Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Cast Your Vote for the Next Knit Fabric Soft Toy Pattern


It's the first official day of summer!  Yay!  And I've still got what feels like a hundred summer projects not yet done.  Boo!  As always, I've been overly ambitious and started too many things at once only to be continually dragged away from working on them by real life stuff. The lazy days of summer are myth around here.  I need to conserve time!  Which brings me to today's theme and why I need YOUR vote for the next Sew Can Do Knit Fabric Soft Toy



Softies, Plushies, Stuffed Animals, whatever you call 'em, they're the cuddly, pillow soft critters made to hug and love.  Kids can never have enough of them and we adults still love their cuteness too.  



I'm trying to decide if I should draft patterns/tutorials for my latest plush toy projects.  I made these critters while I was trying out some awesome new knit fabrics from Dear Stella (more on those here).  Since they require carefully redrawing and scanning of pattern pieces for a full downloadable how-to, they'll take a good bit of time to make.  I want to make sure there's an audience that's interested before I go full steam ahead on putting something that detailed together.  There's no worse feeling than working like mad on a project, spending ages making a pdf pattern and then hearing crickets.


So, I'd love to hear if you think either of these cuddly pals should become a new Sew Can Do how-to......


First up, Somebunny To Love.  This bunny softie has an 18 inch body that can be dressed up.



The ears are floppy to be fun



Her lovable size is the perfect doll alternative:



And ideal for bunny nose kisses:



Like a real bunny, she's also complete with a fluffy cottontail:


Plus hand stitched angled feet (or should I say paws?):



Or with summer finally here, maybe an ocean pal like Seymour Seahorse?  


Sized just right for hugs:



He's got a signature seahorse curly tail,


Bright shiny eyes:


And fun flappy fins:


I know they've been kid approved since my daughter has confiscated gifted herself with them and decided they should be slept in and displayed on her bed (which is like the VIP section for stuffed animals).  

What do you think?  Somebunny Special or Seymour Seahorse?  Something totally different?  Let me know in the comments!



I was not financially compensated for this post.  I received knit fabric from Dear Stella to try out & use as I desired.  The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.   For my complete disclosure policy, click here.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Craftastic Monday Link Party Time!


I hope everyone who celebrated it had a great Father's Day weekend.  We sure did here. Are you ready to party Craftastic style today?  Share your creativity & link up below.  

Last week I shared one of my new favorite summer patterns and the Easy Ultimate Knit Maxi Dress I made with it.


It's also time to announce the big winner of my Multi-Yard Dear Stella Knit Fabric Giveaway.

  ~~ Lisa G. ~~

Congratulations Lisa!  I hope you make some amazing things with this jackpot of fabric.  A huge thank you to Dear Stella for providing this incredible fabric prize!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Now let's see the new Craftastic Picks!!

Creatively Homemade created these stunning stamped lighthouse cork coasters:


Joy's Jots, Shots & Whatnots showed how to turn fabric scraps into fun greeting cards:


Intelligent Domestications created this lovely stenciled Americana drop cloth pillow:


Growing Up Gabel offered up this fun DIY rustic wood ombre fish art:


Vikalpah shared how to turn cardboard shipping boxes into handy partitioned storage bins:


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 Next Week?  

Link back to the party somewhere on your blog.
I can't feature your post if you don't share the party.  
  
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 for YOUR blog!

Follow me there to see more great projects (and see if yours is one of them)!   

On Twitter: 
On Pinterest: Sew Can Do

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. Product reviews, plagiarized or sponsored posts for random items will be immediately deleted.  
  • Grab my party button & put it on your post, party page or blog somewhere.  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!!



   

    An InLinkz Link-up
   

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Ultimate Summer Maxi Dress: McCalls 7405


In the 90+ degree heat this week, I've found the perfect maxi dress pattern to keep cool in: McCalls M7405 from their Learn to Sew For Fun series.  For the record, I'm always skeptical about Big 4 patterns that promise to be easy.  Either they aren't at all or it means they'll just look unflattering and be a waste of time.  This one totally surprised me by being exactly what it said!  It was totally fun to do too.  


The pattern has options for an above-the-knee length, curved mid-length hem and full maxi. Side slits and elasticized waist are other options.  Recommended fabrics are Challis, Cotton Knit, Crepe and Gauze.  Basically, fabrics with a soft drape and a bit of give.  I went with cotton knit.  I'd advise checking the length against your height before you buy the fabric.  Since I'm pretty short at 5', I only needed 2 1/4yds instead of the suggested 3 1/2yds (that's a BIG cost difference!).   

