-shirts. and you can find them here. But for now, let me show you how to make t-shirt yarn.

What can you do with T-Shirt Yarn?

Oh, baby, this stretchy yarn is the best! I have been making it for years, and it comes in handy for so many things. You can use it just like you would yarn and twine.

  • Gift Wrapping
  • Face Mask Ties
  • Crochet it (rugs, bags, etc.)
  • Bracelets
  • Rugs (wrap method-STAY TUNED FOR A FUN TUTORIAL
  • Shoelaces
  • Colorful Decoration (place them in a cute basket for display)

How to Choose the Right T-Shirt for T-shirt Yarn

The best scenario is to find a t-shirt that doesn’t have side seams and is just one continuous piece of fabric. That is ideal, but they’re not as easy to find, but don’t worry because I’m going to show you a really slick way to join the seams and how to cut off that bulky side and make it flow a lot nicer if you have to use a shirt with seams.

I like to find t-shirts that have a little bit of synthetic content and stretch to them. T-shirts that are 100% cotton tend to fray and don’t stretch as well. (It all depends on what you’re using the yarn for).

Don’t limit yourself to just t-shirts. You can use knit dresses and skirts too. Check out this post where I give some helpful tips on upcycling t-shirts.

Materials & Items Needed

  • Scissors
  • Rotary Cutter/Ruler (optional but recommended)
  • Sewing Machine/Needle & Thread (optional)

Using Printed T-Shirt Fabric

TAKE NOTE: If you have a t-shirt that has a cute print that you want to be shown, you’ll need to cut the fabric differently. If you cut the strips horizontally, what happens when you pull the strips to stretch the yarn it is going to curl with the wrong side of the fabric showing on the outside. This is fine if you are using a plain color fabric. But if you want the print exposed, you’ll need to cut the fabric strips vertically.

Most people don’t know this and I don’t want you to be all bummed when you go to pull your strips and the cute print is not visible, just something to consider.

Follow the cutting instructions for printed fabric below. If the t-shirt you are using has a logo or screen print, you’ll want to cut around that as well.  

How big should you cut the strips?

You can cut the strips in different sizes, just depends on what you’re going to use them for. I recommend cutting different size strips on a sleeve and then pulling the strips to see what they look like. Try 1, 1 ½, and 2-inch strips. All fabrics will react a little differently.

Cutting Strips with NO SIDE SEAM T-Shirts

Remove the bottom hem. I really like using a rotary cutter because you get a very straight edge!

Flatten your t-shirt out and fold it in half lengthwise, but leave it unfolded two inches. *Something to consider, if the shirt has a logo on it, you don’t want this in your strips, so cut around it.

Cut from armpit to armpit as shown here. Cut the desired width of strips horizontally, BUT DO NOT CUT ALL THE WAY ACROSS! Stop cutting just past the fold of the top layer. Continue cutting strips all the way up the shirt.

 

On the last strip cut it all the way off and remove the top of the shirt. As you can see there’s a section that’s not cut and this is where the magic happens! Slide your arm between the layers and adjust it so the uncut area is accessible over your arm. This makes it easier to cut than cutting on a table.

As indicated on the drawing, start cutting through the single layer of fabric on the bottom strip at an angle to the end of the cut edge. On the next layer cut from one end to the other ON A DIAGANOL!  Follow that same pattern until you’ve cut all strips.

 

Cutting Strips on T-Shirts with SIDE SEAMS

You can follow the same procedure if you don’t mind bulky seams in your yarn. This may be fine for some craft projects, but if you’re crocheting something, this seam will be very bulky. I will show you below how to join the pieces without all the bulk.

If you want to cut strips and sew them together, cut off the side seams and then cut strips to the size you want. Follow the instructions below on how to piece strips together.

Cutting Strips of PRINTED FABRIC

Remove the bottom hem and remove the sleeves. Instead of folding the t-shirt over vertically, fold the bottom edge up to the neckband. Cut off side seams and then cut vertical strips to your desired width. You will need to piece strips together.

