Friday, October 21, 2016

Fave Raglan Shirt Patterns + Spooky Cats for Halloween & Beyond!

Halloween season is usually one of my craftiest times of the year, but there barely seems time to get it all up here on the blog before the big day has passed!  I'd planned to show lots of fun photos for today, but the weather had other ideas, so I've got to settle for the few snaps I took beforehand.

With my kids getting older it's sometimes harder to do holiday sewing.  A lot of prints are too babyish or are so gender specific that I can't use it for both my sons and daughter.  And realistically, I can't see spending loads on fabric that will be in-season for about a month and then be out of season and outgrown by next year.

For Halloween this year I was determined to find my perfect fit and I think I found it.  One of my favorite places for great knit fabric, Sahara Fabrics, released this awesome Spooky Black Cat Cotton Spandex and I knew I had to buy some and make some fun shirts for the kids:

It's got the Halloween vibe, but can still be worn long after the pumpkins get put away and the solid Lime knit I also bought was a perfect match to those green cat eyes. Most importantly, it's a print both my little 7yr old daughter and older 10 and 14yr old sons can wear and enjoy:

Custom print knit fabrics like this are typically more expensive than the stuff you can get at the chain stores or bigger fabric websites, but the quality is hands down better.  I'll admit I used to only buy the cheap stuff, but it was temperamental to sew with and the weight was always super flimsy or too heavy.  Lesson learned? If you want to make nice knit clothing, get the good stuff.  I bought 1.5 yds of this fabric and, by pairing it with some less expensive green solid for my daughter's and some basic black rib knit for my guys, I was able to make 3 shirts.  I even have about 1/4yd leftover I can use to make undies or doll clothes or some other small projects, so it made it pretty economical.  

To make things easy I turned to one of my new favorite shirt patterns, McCalls 7379, which is quick to sew and really versatile for the bigger kids.  I used it to make this Harry Potter print shirt a while back too:

Fun prints look so good with the style and the cut it makes it easy to match up the sides and seams of directional prints like this one.

I drafted my daughter's smaller shirt pattern myself, modifying my previous Raglan Cowl Dress:

I just shortened the length and switched to a neck binding instead of the cowl.  Next time I'll probably cut the binding a little shorter so it stretches more and lies flatter (neckbands that stick up drive me crazy) - I've notice that's needed when not using rib knit, like I did here:

Now we've got some fun shirts that look spooktacular and will still be fun to wear the rest of the cool weather season too:)

I was not compensated for this post.  Although Sahara Fabrics is an advertiser, I purchased this knit fabric myself and was not required to review or promote this fabric or their shop.  The opinions are completely my own, based on my experience. For my complete disclosure policy, click here. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Faux Fur Custom Wig Tutorial & Easy DIY Mad Scientist Costume

Today's how-to is one I'm really excited about.  It's one of those things I knew could be DIY'd despite never trying it before and the results were just as I hoped.  Check out my DIY Faux Fur Wig!

Why settle for those nasty cheap plastic wigs from the Halloween stores?  Those never look as good on as they do in the promotional photos and they tend to be uncomfortable & ill-fitting to boot.  Making your own with faux fur is actually pretty easy and looks so much more fun when done.  go for a variety of looks too by using different colors, textures and lengths of fur - or even changing direction, like I did, to give it a proper mad hairstyle:  

It's even got a comfy interior so no scratchy netting or weird plastic bits to make it hard to wear and it's customized size means it stays in place too:

My oldest decided to be a mad scientist for Halloween this year.  To be honest, after years of making complicated costumes for 3 kids, I was grateful I'd barely have to do anything for this one.  Buying a kid-sized lab coat was inexpensive (and way easier than making one), so the only other part of the costume was the requisite crazy scientist hair. The trouble was I couldn't see spending $ on a crappy synthetic wig that would get all matted and ruined after just a night's wear.

I had a bunch of this colorful faux fur in my stash from making my signature Monster Slippers for my shop (which is on hiatus due to all my time being focused on personal projects right now).  

The lime shade had the proper radioactive vibe to it. There just had to be a way to turn that fun, fluffy fur into a wig.  I know how to make a lot of fun hats, but I wanted a definite wig, not hat, look. My internet searches kept coming up empty.  How could no one have done it already?!?  50,000 infinity scarf tutorials, but not one fake fur into a wig how-to!  

Eventually, I found a genius custom doll wig tutorial using faux fur from Tiny Electic Studio. I thought the general concept could totally work for a real person head too, but needed a bit more done for the interior, since it wouldn't be glued on like a doll.  With some innovations, my human-sized Faux Fur Wig Tutorial came to life!

Now, let's get to making this wig!