I've also got a handy introduction to my very best tips & techniques for sewing with knits HERE:

To put my own spin on the dress, I did a color blocked hem.  I used the new Dear Stella Scallop Dot knit fabric in Fossil for the main dress and the same Scallop Dot in Guava for the hem and neck drawstring for a pop of color and to coordinate with the maxi dress I designed for my daughter that used the same DS Guava knit for the shoulder ties and hem (and their coordinating Flamingoes knit in Bay blue).


Her dress was done with my new Any Size Maxi Dress tutorial: 


The Easy Any Size Maxi Dress design would totally work in an adult size too, but I'd bought this McCalls pattern at the end of last summer for just 99 cents, so I figured I should actually try it at least once.  I'm glad I did!


The drawstring neck ties in the back so it doesn't look too twee and has a stylish partial slit there to make it easier to get on.


I will say that it is necessary to either do the elasticized waist variation, make a removable waist tie like I did or wear a belt.  Otherwise this dress will look too blowy for most figures.  On the plus side, that aspect could make it a good maternity dress option.


The directions are simple, so this really is a quick sew.  I made some shortcuts to make it even easier.  When sewing knits and dealing with patterns that have fold under areas like this does in the arm area and hem, my go-to for making it frustration-free is paper backed fusible tape.  I used some 1/4 inch wide for the bodice area and 1/2 inch for the bottom hem.  


This made it very easy to double fold the thin underarm areas and also made quick work of the neck casing.  It guarantees everything stays put and is folded perfectly evenly.


I also recommend taking up the side seam under the arms a few inches (unless you have a very long torso).  My bra easily showed on the sides until I took it up 3 inches above the pattern.



The dress is SO comfortable and easy to style up just by adding a few accessories.  I also love how we've got a Mommy & Me outfit vibe going, but it's coordinated, not cutesy, since they're not exactly the same.  


For a chance to win TWO yards of each of these fun Dear Stella knit fabrics to make your own maxi dress, visit my giveaway HERE.



I was not financially compensated for this post.  I received fabric, to use as I wished, from Dear Stella.   The opinions are completely my own based on my experiences.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Craftastic Monday Link Party!


Happy Monday!  Ready to be Craftastic?  Share your creativity & link up below.  Lots of cute features to check out too!

Last week I shared a new tutorial in my Sewing with Knits Series: my Any Size Maxi Dress.


There's still time to enter this fabulous giveaway for 4 YARDS of Dear Stella Knit Fabric too.  Enter HERE:


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Now let's see the new Craftastic Picks!!

Making Manzanita created this fun garden hose door wreath:


Knitting and So On showed how to create this pretty lacy eBook cover:


Penny's Vintage Home created this lovely moss covered mailbox:


Home Cooking Memories offered up this tasty rootbeer float pancakes recipe:


Hillview Embroidery shared her progress on these cute embroidery sheep on a baby blanket:


The Blue Elephants shared this mocha ripple chevron crochet blanket pattern.  My great-grandma made one when I was little that looked almost exactly like this, so seeing this one was a nice trip down memory lane. 


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 Next Week?  

Link back to the party somewhere on your blog.
I can't feature your post if you don't share the party.  
  
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 for YOUR blog!

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. Product reviews, plagiarized or sponsored posts for random items will be immediately deleted.  
  • Grab my party button & put it on your post, party page or blog somewhere.  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!!



   

    An InLinkz Link-up
   

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Tutorial Time: Easy Make Any Size Maxi Dress


Summer is nearly here and that means summer dress season!  Why not make a new maxi dress that'll look gorgeous and feel fantastic?  My handy Easy Make Maxi Dress Tutorial shows you how to make one in any size.


This dress is just perfect for hot summer days and a snap to sew up.  Using soft cotton spandex knit fabric, means it'll have terrific drape and stretch too:



The simple-to-make gathering at the neckline, elasticized waist and tie shoulders mean it's very adjustable and works well on all body types:



And if you're new to sewing knits or have had trouble with certain aspects in the past, this is a great project to try.  It's part of my new Sewing With Knits series
  

I'm trying to take the frustration and mystery out of sewing knit fabrics.  Sharing my hands-on experiences, project successes and useful hints to make it easier for others.  I've got a handy introduction to my very best tips & techniques HERE:




Now let's get to the sewing!

