Sewing Inspirations

Peter Rabbit Dress & Pattern

Peter Rabbit Dress & Pattern

Who doesn't like Peter Rabbit?

My 19-month old toddler Freya is certainly a big fan! I am biased, but she is at such a cute age at the moment - starting to really show and voice her preferences, and lucky for Mummy, Freya really loves her new Peter Rabbit dress. 

It's pretty long right now (with the end of the sleeves folded in), but I just can't bear the thought of her outgrowing this one too quickly!

After a careful "audit" of Freya's wardrobe, I noticed that she is in need of a long-sleeve, wear anywhere and anytime sort of dress. I pictured it with a loosely fitted bodice, and a lightly gathered skirt, which can be layered up with a cardigan and tights when the weather gets a bit chilly (oh yes, I am serious about her wearing this one for as long as possible). 

 

Poppy & Jazz Pansy dress was just the pattern, and it fulfilled my vision perfectly. I bought this when it was in baby sizing 0-24m, but its recent expansion of sizing to up to 6-year old was a very welcome move indeed. I can see many more versions of this in the years to come. 

I made size 18-24m (knowing that the sizing works pretty well for Freya), and cut the skirt a little shorter (based on the 18m line). 

The instructions were nice and clear, and straightforward enough for beginners. Part of me wanted to compare it to the instructions of a similar adult dress, like the Colette Moneta (my version here), but that would probably be unfair, and what the Pansy offers is more than fit for purpose. Top tip - if you do want to (and have the time to) pick up some excellent tips for sewing with knits, check out the Moneta sew-along -- you are welcome. 

 

But as a busy mum, I didn't indulge my perfectionism and take my time over each step, and man did it backfire! Whilst I have had success in the past of gathering knit with clear elastic (no basting and unpicking, hooray!), my impatience got better of me this time. What awaited were me so hideously uneven gathers. Ignoring it and moving onto the next step did not help my sanity as much as I hoped, and I ended up chopping off the entire waistline seam, and starting over. I'm sharing this because 1) we often don't share enough about the imperfections behind all the beautiful photos and 2) to remind myself that sewing when you feel rushed will not provide great results, and that sewing is a hobby that I enjoy, not a task to complete. 

Enough philosophy speak, don't you think? Let's look at those lovely gathers (picture above) that I took my time with in the end. 

 

The fabric is absolutely gorgeous. There is no hiding from the fact that I have a bit (okay, a lot) of a fabric obsession, but this was one of the prints that grabbed my attention from the get go. The colours, the design and the scale are all perfect, and this fabric would also make amazing t-shirts and leggings. You can also team it with all sorts of cuffings/ribbings, which makes it super versatile. 

Currently this particular jersey is on pre-order here, and you can also grab two other desigs here and here. It's just too good to miss! Any other cotton jersey would work very well for this little dress, too - just pick your design! 

So there you have it, a pretty little dress that is good all-year round. It is a classic design, easy to make, and comfortable to wear. What's not to like?

Until next time, take care and happy sewing! 

Alice from Queen of Darts

 

 

Clean Canvas Collaborator
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Projectors for Sewing - Sewing Patterns projected directly onto your Fabric

Projectors for Sewing - Sewing Patterns projected directly onto your Fabric

Have you heard of the new craze in sewing world? It’s called projectors for sewing, or projector cutting! and it's taking the Sewing Community by storm. 

 

 

Imagine never again having to print, cut and tape your PDF sewing patterns… Imagine pattern outlines just appearing on your fabrics… like… magic! This wizardry is called projecting and it’s within a reach of any sewist.

When I first heard of it I couldn't contain my excitement. So much of the time consuming pattern preparation can be skipped!

I’ve done some research and came across the Facebook group called Projectors for sewing. The group is full of resources, tips, tricks and practical advice on how to set up various projectors. I highly recommend to join the group. I could not do it without their support!

It can be a little tricky to set up for the first time, it doesn't cost the earth though and once you have it set up, it's done forever and you'll never look back... I promise!