 

How to Piece Strips Together

Before sewing strips together, pull the strip ends that you are going to sew together to see which side curls in. Put the curling sides facing down flatten it out and take the other strip that you’re joining together and place it on top of the strip with the curling side facing up.

Place them at right angles overlapping just about a 1/4 inch at the top and on the side. It doesn’t really matter if it’s more, but it needs to be at least a quarter inch. Sew from notch to notch at an angle using a ¼ inch seam allowance.

Clip fabric and leave a 1/4 inch seam allowance. Clip away the two little ear tags. When you open up the seam it’s at a diagonal and when you pull it, the seam will be tucked inside. You may be wondering why you can’t just sew it at a straight angle. Doing it this way distributes the seam at an angle so it’s tucked inside and less bulky. Pretty cool huh?

So if you can’t find t-shirts without seams, you can join them this way and it works really well. If you really needed to, you could do this by using a needle and thread as well

Pulling Strips to Make T-Shirt Yarn

To finish the strips into yarn, simply pull the strips. When you pull the strips, they’ll curl onto themselves making a nice yarn. Wrap strips into a ball and place them in a cute basket.

Who would have thought that you can make yarn from an upcycled t-shirts! This is such a fun thing and it’s easy to do.

So go through your closets and find some cute colors of t-shirts and make yarn!

Print the FREE PDF infographic below.

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Yummy Crispy Kale Chips | 4 Seasoning Options

Kale Chips youmakeitsimple.com

When it comes to healthy snacks, kale chips are one of my favorites! These chips are yummy, crispy, and easy to make. I am going to show you four different seasoning options.

Why is kale so healthy?

Kale is among the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet. Eating more kale is a great way to dramatically increase the total nutrient content of your diet.

It’s loaded with:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin K
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin B6
  • Manganese
  • Calcium
  • Copper
  • Potassium
  • Magnesium

It also contains vitamin B1 (thiamin), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), iron, and phosphorus

Get the full scoop HERE.

kale chips types of kale

There are several different types of kale. The most common are Curly, Red, and Lacinato. Any of these types of kale will make great kale chips and it is just your preference as they all have different characteristics.

oven pre heat

Kale Chips Preparation

Preheat oven to 250°

cutting out spine of kale

Cut out the spine: The center spine of kale is dense and fibrous and you’ll want to cut or rip it off. I find that cutting along the spine with a knife is the quickest and most efficient.

Rip or cut the kale into uniform pieces, about 3 inches. (It will shrink significantly while baking).

Clean the kale: Place the kale in a big bowl of water. Swish around to clean it well. Drain.

Dry: The key to a crispy kale chip is to make sure it is completely dry! I like to use a “salad spinner” and then pat the kale dry with a dishcloth.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Now the kale is ready to add your choice of seasoning.

sea salt kale chips

Simple Sea Salt & Olive Oil Kale Chips

Ingredients:

  • One bunch of Kale
  • 2 tsp. Olive Oil (approximate)
  • Sea Salt

 

ranch kale chips

Ranch Seasoned Kale Chips

Ingredients:

nutritional yeast kale chips

Cheesy Kale Chips

Ingredients:

  • One bunch of Kale
  • 2 tsp. Olive Oil (approximate)
  • Approximately 2 TB Nutritional Yeast

Sesame Seeds & Olive Oil

Ingredients:

  • One bunch of Kale
  • 2 tsp. Olive Oil (approximate)
  • 1 -2 TB raw Sesame Seeds
kale chips baking

Kale Chips Baking Instructions

Place kale on a lined baking sheet so that the leaves are NOT OVERLAPPING, and then put the pans in the oven. Bake for 20 minutes.

Remove from the oven and flip leaves over. Put the pans back in the oven and bake another 10 minutes. (If you are using two baking sheets, rotate the one on top to the bottom).

 ***Some types of kale will cook faster than others, so it’s a good idea to just peek in and check them. You don’t want to overcook. When the kale is crisp, remove it from the oven.

storing kale chips

How to Store Kale Chips

If you’re not going to eat them straight away, store them in a glass container with a tight-fitting lid.

They will be good for up to a week, if they last that long.

There you have it, a yummy, crispy AND healthy snack. Enjoy!