- Box of cling film
- Roll of packing tape
- 1/4yd faux fur fabric
- 1/4yd fleece fabric
- Permanent marker
- Shears, disappearing marker, hand sewing needle+thread
- Small clips or pins

- Seam ripper

To create a custom pattern I used the doll tutorial's idea of taking a big rectangle of cling film and folded it 4 times (mine ended up being about 12in x 16in for a big kid):

Plop it onto the recipient's head and press down to get the general head shape.  Then start adding strips of the packing tape to hold the shape, front to back, side to side, around the bend...basically all directions:

Once it's pretty solid (no flimsy bits of cling film exposed), trim around the front and ears as desired.  We're getting a swim cap vibe at this point:

Also trim the nape of the neck.  The light totally makes this look like a tin foil helmet, but I swear we're not crazy...yet:

Ok, time to turn this cellophane cap into a pattern!  Run the permanent marker along the side areas from front to back (figure where you'd side part hair or use the arches of the eyebrows as your guide), kind of like the seams of a baseball:

Then do a horizontal line across the middle at the crown:

Cut the helmet apart along the lines to get the pattern pieces.  I then cut into the sides of the pieces, where they curved up, about 1/4 inch inwards, just so they would flatten out better when cutting the fabric to get a truer fit.  Lay the pieces on the fabric, right side of the pattern facing the wrong side of the fabric and trace 1/4 inch outward from the pattern all the way around (to include a seam allowance):

Repeat with all the pieces using the fleece:

And do the same with the faux fur.  Try to shove the longer hairs of the fur inward, away from the pattern edges, before cutting so you don't lose that nice length or it'll look too even and weird at the seams.  Since I wanted our wig to have a crazy, going-in-all-directions look, I cut it so the direction of the fur was going up instead of the usual downward.  

With right sides facing, stitch together the wider ends of the center pieces together using a 1/4 inch seam allowance.  I find clips are easier to use than pins with the thicker furs like this:

Next, pin the side pieces to the newly joined center strip and stitch:

Repeat with the fleece to create the wig lining.  With right sides facing, pin the lining to the wig along the raw edge and stitch all the way around leaving a 2 inch gap at the nape area for turning.  

I trimmed down the seam allowance with a pair of pinking shears (or you could just clip into the curved areas, minding not to clip through your stitching).  I pulled everything right side out and then smoothed the lining into the outer and hand stitched the gap closed using a slip stitch:

To make sure no longer bits of fur are caught in the seams, I gently pull any trapped strands out with a seam ripper.  This guarantees no one will see any seams:

Now we've got an awesome wig that's a perfect fit, is comfortable to wear, and can be reused over & over for playtime or other costumes down the road, unlike a matted plastic party wig.

Add in a lab coat, some safety goggles, gloves and a few scientific accessories to it and a kooky mad scientist costume is good to go!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Craftastic Monday Link Party & Last Day Fabric Giveaway

Happy Monday Crafties!  Are you read to party?  I sure am, so come on and link up your latest goodies below.

Last week I shared my Laminated Pocket Wallet Tutorial

It's also the last day to enter my 
Fall Fat Quarter Bundle Giveaway:

Now let's see some Craftastic Picks..

The Crafty Blog Stalker shared an amazing bead & paint makeover on this cute decorative turtle:

Growing Up Gabel had a fun & free Halloween printable wall art idea:

The Turquoise Home made this gorgeous DIY hydrangea wreath:

Pale Blue Corner put together this pretty crochet acorn necklace:

The Blue Elephants made this amazing crochet Pokemon Charizard.  My kids would LOVE one of these! 

Sum of Their Stories did this fun Tetris notebook:

If you're one of this week's features, be sure to grab my Featured On button over on my Buttons Page to share the good news. 

Want a Chance to Be Featured Here?  
Remember to link back to the party somewhere.
I can't feature your link if you don't share the party in some way.

I also feature these projects on Sew Can Do's Craftastic Picks Pinterest board 
AND share each of them on Twitter too for even MORE exposure!

Follow me there to see more great projects (and see if yours is one of them)!   
Ready to link up your crafty creations?
Party rules are simple: 
  • As long as it's crafty, and made by you, it's Craftastic (no links to giveaways, shops, link parties or other people's work).  Add the link to your specific post (not the main page of your blog).  Product reviews, plagiarized or sponsored posts for random items will be immediately deleted.  
  • Grab my party button & put it on your post or blog somewhere.  Party pages are fine.  If you want the chance to be featured, this is key.  The button code can be found HERE.
  • Check out some of the other fabulous links and share some crafty comment love.  We all love getting comments!!
Promote your blog/shop for FREE:  
Join in the Craftastic Facebook Mixer!

Give your YOUR site/Facebook page a little boost. Crafty blogs AND shops are welcome.  It takes just seconds and gives you a chance to get more page likes & followers.  It's a great way to discover new sites to love too.  You can even add crafty giveaways 

How It Works:
Head over to the Craftastic Mixer post on Sew Can Do's FB page.  Instead of a specific post, share your main blog, crafty shop or Facebook page link in the comments there.  It's bonus exposure for your crafty site or business every week!  Click HERE to go link up now!