What you need:

  1. Projector
  2. Wall/Celling Fixture
  3. Connection to your device – HDMI cable or Chromecast, Wi-Fi if using Chromecast
  4. Spirit Level
  5. Cutting mat with guides (optional but very helpful)
  6. Calibration Grid file download here
  7. PDF pattern in A0 (copy shop) format

 

PROJECTOR

I’m using the Apeman LC350 but there are many other makes and models that work great. They can vary in prices significantly but the very basic one is all you need. The Apeman cost me £69.99 but some of the short throw projectors can cost much more.

Before you buy there are a few things to consider

  • Short throw – measure the distance from wall/celling to your cutting table, floor or other surface where you want to project your patterns and check your chosen model to see what size of picture you can achieve
  • Lumens – how bright the projected picture will be and think of how bright/ambient your room is. If your working space has lot of light you'll need a brighter picture (more lumens) and for darker rooms less lumens is fine. The projector I’m using has 4500 lumens.
  • Resolution – it’s the max size the projector can display. It’s most often described in (P) pixels. The Apeman I’m using supports 1080P resolution – which is the same as my laptop screen resolution.
  • Keystone – does the projector let you adjust the keystone? Keystone is the correction adjustment you can make to offset a screen that is not rectangular due to the angle of the projection.
  • Connectivity – how are you going to connect your projector to the device you have your patterns on? Most projectors have HDMI port but some come with Wi-Fi connectivity.
  • Wall/celling Mount – before you decide which one to buy there are a few things to consider.
    • Where the projector will be mounted – on the wall, celling, photography stand?
    • Is it adjustable? Will it let you mount the projector with lens facing down? Can it be adjusted easily to level the projector?
    • How to attach the projector to mount - will the chosen mount fit the mounting holes on the projector?
    • What’s the maximum weight the mount will hold? Check the weight of your chosen projector to see if the mount is suitable.
  • Connection to the device you are going to use to project the patterns like laptop, desktop computer or tablet. Here are some options to consider
    • HDMI cable – most projectors will come with a HDMI cable that you can use to connect the projector to a laptop or desktop computer. You may not be able to connect the HDMI cable to your mobile phone or tablet. Most of the projectors come with the HDMI cables but they are usually very short so if you want to use the cable, chances are you will need an extra, extra-long one.
    • Chromecast cost about £20 – this is a device that turns other devices (like projector) into a wireless one. It connects to the projector via HDMI port but it also needs to be plugged in to the mains so something to consider when assessing where your projector will be placed.
    • Some projectors, usually the more expensive ones, will have built in wi-fi connectivity which means no cables or Chromecast is needed.

The set up and calibration process is not easy but only needed to be done once. There are many variables so a trial and error with a lot of patience and persistence is required.

Let’s get started!

Physical set up

  • Fix the projector to the wall/celling making sure the cables are secured and won’t pull the projector after set up.
  • Make sure the projector is levelled at all angles. That’s a good starting point for further steps but be prepared to adjust and readjust if needed.

  • Make sure the surface you’re projecting onto is also levelled.
  • Set the focus – make sure the image is as sharp as can be.

  • Make sure the projected image is straight on the surface. One of the ways to do this is to check if all 4 corners of the projected image are 90°.

  • Keystone - If the corners are not squared, adjust the keystone dial. Do it only if you are confident that the projector and surface are levelled.

 

Projector Set Up

  • First choose the HDMI as your picture source

  • Check the Aspect Ratio. The Apeman projector I’m using have to be set to Panorama.

  • Other projectors may have different ratio that works best. If you’re not sure what’s best experiment with different setting during the calibration process.

 

Connect the projector

  • Connect the projector to your device. I found it easiest to work with a laptop and to avoid all the messy cables I connected using Chromecast.

  • Connecting Chromecast and casting your screen:

You need to setup the Chromecast via Google Home app. All it needs is to connect to your wi-fi network. The laptop/computer needs to be in the same network.

