Thankfully I found the perfect pattern in Slpco - Malibu!!! With its twirly skirt and twisted back she felt less like a kid in it while keeping mummy happy that she’s not too grown up just yet!!
Thankfully I found the perfect pattern in Slpco - Malibu!!! With its twirly skirt and twisted back she felt less like a kid in it while keeping mummy happy that she’s not too grown up just yet!!
Have you ever tried sewing socks? If you haven't, now is a perfect time!
With just a few scraps of jersey, sewing machine and free pattern from Ellie and Mac it's a breeze!
The Sew it Forward socks pattern is free and comes in sizes from kids to adults. The sizes are based on size of the sole. I've made size 9-10 for my 6yrs old daughter but she has rather small feet so always best to measure.
The pattern is only 4 pages so very quick to assemble.
I've decided to leave the printed version as a 'master' pattern and copy the size I need onto our Thermoadhesive Tracing Paper It works amazing on small pieces like the sock pattern pieces.
Here is our Thermoadhesive Tracing paper in action:
The best fabrics for this project are single jersey with at least 5% lycra.
You can find our selection here
The fabric needs to have a good stretch at least 50% - that means that 10cm piece should stretch to 15cm and bounce back easily after stretch.
I highly recommend using cotton based fabrics to have your socks super comfy and breathable.
Make sure you prewash your fabric as cotton tends to shrink about 5%.
Here are all the pieces cut out
Let's get sewing!
You can make socks using overlocker or standard domestic machine. I made one pair entirely on overlocker and one pair using only sewing machine. I love my overlocker but this time I need to admit I got the better results with sewing machine. The process is the same just a different method. You can find the tips on sewing with machine further down
I've made the pink leopard socks entirely on overlocker:
Here is a wee trick how to secure the finished overlock thread:
Separate the 2 straight threads from the loopy ones and pull them out. Make a knot and all done:
Here is few things to know if you using sewing machine instead of overlocker:
I've made the Mermaid Scale sock entirely on sewing machine
The process is the same as above apart from 2 extra steps:
That's it, all done! Turn around and admire!
The pattern is very easily adjustable and if you feel your socks are too loose at toes just redo the curved seam a bit further down.
I found the band to be a little to tight so will make a next pair a bit wider at the top.
This project has been so much fun and I'm surprised how comfy the socks are. Even my usually fussy 6yrs old approved!
As kids clothes go, in my humble opinion, dungarees are possibly the cutest outfits that you can put your kids in, and one of the most well received gifts. As much as I enjoy knocking up a pair of leggings, dungarees have the advantage of being an outfit in one; they also do a wonderful job showing off beautiful prints. They are modern, comfortable, and can be made to suit both warm and cold months. It really is no wonder that they are so popular!
As the weather turns cooler, I wanted to make another pair of dungarees to keep Freya warm for the coming months. The Whimsical Woodlands jersey was the perfect backdrop to help us embrace the autumnal days! I paired it up with some quilted jersey from my stash, et voila! A pair of reversible dungarees were born.
Without further ado, let’s start with the pattern round-up!
Best reversible pattern
I used the Dandelion dungarees pattern by Poppy and Jazz, which is the kids pattern range from Sew Over It by Lisa Comfort. This truly has been a tried and tested pattern in my household, and just as I started experiencing anxiety that Freya was outgrowing the 24m range limit that came with the pattern, what do you know? Lisa extended the age range to 6 years! I was over the moon. And so was she!
The best thing about this pattern is that it is reversible. Having made it quite a few times in the past, I also know that the fit is good on Freya. I did make this pair in size 18-24m, due to the limited stretch and the thickness of the quilted jersey, and there is currently plenty of room to grow (she's just under 14 months right now). I have put in 2 sets of poppers; together with the rolled over hem, they should be good to see us through till warmer times!
I have made some tweaks over time purely as a matter of personal preference. Let me walk you through those.
Firstly, I tweaked the strap construction. Instead of cutting a separate piece as the strap for each side, I cut them as part of the back piece by extending the shoulders. I also raised the poppers by 1.5 inches, so that the straps stay up better. This basically means that at the front, I added 1.5 inches to the top of each shoulder; at the back, I added the length of the strap piece, before deducting 1.5 inches. You should remember to allow for seam allowances, too.