Materials:
- 1yd* Cotton Spandex Knit Main (I used Dear Stella Flamingoes in Bay)
- 1/4yd* Cotton Spandex Knit Hem (I used Dear Stella Scallop Dot in Guava)
- Elastic thread
- 3/8in wide elastic
- Pressure sensitive paper backed fusible tape (I used 1/4in and 1/2in widths)
- Notions: iron, disappearing marker/tailor's chalk, pins, rotary cutter/shears, yardstick, safety pin, matching thread

* This amount of fabric will make up to a kid's size 8

Start by making a handy paper pattern to create the bodice.  Take a chest measurement. Divide this in half and add 2 inches to determine the bodice width.  Take a piece of paper and measure out a rectangle that is the width and an 8 inch height.  From one corner, measure inward 2 1/2 inches and down 3 inches and cut a "J" shape.  If doing a much smaller or larger size, (like an infant or bigger than 10yrs) add or subtract a full inch, or more, to both these measurements and the bodice length.  This style is very forgiving, so it doesn't need to be exact.



Fold fabric so the selvages meet in the middle and there is a fold on either side.  Decide on the length desired, my finished dress length from top to hem was 34 inches.  Place pattern along fold and measure down to desired amount of flare using a yardstick to make an A-line shape.  Mine went down 23 inches from the bodice and out 10 inches at the bottom.  This was 4 inches shorter than the final length since I was using a band of the Scallop Dot fabric at the bottom hem.   



I cut the piece out to be my dress front and I repeated this with the rest of my fabric to do the back piece.



With right sides facing, stitch the side seams together using a serger or knit-friendly machine stitch like zig-zag or triple stitch (for more info on these, check out my Sewing with Knits Without A Serger), with a 3/8in seam allowance.


I made some 1/2 inch wide double fold tape from the scalloped guava.  Since this is knit, there's no need to cut it on the bias.  Just cut a 2 inch high by width of fabric strip, press in half lengthwise and the open and press the raw edges in toward the fold mark.



Encase the underarm area of each side in the tape, pin and then stitch close to the edge.



Measure down 8 inches from the top edge of the dress and draw a line across the middle with a disappearing marker or chalk.  This will be where the smocking starts. 



Wind the elastic thread around a bobbin by hand and load into sewing machine.  Starting at one side seam stitch 1/2 inch and then backstitch over it to anchor the thread securely.  turn the stitch length to 4 and stitch all the way around.  The fabric will start to cinch as you go.  



Stitch two more rows beneath the first, with each row a 1/4 inch apart.  Stitch & backstitch 1/2 inch again at the end too.  Hold a steaming iron over the stitching, a few inches away, to shrink the elastic slightly to create the full smocking effect.



Create the neck casing by applying the 1/4in wide paper backed fusible along the top edge of the wrong side of both front and back.  



Peel off the paper and fold down one inch and press to fuse:



Stitch this in place along the right sides 3/4in from top fold.



To make the straps, take the remaining double fold tape and stitch closed along the open folded end.  Since knit fabric is very stretchy when this thin, I used elastic inside the casing part to prevent sagging and over-stretching of the straps.  Cut the fabric into (4) 9 inch long strips.  Cut (2) pieces of elastic that are 3 inches shorter than the casing width.  Mine was 9 inches wide, so I cut elastics that were 6 inches.  Insert each end into a strap piece.  Stitch together.  



Tie open ends of the straps into knots.  Using a safety pin, snake the strapped elastics through the front and back side casings.  Gather the front as desired.  Top stitch along the casing openings to prevent the elastic from peeking out when the straps are pulled.



If doing a band of another print at the bottom, cut two pieces that are 5 inches high by the bottom width.  In my case this was 24 inches wide.  Open and put the bands together, right sides facing, and stitch together the short sides (if using a directional print like this, make sure they're both in the same direction!).



With right sides facing and matching up side seams, pin the hem piece to the bottom of the dress and stitch together.


Easy hem the bottom by using the 1/2in fusible tape and then topstitching it in place.


Now the dress is ready to wear and have summer fun in!


For a chance to win TWO yards of each of these fun Dear Stella knit fabrics to make your own maxi dress, visit my giveaway HERE.


And stay tuned for the pattern info on my coordinating maxi dress coming up soon to complete the Mommy & Me Summer Outfit look!




I was not financially compensated for this post.  I received fabric, to use as I wished, from Dear Stella.   The opinions are completely my own based on my experiences.
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