  • Open Google Chrome browser and in the top right corner click on the 3 dots opening a menu. Click on Cast. You should be able to see your Chromecast device. Before you click on the device choose cast desktop. The window will pop up. Click on the picture of your desktops and then click Share. You should have image of your entire screen projected on your table.

Calibration

  • Download the calibration file – this is the PDF file with a simple grid that helps you to check if the projected image has correct measurements. The lines are 1cm apart. You can download the file here. It’s also available in the Projectors For Sewing group in imperial and metric format.

  • Open your calibration file. The following instructions are for Adobe Acrobat Reader, you can use other PDF readers but the steps may be different.
  • Align your cutting mat with the displayed grid – the aim is to get all the lines of the displayed grid aligned to the lines of the cutting mat and that’s the most difficult part of the set up.

  • Concentrate on the middle of the grid first.
  • Align red vertical and horizontal lines with one of the middle lines on your mat.
  • Check if the next projected line is 1cm from the red line.
  • If the line is more than 1cm it means the projected image is to big. If the lines are less than 1cm apart it means the projected image is too small.

  • Adjust the zoom of your PDF file. If the projected image is too big - decrease the zoom and if the image is to small increase the zoom.

  • The zoom needs to be set very precisely and often to a tenth of a percent. My zoom is set to 32.8% and that’s the only setting where the lines are exactly 1cm apart. Once you find your zoom setting make a note as every time you project you need to use exactly the same percentage of zoom. (presuming the projector hasn't been moved)
  • Once the lines in the middle are aligned have a look at the other lines. Are they aligned with the lines of the cutting mat? If the answer is yes – you are all set! If not – don’t panic and carry on adjusting!
  • If the lines are not aligned there are a few things to check over and adjust if needed. This can take a bit of experimenting to find just the right set up. Remember when adjusting the following variables – adjust one at a time and recheck the grid.
  • Recheck if the projector and surface is levelled
  • Recheck if the corners of projected image are 90°
  • Adjust the focus
  • Check if the computer screen resolution is the same as the resolution of your projector. If different then change the screen resolution or settings on you projector
  • Try other Aspect Ratio settings of your projector.
  • It took me few tries and each time I started from scratch and went over each step again.
    This is no way an extensive guide to calibration and with so many different projectors, computers and set-ups it’s difficult to explore them all. If you still have problems with getting your projected image right head over to Projector for sewing Facebook Group and you will find more detailed information there.

      When you have your projector all set up and celebratory dance done it’s time to give a real pattern a try!

      Before you start there are few things to know:

      • You need to have a pattern in PDF A0 format, sometimes called a photo shop format. Most pattern designers offer it along the A4 sizes.
      • Some PDF patterns have layers that can be switched on/off. It make it easier to be able to display only one size instead of all. Not all pattern designers offer this option. Some designers are now offering projector files with thicker lines and size layering. It’s good to check before buying if you want to project the pattern.

      All of our own PDF patterns have layers and are suitable to use with projectors.

      Being able to switch the layers of and on is also very helpful when you need to blend between sizes.

      Here is what to look for: 

      • To be able to see the pattern more clearly I prefer to revert the colours of the PDF. Here is how to do it in Acrobat Reader:

      Time to cut the fabric!

      Having the pattern projected instead of pinned takes a bit of adjusting. First thing is to make sure that the fabric doesn’t move once correctly placed.

      As you are not able to move the fabrics you will need to have enough space around it to be able to move to cut from different angles.

      Hope you enjoyed reading about my adventure with projectors. If you give it a go don’t forget to share your experience!

      Dorota Potorska
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      My quest for the perfect summer dress

      My quest for the perfect summer dress

      Have you been looking for a special kiddie dress that’ll be perfect for the coming 

      summer months?

      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!!

      Dorota Potorska
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      Sew your own socks from scraps

      Sew your own socks! Super quick and easy sewing project

      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%.

