Month: June 2018

You Make Patriotic Holiday Family T-Shirts

We love patriotic holidays, it’s so much fun to dress up and go to the parade or family barbecue in style. Here’s my latest project with the Cricut Maker!

Patriotic at Heart

If you have been following me for a while, you will know that I love my Cricut Maker. There are so many great things you can do with this cutting machine! Cricut has selected me and another group of bloggers to design t-shirt collections for their website. Each month a new group of 3-5 t-shirt design files will be chosen from the group and featured on their site for you to make. Not every design will be chosen, just the ones they like. The fun thing is that each collection will include adult and child sized graphics so you can make shirts for your entire family! You can purchase t-shirt blanks without any graphics on them at local craft stores, or Amazon (affiliate link is included for your convenience). For my projects I used some old white t-shirts we had laying around. Why spend money if you don’t have to?

For this Patriotic collection, I designed a number of different patriotic styles but only used the ones I liked the best. The rest will be featured here at a later time. These files are not available on the Cricut site just yet but will be soon if they are approved (cross your fingers!). I also plan to sell my SGV design files in a new shop on here on Chambray Blues which will be coming soon so you can have access to them either way!

Here’s how I made the shirts:

Patriotic T-Shirt Supplies Needed:

• Red and Royal Blue Cricut Heat Transfer Vinyl (affiliate link)

• 2-3 White T-shirts in various sizes. I used a 3T baby onesie, and XL and 2XXL adult sized shirts (affiliate link)

• Cricut Heat Press or iron (affiliate link)

•Cricut Heat Proof Matt or ironing board with heat proof cover (affiliate link)

•Cricut Maker (affiliate link)

•Cricut Ironing Shield or press cloth (affiliate link)

•Light grip matt (affiliate link)

Directions:

1. Choose a t-shirt file to make in Design Space. There are a number of patriotic files currently available. Be careful to select files designed for t-shirts, if the design is intended for other purposes you may have trouble cutting it. It could be too small or have lots of layers that will waste your materials and aren’t suitable for use with vinyl.

2. Cut the files as directed by Cricut on your machine. Be sure to place your vinyl on the grip mat with the shiny side DOWN. Also, be sure your design is REVERSED. If not, select the edit button, then the mirror setting. Cut all the pieces for your design before assembling.

3. Trim away excess vinyl. I like to cut away any extra material and save it for another project. It’s too good to waste!

4. Weed out any “white space” with the weeding tool. That is, from the wrong side (non shiny side of the vinyl) pull away any vinyl that will not be needed in your design. You will end up with your design and a somewhat sticky backing. View it from the right side, the shiny side to be certain it is correct and that it is all intact.

5. Place your vinyl shiny side UP on your t-shirt (the sticky backing will hold it in place). Be sure your design is centered evenly over the center front of the shirt. It is helpful to fold the shirt in half and mark the neckline with a pin so you can get accurate placement. I recommend placing your vinyl about 2″ down from the neckline on most styles. You may need to hold it up to a mirror and check the placement before going on to the next step.

6. Once your design is in place, cover it with the pressing mat or press cloth.

7. Heat your heat press to 340 degrees F (If you are using a different vinyl you may have to adjust the temperature). If you are using an iron, use the cotton or linen setting with no steam.

8. Press your design in place for 20 seconds (you can set the timer on your Easy Press for this). Press the design a little at a time if you are using an iron, be sure to lift the iron up and not rub it side to side or it will affect your results.

9. Turn the shirt over, cover it with the press mat and press again on the back side for an additional 15 seconds.

10. Turn the shirt over, let is cool slightly. Remove the clear plastic material and reveal your design. Check to be sure all edges are adhered to the t-shirt. You can press the vinyl again if needed, or use a weeding tool to hold it down to the warm fabric until it melts in place. Be careful not to over press your vinyl. I have made this mistake and created scorch marks from the iron. If you have this problem, try dabbing the marks with white vinegar until they disappear.

Not sure you can figure it all out? Watch this FB live video I did! You can do it!

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Easy to Make Scrappy Denim Skirt

Easy to Make Scrappy Denim Skirt

This simple skirt is made completely from scraps of thrifted cotton and an pair of old denim jeans. Here’s how you can save your scraps from the trash bin and create something fun and new to wear!