Yummy Crispy Kale Chips | 4 Seasoning Options

Kale Chips youmakeitsimple.com

A yummy, crispy and healthy snack. The recipe includes four savory seasoning options. 

  • Prep Time10 min
  • Cook Time30 min
  • Total Time40 min
  • Ready in40
  • Yield4 cups
  • Serving Size1/2 cup

Ingredients

Sea Salt Kale Chips

    • One bunch of Kale
    • 2 tsp. Olive Oil (approximate)
    • Sea Salt
     

Ranch Seasoned Kale Chips

Cheesy Kale Chips

    • One bunch of Kale
    • 2 tsp. Olive Oil (approximate)
    • Approximately 2 TB Nutritional Yeast

Sesame Seeds & Olive Oil Kale Chips

    • Sesame Seeds & Olive Oil
    • One bunch of Kale
    • 2 tsp. Olive Oil (approximate)
    • 1 -2 TB raw Sesame Seeds

INSTUCTIONS

1

Place kale on lined baking sheet so that the leaves are NOT OVERLAPPING, and then put the pans in the oven

 
2

Bake for 20 minutes.

3

Remove from the oven and flip leaves over. Put the pans back in the oven and bake another 10 minutes. (If you are using two baking sheets, rotate the one on top to the bottom).

***Some types of kale will cook faster than others, so it’s a good idea to just peek in and check them. You don’t want to overcook. 

4

When the kale is crisp, remove from the oven.

5

If you’re not going to eat them straight away, store them in a glass container with a tight fitting lid.

They will be good for up to a week, if they last that long.

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Sewing With Plush Fabric | Tips & Tricks

Sewing With Plush Fabric

Items made with plush fabric are the coziest things ever; however, sewing with plush fabric can be a little tricky. In this post I am going to give you some great tips & tricks that will make the sewing process a lot easier and save you a lot of grief!

What Is Plush Fabric?

The fabrics that are considered “plush” are:

  • Faux Fur                 
  • Fleece
  • Minky (also known as “Cuddle” fabric
  • Velvet
  • Chenille
  • Velveteen

These fabrics usually have a “nap” to them. If you run your hand up and down the fabric, they’ll be smoother in one direction and may even look a shade different in color.

plush fabric blanket

What do you do with plush fabric?

These cozy fabrics make really nice toys, blankets, pillows and jackets. It’s not just for babies! We, adults, deserve to have something COZY! 

The fabric is available in solids, prints, embossed and double-sided. Embossed Cuddle is a favorite. You get softness plus a subtle design that pops up from the nap, such as the classic dimple as well as hearts, stars, paisley, and more. Next time you’re at the fabric store, check and see what they have available.

You can buy the fabric by the yard, or you can upcycle a throw blanket or item of clothing (like I like to do). The bunny in the photo below was made from an upcycled fleece jacket.

PLUSCH FABRIC BUNNY

Sewing With Plush Fabric Tips & Tricks

  • Things are going to get messy! Plush fabric sheds when cut; use a rotary cutter to minimize fuzz. After cutting, place pieces in a dryer with a damp washcloth on low heat for about 10 minutes. Keep a lint roller, masking tape, and vacuum handy.

plush fabric stretch

  • This fabric has some stretch to it. It stretches on the crosswise grain but very little along the lengthwise grain (parallel to the selvages). If you are sewing two pieces of fabric together, it’s important to line up stretch with stretch and the grain with the grain, or you’ll get twisting and uneven seams.