      I've picked two fabrics from our range Pink Leopard Jersey and Mermaids Scales Jersey

      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:

      • Align the back bottom and back top pieces right sides together and sew between the notches. It can be a bit tricky to go round the curve without stretching the fabric

      • Open up this piece and place right sides together on the front piece. You may need to stretch the back a little to fit the front.

       

      • Sew around leaving the straight edge open

      • Fold the band in half wrong side together aligning long edges and iron. Open the fold.
      • Fold again right sides together aligning the short edges and sew.
      • Refold in half creating the tube
      • Divide the tube in half marking the opposite edge with pin or small notch:

      • The bands should be a little shorter than the sock opening:

      • Put the band inside the sock align the edges and align the seam and mark on the band with side seam of the sock.

      • It can be tricky to sew around the opening of small sock to take your time and stop often to readjust the band

      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:

       
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      Here is few things to know if you using sewing machine instead of overlocker:

      • Choose the stretch stitch

      • If you don't have a 'special stretch stitch the zigzag stitch is great if you decrease the stitch length and width. It's best to check on scrap first to see which settings will give you the most stretching stitch.

      I've made the Mermaid Scale sock entirely on sewing machine

      The process is the same as above apart from 2 extra steps:

      • Clip the corner where the back top and side seam meet. The further you can cut without cutting the seam the better results:

         

        • Trim the seam allowances - using pinking shears makes it super easy. If you don't have them just trim the edges but you will also need to clip all the curves.

        • After sewing the side seam of the band make a small cut into the seam allowance in the middle and iron the both parts of seam allowance opposite ways. This will help to reduce the bulk of the seam:

        • Refold the band and sew to the sock top

        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!

        Dorota Potorska
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        Whimsical woodland dungarees + pattern round-up

        Whimsical woodland dungarees + pattern round-up

        Whimsical Dungarees
        Let’s talk dungarees today. By dungarees, I mean the type that's made with knit fabrics - onesie without sleeves, if you will, and those that are often referred to as rompers  Sorry, grown-ups, we will also be focusing on kids clothes today, following my round-up on the leggings and PJs. Perhaps we can talk grown-up outfits another time, but the truth is, since becoming a mum, much of my sewing efforts have been focused on the baby. The constant growing opens up great opportunities for new outfits, and I cannot deny the joy that I am filled with when I see Freya in mummy made clothes.

         

        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!

         

        I’ve made quite a few pairs in the last year or so: 3 pairs for Freya (here, here and here) and one more pair as a gift. Did I mention that they make amazing gifts?

         

        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 

         

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        Clean Canvas Collaborator
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        Tulip Tutorial and free pattern

        Tulip Tutorial and free pattern

        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)

        - Stuffing

        - 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!

        Dorota

        Flamingo Fabrics

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        Dorota Potorska
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        Various types of fabrics and how to buy them online

        Various types of fabrics and how to buy them online

        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:

        WOVEN 

        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

        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:

        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.

        Stretch 

        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%

        Weight

        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.

        Compostion

        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:

        • Very little elasticity – no stretch
        • Kind to skin, hypoallergenic
        • Good water absorbency
        • Shrink in washing
        • Creases easily
        • Bio-degradable
        • Breathable and soft

        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 **

        Delivery

        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!

        Dorota

        Flamingo Fabrics

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        Dorota Potorska
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        Baby jacket with ears! Adding Bunny Ears to Kids Clothing

        Baby jacket with ears! Adding Bunny Ears to Kids Clothing

        What makes baby clothes even more adorable?

        Ears! (obviously)

        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.

        So imagine my excitement when I came across the Ikatee Grand'Ourse pattern. For starters, it's French. But more importantly, has ears! Better still, the pattern includes both bunny and bear ear options, the latter of which could also be inserted in the raglan seams. Swoon!
        As soon as I saw Flamingo Fabrics new constellation French Terry, I knew it would be perfect for this project. It's no secret that I love French Terry, but the beautiful powder pink, and the modern, medium sized print, are exactly what I had in mind for the little jacket for my daughter. I picked the spotty cheetah jersey for the lining, as I wanted a small print for the ears (did I mention there were ears?!), and the tiny pink dots matched the French Terry very well.
        I'm so pleased to share the finished jacket with you. This may well be my favourite baby project yet, which is no mean feat, especially as I've only recently made these dungarees!