Easy to Make Scrappy Denim Skirt|Chambraybluesblog|Chambrayblues.com

Hi! I’m Jessica and I blog at Designers Sweet Spot.com. I also stitch up all sorts of fun things on my sewing blog Chambray Blues.com. I am so pleased to share this project with you all! Thanks to Deborah for having me guest post on her amazing blog!

Easy to Make Scrappy Denim Skirt|Chambraybluesblog|chambrayblues.com

Why Recycle Fabrics?

I used to give away all my clothes that didn’t fit to the thrift store. That is, until I discovered that thrift stores only keep and sell 20% of the donations they receive, the rest are bundled and sold off to foreign countries or disposed of. Isn’t that sad? All that good stuff goes to waste! I now look for ways to reuse every bit of household fabric that I can especially if it is colorful and in good condition. This is especially true for denim items, Every old pair of jeans can find a new life in someway, this type of fabric iss so versatile and wears for such a long time.

There have been dozens of popular recycled jean skirt projects across the web, this one is an easy version and quick to make with a few basic sewing tools. My fabrics came from the thrift store (other than the jeans that I already owned), which is an added bonus. The local thrift store here sells their fabric scraps for $.50 a bundle. You can’t possibly get any cheaper and I often find great quality fabric there that I couldn’t afford to buy new if it was in a fabric store.

Pair this skirt with your favorite t-shirt and sandals for a quick shopping trip, date to the movies or walk on the beach. You can adjust the length by adding or subtracting rows of ruffles, it would also be an adorable maxi skirt with more rows of fabric. This adult (size 20) version falls just above the knee and finishes 23.5″ long. This would also work great for young girls who have out grown their jeans from last year!

Here’s what you will need:

Supplies:

• One pair of old jeans, any size

• 1/2 yards cut of 3 different patterned 45″ wide cotton fabrics (red, yellow, navy)

• Rotary cutter, 6″ wide quilting ruler and cutting mat (or fabric scissors, pencil and a ruler)

• Matching thread

• Sewing machine

•Ruffling Foot attachment (optional)

Directions:

Easy to Make Scrappy Denim Skirt|Chambraybluesblog|chambrayblues.com

  1. Fold jeans in half, matching side seams and crotch seams. Pin seams together, folding pockets out of the way so they won’t get cut in the next step.
  2. Measure 10 1/2″ down from top of waistband at side seam. Mark and cut across horizontally to the center front, remove the legs of the jeans and lower part of crotch as in photo. Set aside. Save pant legs for other projects.
  3. Lay cotton fabrics on cutting mat with fold near the zero cutting edge of the cutting mat (closest to you), and selvedges at the top of the mat (away from you). Using the quilting ruler, cut fabric into rows of 6″ wide strips.
  4. Turn cotton fabrics on the mat horizontally and cut again, into 11″ wide pieces. Cut pieces will measure 6″ x 11″. Cut 15 of each of the three printed fabrics for a total of 45 pieces.
  5. Stitch the short side of the cotton pieces together in rows of 15, using a 2.5 mm single needle stitch altering colors/prints at random. There is no need to cut the threads between each row, you can chain stitch them together for faster sewing. Continue as needed until all 15 pieces are stitched together.
  6. Gather top edges of each ruffle 1/2″ from top edge with a ruffling foot or by hand using two rows of 5.0mm basting stitch 1/8″ apart and pulling up the threads to gather. Sew ends of each row together to make three complete circles of ruffles.
  7. Pin one row of patterned ruffle to denim cut offs to check fit. Adjust gathers and stitch in place. You can add or remove sections of ruffle if it is too large or small to fit it to your jean cut offs. (For girls a row of 7 pieces of patterned fabrics may be enough)
  8. Continue with second and third rows of ruffles in similar fashion, checking the length and fit as you stitch each row on.
  9. Hem finished skirt with 1/4″ narrow rolled hem on bottom edge.
  10. Press seams to finish.

Don’t forget to Pin this post!