    An InLinkz Link-up

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Fun With Foxes: Laminated Pocket Wallet Tutorial

Today's how-to is one that can hold up to serious wear AND while keeping all your cash & cards organized.  This is a quick & practical project - you can make one in less than an hour with some lovely laminated cotton and my Laminated Pocket Wallet Tutorial!

This wallet has any easy open snap closure and plenty of room for cards with 6 full size pockets.  Easy to see everything at a glance.  The laminated fabric adds a little extra grip to keep everything in place and add some stylish prints in the mix.  I wanted a fun look for fall, so I went with this cute fox print laminate to get durability and style: 

And because it doesn't use much fabric, it's also a very thrifty sew.  Using 56" wide laminate, just a 1/4 yard will make 3 wallets, so super economical!  

There's even a bill fold section for all your cash (or last couple of bucks in my case). 

This actually an update of my previous Chic Pocket Laminated Wallet that I did a few years back, but I've improved it with more step-by-step photos and a little extra on making bias tape to get a perfect match to whatever fabric you're using.  Laminate is not only easy to keep clean, but it wears like iron.  I used this version every day for over 3 years before making today's foxy one.  

Now, let's get to how to make it!

- 1/4yd Laminated Cotton Fabric (I used Wide Eyed Foxes from Laminates).  
- Sewing Notions (shears/rotary cutter, ruler, disappearing marker)
- Flat Clips (I use hair clips, but binder clips, bobby pins or Wonder-clips also work)
- Lip balm (this makes the laminate smoothly move under the presser foot)
- Plastic snaps
- Optional: Walking Foot 

Cutting the wallet pieces: 
(3) 8.5in wide x 2in high strips for the card pockets
(1) 8.5in wide x 11in high piece for the wallet body
(2) 2in wide by 3in high pieces for the closure strap
(1) 8.5in wide x 8in high piece for the bill pocket. 
(2) 1in x 1in pieces for reinforcing the snap areas.  I like to use scrap bits of stabilizer, but bits of laminate will also work.

I started out by making some bias tape.  I had some cotton that was a perfect shade of orange, so I cut a half yard piece of fabric along the bias (45 degree angle).  I cut a strip that was 2 inches wide - very easy when using two yard sticks together:

I folded and pressed my strip lengthwise first and then fold in the raw edges to the fold I'd made and pressed:

I then pressed along the center fold again and my bias tape was good to go:

I stitched the bias tape along the top edge of the pocket pieces.  

Then I lined up the first strip, bias taped side up along the center of the 8.5in x 8in piece and clip on sides.  

I always run a bit of lip balm along the laminate surface where I will be stitching.  This will prevent the laminate from sticking under the presser foot and is easy to just wipe away when done.  I stitched 1/4" from the raw bottom of the strip:

Next I layered second pocket over the first, 1 inch down from the top of the first pocket and repeated with stitching the 2nd & 3rd pockets into place.  Next I marked a vertical line down the center of the pocket cascade and topstitch.  That partitioned the pockets into 6 card sized spaces.

I then took the 8.5in x 11in rectangle and cut it in half widthwise so there were two 8.5in x 5.5in rectangles to make the body of the wallet.  Since there are so many rectangular pieces, I find it easier to cut that part at this point so nothing would accidentally get mixed up as I worked.

I folded the pocketed piece in half lengthwise with the wrong sides together, so there was only the pocketed section showing:

This piece was laid on top of one of the newly cut body pieces, lining up the bottom edges, and then clipped together.  

The layers were basted together along sides and bottom 1/8 in from the raw edges.  This created the bill pocket behind the card pockets.  

I took the two strap pieces and, with right sides facing, stitched together with a 1/4 in seam allowance.  I curved the corners for a softer look, and then trimmed & clipped around them so they'd round when turned right side out.  

Then ran a quick dab of lip balm along the edge and topstitched:

I inserted my 1in x 1in square for stabilizing into the strap and attached the male portion of the snap through the closure strap.  I also attached the female portion of the snap to the remaining wallet body piece (2in inward from edge and with a bit of stabilizer behind it too).

For a little extra whimsy, I used a fun flower shaped snap:

I clipped strap to center of the right side of the pocketed piece.  The end with the snap was on the left, while the piece below had the strap on the right, so when it would be turned right side out everything will be in the right spot.  

Then I put the remaining wallet piece face down over rest of wallet & clipped everything together.  I stitched all the way around, with a 3/8in seam allowance, rounding the corners as I stitched (and leaving a 2 inch gap for turning on one of the width sides).  I clipped around the edges with pinking shears and turned it right side out, poking out corners with a pencil.  I ran a bit of lip balm around edge, topstitched to close the gap.  

Then the wallet was ready to use.  Cute fox fun, easy to find in my purse and guaranteed to last for many seasons of use.  


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