        It was such a satisfying project, and I really enjoyed seeing it all come together. Both fabrics were lovely to sew with. Neither my sewing machine nor my overlocker had any complaints!

        This was my first time working with an Ikatee pattern, and certainly won't be my last. I love their pattern range -- I want to buy every kids pattern they have! This pattern is well drafted, with clear written instructions (with pictures) as well as a video in English. Unlike some of the kids patterns that I've used, it includes nice technical details like understitching the lining, which I always appreciate.
        As a side note, Ikatee offers a free pattern if you sign up to their newsletter, and you can choose from a few options.

        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.

        Although Freya is only 9 months old, I made the jacket in size 12-18 months, to allow for the time of year. If there's anything that I've learned in the last 9 months, it's that time seriously flies when you have a baby, and they grow up so, so fast! Planning ahead and making her wear stuff that's way too big for her will therefore be inevitable.

        I opted for the 6-button option (you could use fewer, and in case of the bear ears in the raglan sleeves, you could make a little bear face with buttons!), and used some wooden buttons from my stash. I machine sewed both the buttons and buttonholes.
        The only step I added was that I interfaced the wrong (looped) side of the French Terry behind the buttonholes, to stabilise.

        In addition to all the options in terms of length, hood, lining, and ears, this pattern is super versatile in that it can be made with so many types of fabrics. Want a warmer coat? How about this constellation sweatshirt fleece in pale blue? How about a little woven jacket with this bright wool or this floral corduroy? You can even make a raincoat in the longer length. The possibilities are endless.

        It got me thinking. With a September baby on my hands, and having truly enjoyed this project, perhaps I could make a jacket/coat for Freya every year, as a birthday present. How sweet would that be as a tradition?
        Thanks for reading.

        Alice from Queen of Darts.

        Dorota Potorska
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        Make your own duvet cover set

        Make your own duvet cover set

        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:

        Size

        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 :)

        Cutting

        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

        Pillowcase

        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 other short sides together

        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.

        For poppers you need the press and the set of matching popper buttons

        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. Turning hem once pressing with iron and turning again. Then sew the hem close to the inside fold.

        Fold one short edge with right side of the flap to the right side of pillow fabric. 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!

        Dorota

        Flamingo Fabrics

        Dorota Potorska
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        Baby leggings pattern round-up

        Baby leggings pattern round-up

        I'm pleased to be back here today sharing my latest make with you, and to talk more generally about baby and kids legging patterns in a little round-up. Trust me, you'll want to read this one till the end 😉
        First up, a pair of cheetah bum panel leggings! Purr! Yep, you read that right - did you know that cheetahs don't roar, they purr? How utterly adorable is that? 
        Where was I? Right, sewing project. I really loved a pair of bum panel leggings that Freya has outgrown, so I've been on a mission to create some more. Having spent a fair bit of time at baby classes and playgroups, and seeing similar designs by Joules, Blade & Rose, Jojo, to name a few, I have it on good authority that they might be in fashion, too!
        The fabric choice was simple. I had a bit of the lining fabric leftover from my baby jacket project, and it's the perfect weight and feel for a pair of fun baby leggings. There's no question to my mind as to what the matching fabric would be. Of course, it's the cheetah print jersey. #matchmadeinheaven 
        But have you seen the scales and mermaid jerseys? Or the glitter and roses jerseys? How about a solid with the Minnie stripes
        The pattern I used is the Mother Grimm Lockley leggings , which comes with a whole host of options, including plain leggings without the bum panel. I made the size 9-12 months straight out of the envelope (so to speak, as it's a pdf pattern), with bum panel, hemmed legs and single (rather than folded) waistband. The instructions were great, fit true to size, and the pdf included layers, so no complaints from me!  
        This is my second time making these, and I wanted to try a new technique. I did an overlocker flatlock last time (see my possibly overly comprehensive tutorial here), and wanted to fake it this time with just the sewing machine. I followed Taisia's excellent tutorial, and love the result. 
        I even did a matching hem to boot. 
        When I was looking for baby and kids legging patterns, I was overwhelmed by all the options. It is such a wardrobe essential, especially, (although not exclusively) for girls, so inevitably all pattern companies seem to have their own version. I thought I'd attempt to summarise what I've found, to show you the best of what's out there, focusing on some excellent free options. 
        One of the patterns that is tried and tested in my household is the leggings pattern by Brindille & Twig. These go from preemie up to 5-6T, and the pdf costs $7.50 to buy. I bought this when Freya still looked like a potato, and 4 pairs of leggings later (bearing in mind that Freya is only 10 months old), obviously think that this is a great pattern. That said, if I were to be 100% honest, I'm not sure that I would spend the money again. Why? Because there are so many good FREE options out there. Let me show you the best that I've found in each category. 