Secondly, I raised the centre back by 1 inch.
I like the end result after these adjustments, but in all honesty, I also didn’t have any problem when I sew a pair straight out of the envelope. I wanted to share what I did just in case you were wondering why this pair looks a little different from the official photos.
I’m particularly fond of this pattern for the cooler months. Being reversible, these dungarees are essentially fully lined, and you really can knock yourself out with all the cooler and warmer combinations of fabrics! Although the pattern calls for the outer and lining fabrics to be of similar weight and stretch, I had no issue working with a stretchy single jersey and a stable quilted heavy weight jersey. If you are a beginner though, I think 2 layers of French Terry would be a great place to start.
If you are in the market for a pair of non-reversible dungarees, don’t worry. I’m getting to it. But before I tell you about those options, let me point out that you can quite easily adapt this pattern to only partly line it. See my post here.
Now, some other options. And they are free! Yep, you read that right!
Best slim fit pattern
My recommendation goes to the Romperalls by Peek-a-boo patterns. I have used this pattern in the past to make a gift to a toddling little lady who is quite petite and slim built, and it worked a treat! This pattern would’ve been too tight for Freya right now, though :)
You are even allowed sell items made from this pattern. How generous is that for a freebie?
Best grow with me option
Not satisfied with just the one free pattern? Fear not, I dug deep and found another! Here is one that is designed for Bernina by the Simple Life Pattern Company, and it comes with tie shoulders and foldover cuffs. The link takes you to some super cute photos and some pattern hacks, and here is a direct link to the free pattern. I must disclose that although I have printed this one off, I have not yet tried it, and did read somewhere that the sizing might run a little bit small. You might want to do your own research before cutting out.
Want to add a snap crotch?
Let me say that I’ve never missed the snap closure on any of the dungarees that I’ve made. It’s so easy to whip them on and off, frankly, I’m glad to not have to mess about with pliers. However, I fully understand that some do miss them, especially for a younger baby, so I wanted to include a link to a tutorial that might help you. Here it is! You are welcome.
Right, that’s it. I trust that you are now off to sew some dungarees! How about some seasonal ones as Christmas presents?
Thanks for reading. Until next time,
Alice from Queen of Darts
It's still so wintery outside but I'm longing for some spring sewing. These beautiful tulips are just what I need. Very simple and quick project - instant joy!
Here is what you need to make your bouquet:
- Single Jersey or woven cotton - jersey is great as it will make your tulip bud more plump but you can also use cotton.
- Straw - I used paper one which is more strudy than plastic and eco-friendly :)
- Wooden skewer to help turn fabric around (optional)
- Matching thread
- Hand sewing needle
- Erasable Pen
- Pinking Shears (optional)
- Pattern - get free pattern here
Here is how to do it:
For leaf and tulip bud put 2 layers of fabric right side together and with erasable pen draw around your pattern on fabric.
Sew on the line leaving the straight edge unsewn. Cut around with pinking shears being careful not to cut the stitch.
Cut around with pinking shears being careful not to cut the stitch.
Turn the leaf and tulip bud right side out.
Turn the raw edges of the leaf inside about 1/4" and topstitch close to the edge. Fold the leaf in a half and with erasable pen draw the line 2" long and 1/2" from the fold of the leaf. That will create a channel for the stem.
For stem pattern cut out your fabric using pattern first.
Fold the stem piece in a half lenghtwise right side together. Sew one short and long edge creating a closed tube. Trim the corner close to stitch but be careful not to cut through the stitch.
Turn the tube right side out using the straw and the wooden skewer - first insert the straw up to the end and then using the skewer push the end inside the straw - super easy! Once you have it right side out push the straw inside. Push the stem inside the channel you made in the leaf.
6) Stuff the tulip. First fold the raw edges to the inside and run a gathering handstitch around the bottom. Pull the thread to gather and fit the stem inside. Pin the bud to the stem and handstitch to secure.
Hope you enjoy making the tulips as much as I did!
Thanks for reading!