If you enjoyed this project try some of these other recycled fabric ideas:

Scrappy Denim Boho Necklace Tutorial

How to Restyle a Boring Denim Jacket

3 Step Easy T-Shirt Pattern Hack

5 Step Easy Headband

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Sewing Rainwear, What You Need to Know for Success

Sewing Rainwear, What You Need to Know for Success

In this week’s podcast, we talk about sewing rainwear and what you need to know to get the job done.

Sewing Rainwear, What You Need to Know for Success|Chambray Blues blog|www.chambrayblues.com

The Ins and Outs of Sewing Rainwear

I decided it would be fun to try something completely different from my usual sewing projects. With the rainy season here, I decided on sewing a raincoat.

There are several different types of fabric you can use for rain wear, either waterproof or water resistant. They are not the same thing. Waterproof fabrics do not allow any water penetration, verses water resistant fabrics that just repel some of the water.

To achieve truly waterproof fabric requires two or three layers within the fabric. The material, and an inner layer or layers are bonded together, usually by a high tech process called Ultrasonic welding.

Ultrasonic welding is achieved by multiple panel edges are carefully aligned together, pressed, then fused together with high levels of ultrasonic sound waves.  The energy from these sound waves is transformed into heat, which permanently bonds the two panels together (usually containing a thermoplastic material), making the two or more panels into one solid panel, with no holes whatsoever.  This type of machine is expensive, the technicians that run them are also more expensive than an average garment worker, and the material cost is reflected in this technology. This is where science and technology have changed so much in the sewing world. The result is a completely waterproof fabric that is also breathable due to the inner layers.

I couldn’t wait to try this out! Who ever thought that sewing was boring??? Fabrics that use this type of technology are 2 or 3 ply Ultra-Tex, SWB-Tex, Hyro-Shield Ripstop, and Storm Fit.

For water resistant fabrics, fabrics are woven together very tightly, water molecules are small and can filter through the fibers because it doesn’t have a backing. Light rainfall cannot pass through these tiny pores since rain drops aren’t always that big, but high water pressure from a constant downpour or submersion will cause water to find its way through the fibers.

Fabrics that are water resistant are coated Taslan, Microsuede Polyester, coated Taffeta, ripstop, Silkara, Weather Max-65 and Ten Mile Cloth.

For my project I purchased two different fabrics, the water resistant 2 ply Ultra-Tex and a soft silky water resistant Silkara for a second project.

Supplies and Resources:

Fabric sources for rainwear fabric and supplies such as grippers, waterproofing tape and buttons can be purchased at: Seattle Fabrics, Fabrics.com, LA Finchfabrics.com, Moodfabrics.com.

    1. a gabardine or twill fabric and add waterproofing after the garment is sewn instead. Can’t use fusible interfacing, it doesn’t stick to Gorex or fabrics that have a rubberized backing.
    2. Alterations to fit, lengthen the pattern. Easy to fit a dolman sleeve.
    3. Simple is easier, don’t add the fine details if you are not comfortable with them.
    4. Cutting and sewing a lining. Slippery stuff! So hard to cut! Use pattern weights and very sharp pins and scissors.
    5. Buttons vs. Grippers: Gripper snaps are easier to install but can cause tears in the fabric unless it’s interfaced. Use a good quality denim gripper for best results.Rainwear sewing techniques, waterproof fabrics are a little different animal. Can’t rip out stitches because the needle leaves holes. Can’t pin either for the same reason. Can use