plush fabric pinning

  • Use a lot of pins! This fabric will do a lot of shifting from the time you pin until the time you actually sew, so place a lot of pins to hold things in place. I love these long, floral tip pins. It makes them easy to see, so you don’t accidentally leave pins in your projects. 
  • Attach a walking foot, if you have one. If you are going to be sewing on these types of fabrics, it’s well worth the investment. Most sewing machines have one available if it doesn’t come with one. It makes a huge difference when sewing on the fleece, Minky, upcycled sweaters, etc. *If you don’t have one, be sure to hold the bottom layer of fabric a little more firmly when sewing. What happens is, the bottom fabric gets fed through the machine more quickly and you’ll get uneven sewing.
  • If you’re sewing a different type of fabric together with the plush, place the plush fabric on the bottom when sewing.
  • Use a ballpoint needle, 90/14 (Ge my NEEDLE GUIDE HERE).
  • Set your stitch length to a longer-than-normal stitch (3-4) to keep seams from puckering.
  • Do not use an iron. The fabric can melt!
  • Use a slightly bigger seam allowance. I like to use a ½ inch seam allowance when sewing on plush.
  • Using a rotary cutter will give you a cleaner cut edge.
  • If sewing together with a different type of fabric, especially cotton, be sure to wash the cotton piece first! Plush fabric will not shrink, but the cotton will.

Sewing with plush fabric is really not that bad once you get the hang of it. I wished I would have known this stuff before I attempted my first plush fabric project.

I have a video tutorial showing you how to make a plush self-binding blanket, and I go over these tips in it. WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE.

You may also find the fleece binding tutorial helpful.

Check out my sewing patterns HERE.

I hope this was helpful and that you’re now ready and excited to make a fun baby blanket or teddy bear.

Paper Tulips DIY | Simple Craft Tutorial

paper tulips youmakeitsimple.com

Who knew you can make cute little paper tulips from simple square pieces of paper? This is a simple craft tutorial that even children can handle and enjoy.  You’ll have a bouquet made up in no time at all.

 

Display these paper tulips in a vase, embellish a gift package, or write a fun little note on the leaf.

One of my most favorite ideas is to use them as name tags in a spring luncheon place setting. So cute!

WATCH THE VIDEO TUTORIAL BELOW

Play Video

FLOWER INSTRUCTIONS

Cut out paper 5 x 5 inches/12.5 cm

Fold in half and crease the paper. Open up and fold in half again. Crease the paper.

Open up and apply 1 ½ inch/3.5 cm strips of tape just to the right of each fold, (about ¾ inch/2cm from the edge of paper).

Pinch all four creases to form a little cup.

Round off the side angles by trimming with scissors.

Take the wire and bend one end over about ½ inch/1 cm.

Apply one or two drops of craft glue inside the bottom center of the flower.

Poke the unbent end of the wire into the center of the tulip and pull it down until the bent end is secure inside the base of the flower. Pinch to secure it in place.

 

PAPER TULIP LEAF INSTRUCTIONS

Fold a green sheet of paper over about 2 inches/5cm, and using the provided template trace around the leaf. (PLACE TEMPLATE ON FOLD WHERE INDICATED).

Cut out as many leaves as you need.

If you want to write a little note or name on the leaf, do it now before gluing it to the stem.

Open up the leaf and apply glue. (I prefer using a glue stick).

Place the stem along the inside of the crease of the leaf and fold leaf onto itself to close.

Ta-dah! Now continue to make up as many tulips as you wish.

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Tissue Paper Blossoms | Quick & Simple Craft

These DIY tissue paper blossoms are the cutest thing ever! It’s a quick & simple craft project that even the little ones can help make.

Bring a splash of spring color into your home or office with these beautiful little tissue paper blossoms.

WATCH THE VIDEO TUTORIAL BELOW

TISSUE PAPER BLOSSOMS MATERIALS & ITEMS NEEDED:

  • Tissue paper (Shades of pink or white)
  • Paper scissors
  • Hot glue gun/craft glue
  • Thin branches
  • Pruners
  • Vase or jar to put them in

INSTRUCTIONS

You can use all shades of pink or white sheets of tissue paper.

Go out into your yard and cut 5-6 small, thin branches. If you don’t have bushes or trees in your yard, ask your neighbor if they have a few branches to spare. (Most likely they’d love for you to prune their fruit trees or bushes).

 

Cut tissue paper into 2 inch/5cm strips.

Fold the strip in half horizontally and cut small scallops about every inch/2.5 cm. Cut about ¾ of the way down the paper.

Open the strip up and cut to separate every 5 or so blossoms.

Before separating sheets of paper, curl the petals. To curl the petals, use a closed pair of scissors, just like you would to curl gift wrapping ribbon.