It is not easy to buy fabrics without being able to touch it, feel the softness, drape and weight. It’s tricky to figure out if the gorgeous print you see on your computer screen is just the thing to make your favourite dress. Here is a quick guide to make it all a bit easier!
Before you buy fabric it’s essential you read the description – obvious? Well, you will be surprised to know how many people don’t! It can save you a lot of hassle if you find out all the essential info before you buy.
In this guide, I will explain what information to look for and what it means in terms of using the fabric plus some other very useful stuff. Let’s get started!
Woven or Knit?
The way the fabric is made is the most important information. There are two main categories:
This types of fabrics are made by interlacing the threads, like a criss-cross. This type of fabrics are most likely non stretchy unless they contain elastic fibres like Lycra.
There are 3 main types of weave and each has its own unique characteristics:
Plain weave is most common – if you think ‘’cotton’’ you probably think of a plain weave fabric made of cotton fibres.
Satin weave – is less known but definitely more luxurious type. It features more complex arrangement of threads which make is softer, more floaty fabric with delicate shine.
Twill weave – if you have never heard of twill before have a look at your jeans – it’s the most common example of the twill weave fabric. You can easily recognise twill weave by diagonal thread pattern on the surface. Twill fabrics are usually more densely woven and a bit heavier hence is most commonly used for trousers, jackets and home décor projects. Here is a twill weave:
Image Source: www.bbc.co.uk/schools/gcsebitesize/design/...
Knit fabrics are made by continuous yarns looped repeatedly to create tiny rows of braids. If you ever tried knitting you will know all about it, if not I’m sure you’ve seen a knitted hat before. The knit fabrics are made in similar way but the yarns are often looped more tightly creating smoother surface.
The main characteristic of knitted fabric is that it stretches. It’s also softer than woven fabrics hence more suitable for garments like tops, leggings dresses and anything else you can wear.
There is so many types of knit fabrics it’s really easy to get confused. Here is a few main, most common types:
Jersey – This name is most commonly associated with knitted fabrics and often used interchangeably or as a part name for various types of knitted fabrics (like French terry jersey, interlock jersey, sweatshirt jersey)
Most common type is a single jersey made with single row of braids. It’s often quite thin and when cut curls to the wrong side.
Here is an example:
Interlock – is made with double layer of yarn braids which makes is thicker and easier to sew. It looks the same on the right and wrong side.
Ribbed Knit - commonly called ribbing is easy to recognise as it has distinguishable lines (‘ribs’). It’s very stretchy and perfect for cuffs, necklines and waistbands. It usually stretches in only two ways ( as opposite to 4 ways) so be careful to cut it along the stretch way.
Very often ribbed knits are narrower than other fabrics – our ribbings are about 80-96cm wide - and also don’t have salvage (raw edge) as they’re tubular knits
It’s also great as a main fabric for super stretchy vests, underwear and more. Here is how the ribbed knit looks like:
French terry is a medium weight type of knit with distinguishable loops (loose braids) on the wrong side and smooth right side. It makes this fabrics thicker and warmer than single jersey or interlock but often less stretchy. It’s often mistaken for terrycloth (towelling) but its nothing like it!
As it’s a bit thicker it’s very easy to sew but still soft and drapey. It’s one of my favourite fabrics as it’s super comfy and perfect for casual garments like tops, tunics, loungewear and hoodies. It’s also very versatile and can be used for cushions, blankets and even bags! Here is it’s loopy side:
Terry cloth – sometimes called terry towelling or simply towelling is just the fabric towels are made of. It’s often woven (I bet the towels in your bathroom don’t stretch) but can also be knitted having a good stretch. Thanks to the loops of threads it absorbs water very well. It’s perfect for projects like bibs, hooded kids towels, head towel wraps and even dog coats. Here is an example:
Sweatshirt - Usually thick and heavy jersey with brushed, fleece backing. It’s perfect for colder weather. Is doesn’t stretch very much and is more suited to casual loose fitting garments like hoodies, trousers, blankets and more.
When shopping for knitted fabrics it’s good to know how much they stretch as it will determined what types of garments can be made of them. It’s usually very much connected to the composition and the weight I’m going to take about below.
Stretch is usually indicated as a percentage. For example single jersey made with 100% cotton has a stretch of about 20% which means that 10cm of fabric will stretch to 12cm. This is not much so this type of fabrics are best suited to loose fitting garments.