    Waterproof Fabric Tips

    1. Waterproof fabrics require special care when cutting. You can’t use pins because they put holes in the fabric. Also, fabrics such as Gortex has the heavy backing which is very thick and pins won’t poke through it. You will need to use pattern weights, and lots of them when laying out the pattern to cut.
    2. Fusible interfacing doesn’t work with this type of fabric. I tried ironing some on at low heat (so the fabric doesn’t melt), and though it seemed like it was working the glue did not hold in the long run. Use a sew in interfacing instead for this project.
    3. A walking foot is essential for sewing this “sticky” fabric. One side of the fabric is slick, the other sticks like glue to everything. It gets stuck under the presser foot and doesn’t move as you are sewing. If you don’t have a walking foot, you could try using a piece of freezer paper under the presser foot to help it slide under the presser foot.
    4. A sharp needle is a must. I used a size 14 all purpose needle for this project.
    5. Good quality thread makes a huge difference, Gutterman thread was recommended by the fabric supplier and that’s what I used. Fabric was purchased from Seattle Fabrics.com.
    6. Making buttonholes was challenging. The pattern had buttons and snaps as options, I decided on buttons because they were easy to find. I think snaps would have worked better because the button holer kept sticking to the fabric as I mentioned above and was very cumbersome to use. I made several mistakes with my buttonholes, and I just have to live with how they turned out.
    7. You can’t rip out stitches with this type of fabric because it leaves holes. You only get one chance to do it right, and for the same reasons Gortex is just difficult to work with.

    Waver Jacket Pattern Review

    I have not sewn with many pdf patterns, as I usually just stick with one of the name brands. This pdf was overall well designed, but I spotted a couple of things that could have made this project turn out so much better.

    1. The Center front wasn’t cut on the straight grain: This may seem like a small detail, but this one change could have made this coat so much better. Grain line placement makes a huge difference in how the finished coat hangs. As you can see from my photos, the coat appears to have too much fullness at center front, and hides the buttons when hanging. This is because the marked grain line was at an angle to the center front, generally a no-no in the design world. Particularly with center front button plackets, the front grain must be cut on the straight grain for the best result. I knew I should have changed it when I cut it, but for some reason I didn’t. Live and learn from my mistake!
    2. Pocket placement could be better: The pockets are way to close to the center front. I did alter the pattern and added extra fullness at the side seam. The pockets should have been moved at least 2″ closer to the side seam.
    3. Lining hem could be longer: Most quality coats have what is called a jump hem. That is, a hem that has 1/2″ or more extra length in the lining so that when you move your arms and shoulders the extra length keeps the hem hanging straight and doesn’t pull up as you move. This coat was not designed this way and I discovered too late that the hem pulls up in an unattractive manor when moving about. If I make it again, I will add extra 1″ of length to the lining. For now, I stitched the hem of the lining independently from the jacket, allowing the extra movement that is needed.

    Overall this was a challenging project. The fabric I chose was not easy to work with, but I am still pleased with it. My purpose in making this jacket was to have something to wear for walking outside and working in the yard on wet days. The jacket serves it’s purpose even though it isn’t as perfect as I would like. The color alone makes me happy every time I put it on.

    See the full sewing tutorial here.

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Sew a Pocket Square in 3 Easy Steps

Sew a Pocket Square in 3 Easy Steps

This little Pocket square was easy to make for the finishing touch on my son’s tuxedo. Here’s how you can make it in just 3 easy steps!

Sew a Pocket Square in Just 3 Steps|Chambray Blues Blog|chambrayblues.com
You can sew a pocket square in just 3 easy steps!

 

Pocket Square How to 

Formal events are expensive. Every dollar you spend adds up so quickly, why not save a few bucks on the accessories? I recently made a pocket square for my son’s big night out at prom. It’s an easy project, you can complete it in less than 30 minutes. Here’s how! 

I used a scrap of fabric from my stash for this project. The deep red shade was just what I was looking for. This fabric is stretch cotton sateen, you can also use a knit or satin fabrics for this project. 

Tutorial: Three Easy Steps! 

1. Cut a square of fabric 8 1/2″ x 8 1/2″. Grainline doesn’t really matter here since it’s a square piece. 

2. Make a rolled hem by stitching a 1/4″ seam all the way around the edges. Press. 

3. Sew another row of hem stitching by turning the edge over again, and stitching in place. Press. 

That’s it! So easy! This would make a great gift for a groom or the groomsmen and adds so much class to the outfit. 

Sew a pocket square in just 3 easy steps|Chambray blues blog|chambrayblues.com

 

 

Fold your pocket square in quarters and tuck it into your jacket breast pocket. If you haven’t worn a pocket square before, you may need to open the basting stitches with a seam ripper, then tuck the square in place. 

You could also make a matching bow tie. If you want to see that tutorial, click here

Don’t forget to Pin this post! 