Take one of the petal sheets and start rolling and gathering the bottom of the paper.

When finished, twist the bottom of the blossom tightly.

Set aside and repeat the process as many times until you have as many blossoms as you would like.

 

Using a glue gun, apply a dab of glue onto the branch where you would like a blossom and firmly place a blossom to the glue.

That’s it! When you have 5-6 branches ready, place them in a canning jar or vase.

Place them on your countertop, kitchen table, or office desk. Enjoy a little spring color in your home or office.

I love these tissue paper blossoms and I hope you do too.

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DIY Apple Watch Elastic Watch Band

For those of you who have Apple Watches, here is a fun little tutorial showing you how to make your own elastic watch band.

Having the ability to switch out your watch band now and again is kinda nice. I am going to show you how to make a band using elastic. This is a quick 10-minute project.

There are several different options for elastic out there. You can make the band as wide or narrow as would like, as long as it fits into the hardware. Check your fabric stores for the “foldover” elastic. I find it’s a lot softer than the waistband elastic.  A lot of people use this elastic to make headbands with. If you’re lucky you can find some with fun designs woven into them. Here is a link for the foldover elastic that has a good variety of colors.

watch band items needed

Watch Band Items Needed

  • Measuring tape
  • Sewing elastic (3/4 inch-1 inch)
  • Apple band adapters
  • Sewing machine
  • Scissors
  • Straight pins

Instructions

Measure your wrist at the location where you wear your watch.

Subtract ½ inch.

Cut the elastic to that measurement.

Measure 5/8 inch from both edges and mark with a pin.

Fold the ends over at the pin point and then fold under again ¼ inch.

Topstitch along the folded edge to hold in place. Backstitch at the beginning and end of the seam. (Do this for both sides)

Take the screw that comes with the adapter kit and unscrew the TINY screw until the little arm of the holder releases.

Pivit the arm out so you can slide the elastic onto it.

VERY IMPORTANT!!!!!!! The adapter has a topside and an underside. The underside will have a little button in the center that is used to release it from the watch. THAT BUTTON NEEDS TO BE PLACED ON THE UNDERSIDE, SO MAKE SURE YOUR WATCH BAND IS PLACED ACCORDINGLY.

watch band tighten screw

Once you have the band onto the adapter, place the arm back into position and screw in place.

(These screws are teeny tiny, so be careful not to drop and loose them).

 

Do this on both sides and you are finished.

WATCH THE VIDEO TUTORIAL BELOW

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How To Assemble and Organize PDF Sewing Patterns

PDF sewing pattern assembly youmakeitsimple.com

In this post, I am going to give you some tips on how to assemble and organize your PDF sewing patterns. Using digital PDF sewing patterns can:

  • Save you money
  • They are easy to access and archive
  • Open up a lot of online sewing pattern choices

In a previous post, I showed how to download and print your PDF patterns. Now I’m going to go over how to put them together and store them.

Play Video

I used to have a drawer full of miscellaneous patterns that were pinned together and it was a mess. Then I tried storing them in small white envelopes, and then I put those in a pretty white box with a lid, but that didn’t work so well for me.

Because the envelopes were small, the bundles were BULKY and it took a lot of time to get the cover to look nice. I’m going to show you how I organize my patterns.

Let’s go over how to assemble your PDF sewing pattern

If you’re lucky, the pattern will have a diagram guide somewhere on the pattern on how to put the pages together. Some instructions are more complex than others, depending on how many pages are included to form one pattern piece.

After you have printed out the pattern, there are a few things to look for before assembling the pattern.

Materials & items needed

  • Any special cutting instructions
  • Seam allowance
  • Size indicator/chart
  • Special tools or equipment needed
  • Fabric and thread recommendations
  • Presser feet or sewing machine attachments needed

Suggested Items Needed To Assemble and Organize PDF Patterns

 

Before doing anything, make sure the pattern has printed the correct size. Most patterns will have a test square to measure to see if the pattern has printed true to size. VERY IMPORTANT!

Using the diagram from the instructions, line up the sheets of paper in the correct order.