Single jersey containing elastane can stretch much more around 70-80%, more or less depending on how much elastane is inside.
The swimwear fabrics can stretch up to 600%
If you can’t check the thickness of the fabric you should pay attention to the information on its weight. It usually appears as gsm or g/m2 and it stands for grams per square metre. For beginners it’s quite difficult to imagine what fabric with 160g/m2 feels like so when you buy any fabric check its weight so with time you can gain more experience is assessing its feel based only on the gsm.
Generally the lower gsm the thinner the fabric. For example thin single jersey can be about 160-180g/m2 and French terry is about 240-260g/m2. Cotton poplin (dressmaking cotton) is about 110-120g/m2, quilting cotton 130-150g/m2 and heavyweight cotton (canvas or home décor cotton) can be up to 400g/m2.
The composition tells you what fibres are the fabrics made of. There is so many types of fibres but I’m going to mention just a few. We can divide them into two main categories: natural fibres and man-made fibres.
Natural fibres like cotton, bamboo, linen, silk, wool have they own unique properites but here is few things they have in common:
Man-made fibres are polyester, nylon or elastane
Polyester is a most common fibre you definitely come across. Have a look at the label of the clothes your wearing and I’m sure you will notice some polyester content.
Polyester is quite smooth and nice to touch. It’s also very durable and keeps shape very well and isn’t prone to creasing like natural fibres. It’s also easy to wash and doesn’t shrink like cotton.
Elastane is a stretchy fibre also known as Spandex in USA or Lycra (that’s a brand name of elastane manufactured by DuPont).
It’s quite lightweight and retains it’s shape so after a stretch it comes back to its shape.
It appears in fabrics as an addition to other fibres like cotton or polyester.
There are couple more fibres worth noticing- rayon and modal (type of rayon) with are semi-synthetic. These are made with cellulose pulp (trees). These are very soft and breathable fibres perfect for summer garments.
These 3 main characteristic – composition, weight and weave or knit can come in any combination creating a huge array of various fabrics. To make it a bit easier some fabrics of specific characteristics have commonly used names. Here is a few examples:
Single Jersey - usually lightweight, cotton based fabrics
Poplin- lightweight, plain woven cotton, polyester or blend
Denim – heavy weight cotton based fabric of twill weave
Chiffon – very lightweight polyester based vowen fabric
Scuba – heavyweight polyester stretch fabric
Lycra – as well as a brand name it's also common name for very stretchy knit polyester based fabric with around 15-18% lycra content.
Velour – stretchy heavyweight polyester based fabric with nap or pile – (fabric hair lol)
Other useful info:
Colours - It's really important to know the colours you see on screen may be different to the real colour of the fabric. This is due to different computers or mobiles showing colours in different ways. Some colours are also very difficult to catch on the photo so if the shade is very important, for example to match with other fabric, always ask for a sample.
Unit of Sale - A lot of customers are used to buying fabrics by the yard or metre but as a sewing world grew and evolved more and more people are needing smaller pieces for their entire sewing projects. For that reason many online shops are now selling in half metre or Fat Quarter increments. Before you buy make sure you find that information. Some sellers put it in description of the fabrics, some in the general INFO section or FAQ ( Frequently Asked Questions).
**Fat Qarter - it's half a metre of fabric cut in half so for example if the fabric full width is 160cm the fat quarter will measure 50x80cm (21" x 31.5"); 1"=2.5cm; Yard = 0.91m **
Shopping online gives you a better choice but unlike buying in store it comes with extra cost and extra wait. The cost of postage varies but think of it as paying for a service of having your order delivered to your door. It's good to know what to expect so always check how your fabric will be posted. Is it via courier or Royal Mail? How quickly can you expect your order to be dispatched? When can you expect it to be delivered?
Returns - Know your rights
As with every purchase online you have a right to change your mind within 14 days of receiving your purchase. This is called your ''statutory right'' ( you can read more about it here). That applies also to fabrics that were cut to order! It's good to get in touch with the merchant first to inform that you'd like to return the order and confirm the return address. Sending your return tracked or signed for mail is also a good idea as it will give you a peace of mind.