3 Step Pocket Square|Chambray blues|chambrayblues.com

If you like this post, try some of these other posts:

Why Self Care Makes for Better Sewing

How to Read a Sewing Pattern Envelope

How to Triumph Over Your Unfinished Sewing Projects

Meet Mimi Goodwin, Successful Sewing Entrepreneur

How to Sew a Sunny Raincoat

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How to Triumph Over Your Unfinished Sewing Projects

How to Triumph Over Your Unfinished Sewing Projects

We all have sewing projects we haven’t finished lurking in our closet. This week on the podcast we talk about how to work through the tough projects and finish them!

Finish Your Sewing Projects|Chambray Blues|chambrayblues.com
We all have unfinished projects, here’s how to finish them!

 

Sewing Unfinished Projects

There are three projects sitting on my sewing table that I have been avoiding. One is frustrating because I don’t have the right equipment to sew it quickly. The second is not fitting properly, the third one I hate the pattern that I am using. What to do? Here are ways you can get through the project when the going gets tough!

  1. Go through your stack and reevaluate why the project is unfinished. Sometimes things sit for so long we forget what the problem was in the first place. Make a note of what needs to be done on a sticky note and store the project in a large size plastic baggie with all of the pattern pieces, notions and supplies. Attach the note to the bag and set it aside. Do this for all your unfinished projects.
  2. Line up your unfinished projects with the easiest one first. Make a commitment to finishing one project per week or month as you can. Try to finish all those projects first before starting new ones.
  3. Evaluate your frustration with the project. Did it not fit well? Perhaps you can read some books on fit, take a class or consult with someone else to figure out how to fix it. Don’t be afraid to post a photo in the Chambray Blues group, we can help evaluate the problem.
  4. If your project stalled because of a sewing machine issue, take your machine in for repairs. A good cleaning can solve a host of problems. Bring a sample of the fabric and stitch you were using to show the repair technician. Often they can help you decide how to correct a wonky seam.
  5. Was the fabric not ideally suited to the project? Sometimes we don’t always get it right on the first try. If it was a large dollar investment, you have to evaluate whether or not it’s worth continuing. Perhaps it would be easier to repurpose the fabric into something else instead of trying to continue with a frustrating project. Repurchase a different fabric and try again.
  6. Was your garment cut off grain? This is a popular problem that even experienced sewers can make. Off grain pattern pieces will never hang straight. Buy more fabric and recut if necessary.
  7. Was the pattern construction hard to follow? Many times I have been stuck on a pattern with poorly written instructions or unclear drawings. You can purchase another pattern with similar design and look at how they wrote the instructions. Sometimes I read directions for patterns in the fabric store that I don’t even buy. A different point of view can make the light bulb go on in evaluating how to fix it. Going to the shopping mall and looking for construction ideas also can be helpful. Find a similar garment in the store and turn it inside out to see how it’s constructed. Most commercially produced garments are far simpler than the ones designed by pattern companies. Take pictures with your cell phone of seams and finishes so you can refer to them later. You can even try the garment on to Compare fit. I keep a tape measure in my purse to measure garments in the store that fit me well. You can change your pattern and sewing directions to work through your frustration.
  8. Do you have too many sewing commitments? Are there a dozen people bugging you to sew for them? Learn to say no to people that want to take advantage of your skills for free. Suggest they learn to sew themselves. Give back the unfinished projects you have already collected, tell the owner you simply don’t have time to finish them.
  9. Make note of how much time you have already invested in your project. Is it worth it to invest more time to finish it? Sometimes it’s freeing to add the whole works to the scrap pile and count it as a learning experience. Feel free to move on to a new project with a clear state of mind if it seems like it’s already been a waste of effort. We all have been there at one point or another, don’t let this keep you from starting something new.

How to Triumph Over Your Unfinished Sewing Projects|Chambray Blues|Chambrayblues.com

Like this episode? Don’t forget to Pin it! Check out these other posts:

Meet Mimi Goodwin, Successful Sewing Entrepreneur

001: Interview with Melissa Viscount of Silhouette School Blog

Basic Sewing Terminology, What You Need to Know to Start

The History of Sewing, How We Got Where We are Today

The Tale of the Seamstress

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