On my patterns, I use a blue box on most patterns to indicate the connecting points on the sheets of paper. To reduce bulk, cut off one side and the bottom of the sheet (on the blue line). I like to use an Exacto knife, but you can just use scissors.

Attach the sheets together by using clear tape or masking tape.

Make sure things are lined up correctly and then cut out the size you need.

The beautiful thing about digital patterns is that, if you are going to make up the same item but need a different size, you can just print the pattern section again and cut out that size needed.

Storing & Organizing PDF Sewing Patterns

There are many ways to organize your patterns. Find the system that works best for your situation, sewing space, and is to your liking.

This is the way that I find works best for me.

 

I use simple manilla envelopes that measure 9 x 12 inches and have a clasp. You can get it at a good price HERE.

Instead of printing a separate sheet for the cover, I just glue the front sheet of the pattern to the envelope. It will have the title of the pattern, and usually a photo. It’s pretty simple and straight forward.

Then I store them in these cardboard magazine organizers. I suppose if you wanted to get real fancy, you could buy the more sturdy plastic organizers.

If you have a ton of patterns, you can sort them in different containers with the categories written on the boxes. (i.e.: BABY, TODDLER, HOUSEHOLD PATTERNS, WOMEN, etc.).

I hope that was helpful and inspires you to take advantage of the goodness of digital PDF sewing patterns and gives you a few ideas on how to get them organized.

GET MY PDF SEWING PATTERNS HERE

Happy sewing and organizing!

 

 

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How To Make Beaded Coasters From Upcycled Sweaters

upcycled sweater beaded coasters youmakeitsimple.com

Coasters do more than protect your tables and counters. They can also add a pop of color to your room and give your cup of coffee or tea a happy place to land. In this tutorial, I’m going to show you how to make beaded coasters from upcycled sweaters.

 

Adding beads around the edges using the BLANKET STITCH, really gives the coasters texture and color. You can make them any shape you desire, however, I have the FREE PDF download for the circle and heart that you can get HERE.

This is a fun, relaxing, and easy project AND a set of these make great gifts!

WATCH THE VIDEO TUTORIAL BELOW

 

Play Video

BEADED COASTERS ITEMS NEEDED

  • Upcycled felted wool sweater/thick pieces of felt can also be used. (I hope you’ve been saving your sweater scraps)!upcycled felted wool sweater scraps
  • Embroidery thread (2-3 yards) Quilting thread can also be used especially for smaller beads.
  • Embroidery needle (make sure the beads you are using will fit through the needle).
  • Scissors
  • Beads of your choice (glass seed beads are a good option)
  • Sewing machine for quilting (OPTIONAL)

BEADED COASTERS INSTRUCTIONS

    1. Cut out two circles (4.5 x 4.5 inches – 11.5 x 11.5 cm) * If you have a very thick felted sweater, only use one layer.
    2. Separate the embroidery thread into 3 strands.
    3. Thread the needle and knot the end.
    4. Place the beads you want to use onto a spare piece of sweater or fabric to make loading beads easier.
    5. Stack two circles on top of each other and line up the edges. If using the heart shape, start stitching at the notch of the heart.
    6. Insert the needle between the two pieces of fabric about ¼ inch/ .5 cm from the edge. Take one stitch and poke the needle out at the edge of the fabric. Load a bead onto the needle and begin the BLANKET STITCH.
    7. Take a stitch and make a loop, pull the needle through the loop MAKING SURE THE BEAD IS ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE THREAD. Pull the thread taught and load another bead.
    8. Continue this process all the way around.
    9. To finish, take a tiny stitch, knot the thread. Insert the needle into the fabric close to the stitch and out between the two layers. Cut the thread.

You can leave the coaster just like this or you can quilt it or embroider a design in the center to give it a more dense texture.

If you want to use the sewing machine, attach the quilting foot and free-sew whatever design you want.

That’s it! Make a set for yourself and make some for your friends!

I’d love to see what you come up with. Tag your finished coasters on Instagram . youmakeitsimple.

****If you want to know about FELTING WOOL SWEATERS, check out this post.

WATCH THE VIDEO HERE.

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