This is in no way an extensive guide but I hope you find it useful and it makes choosing the fabrics online just a bit easier!
Thanks for reading!
Seriously, I find baby cardigans and coats totally irresistible when they have ears, and I'm pretty sure that I am not the only one. In fact, ears should be obligatory for any baby clothing. And sorry Freya, I don't care if you hate wearing hats or hoods of any kind over your head.
The ears. I chose the bunny ears for this project, and to say that I'm smitten by them is an understatement. This was actually also my first time constructing a hood. The pattern and instructions made it a breeze.
Alice from Queen of Darts.
There is nothing more satisfying than jumping into brand new crisp bedding at night. Well, maybe a crisp new bedding made by you!
It's really easy to sew - just few straight lines!
Here is a recipe:
First decide on size as it will determine how much fabrics you need.
Single size duvet cover has a dimensions of 150cm x 200cm.
Toddler size is 120cm x 150cm.
You need to take under consideration what fabric you want to use.
If the fabric pattern goes in one direction like on Mint Pandas Cotton you will need to cut 2 pieces and join them because otherwise one side of the duvet will look upside down.
If the pattern is non-directional, like on Butterflies Cotton, you can cut your fabric on the fold. It looks more neat and it's one less seam to do :)
Here is a cutting layout for both fabric options:
I like to use 1/2" Seam Allowance (SA) but you can use any SA you like just remember about adding it to your calculations. I've rounded up 1/2" to 1cm for the calculations.
For a single duvet cover measuring 150cm x 200cm, made with non-directional fabric you need just over 4 meters + 1/2 meter for a pillow cover.
Check out our range of extra wide value cottons!
This is how I calculated the dimensions for single duvet cover:
Length - 200cm+200cm (front and back) + 1cm+1cm (first bottom edge fold) + 1.5cm+1.5cm (second fold) = 405cm
For directional fabric you need to add extra seam allowance on both pieces.
Width is 150cm + 1cm +1cm (SA on both sides) = 152cm
Standard pillowcase measures 50cm x 75cm.
You only need to cut one long stripe of fabric. I usually cut 52cm wide stripe of 160cm wide fabric and that gives just the right size. The flap is 14cm long.
If you need the custom size this is how it should be calculated:
Sewing Duvet Cover
Fold the fabric length in a half right sides together so the two short sides meet. Sew two long edges together. If you’re using directional print fabric you also need to sew the top of the of the cover.
I sew the two long sides only on overlocker as it does two jobs in one - sews and makes the edges nice and neat.
If you don't have one just sew a straight stitch first and then a short zigzag along the raw edges so they don't fray and trim extra seam allowance.
Next is hemming the bottom of the duvet cover. Fold over 3/8" first all around and then fold again 5/8". Seam gauge is a great tool to keep it easy and accurate. Then sew close to the inside fold all around.
Once the bottom is hemmed it's time to make a corners. Align the hemmed edges together so the side seam is on the fold. Sew past the hem stitch on the inside about 10cm long stitch. Make sure you back-stitch few times at the end.
Repeat on the other side and turn right side out. You should have a nice neat corner.
Time for poppers
I prefer to use poppers as they're so convenient but you can also use buttons and make buttonholes.
One set consist of 2 cover pins, 1 male and female popper.
You can use as many or as little sets as you want. For a single duvet I usually use 4 sets evenly spaced.
Mark your point where you want the poppers to go. First pierce the hem with the cover pin from the inside to the outside. When you press the top hem onto the cover pin it will mark the place of the matching popper. Fit the popper button onto the pin and press with the tool.
And that's it - the duvet cover is done!
Let's make a pillowcase
First hem the short raw edges exactly like the bottom of the duvet cover.
Fold one short edge to the inside right sides together. The fold should be about 14cm long. Press the fold with iron.
Open up the fold and sandwich the other edge inside the fold - take the opposite short edge and bring it to the line of the fold and cover with the flap.
Sew both sides through all layers as marked on the image below with red lines.
Now turn the pillow right side out so the flap goes inside and job done!
Thanks for reading. Hope you have a great time making bed covers. I would love to see your finished projects!
Get in touch if you have any questions!
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