        Basic leggings with yoga bands (girls)
        Halla leggings for kids. This pattern spans from 0-3 months to 12-14 years, and come with and without cuffs. You can print this on A0, for those (myself included) who takes no pleasure from taping pages together. The best bit is, you can get it for free by signing up to the Halla facebook group. When you are at it, don't forget to check out the other amazing freebies, too!  
        Basic leggings with elasticated waistband (girls)
        Love Notions has a pattern from 2T through to 14T, with layers, and trimless assembly when it comes to the PDF. 

        Basic leggings with different length options (girls)

        Made for Mermaids has the Bonny leggings, which come in ankle, capri, shorties and boy shorts lengths.  This is available from 6 months to 14 years. The PDF has layers, and can be print on A0 paper. 

        Newborn
        Sew Much Ado has 2 great options here. One with feet and one with knee pads. Although both are only in newborn size, they would make such cute baby presents! 
        Matching outfits
        Patterns for Pirates has the Petite Pegs, available in sizes preemie-12 months. They come with a fabric waistband, and there are cutting lines for ankle, capri, bike and shorties lengths. You can make matching adult versions with the Peg Legs pattern, also free, and there are even pocket and maternity add-ons that are free, too. It's a good place to get you started when you have a new baby to sew for. 
        Bum panel leggings
        In addition to the Locksley leggings that I used here, Titchy Threads also has Fancy Pants Leggings that are of a similar design (but excluding the plain/none bum panel option). This one has a larger size range (to 10 years rather than 6), and priced at $10. I am obviously a big fan of this style -- it is scrap busting and adorable, so personally think an investment one of these patterns, even with so many great free options, is worthwhile, particularly considering the cost of ready to wear leggings in this style. 
        Unisex leggings with numerous options
        I'm gonna be honest with you. I had initially rounded up all of the above, and some more, including some free PJ sets (matching PJs for the whole family, including pets, anyone?) to give you even more options. But just as I was putting the final touches to this, what do you know? Bam! Made by Jack's Mum, one of my favourite pattern companies, landed a FREE Lightning Leggings pattern, with endless options! Leggings for boys? Tick! Cloth nappy? Tick! Disposable nappies? Tick! Cuffs? Tick! Different lengths? Tick! A more relaxed fit (like PJ bottoms)? Tick! In fact, there are so many options that there was a decision tree in the instructions! 
        So really, Jack's Mum, you left me with no choice but to include the Lightning Leggings here. Heck, I almost rewrote this whole post, as this so clearly is the mummy of all legging patterns! The only catch is that you'll need to join their Facebook group to download the files (which even include an A0 version) for free in the UK and the rest of the EU (as Etsy does not allow for free listings), but if you are not on Facebook, you can still pick this up on Etsy for a nominal £1.20 including VAT. Worth every penny, in my opinion!
        On that note, I will leave you guys for now. I hope you've enjoyed the little round-up, and are off sewing some fabulous leggings!
        Alice from Queen of Darts

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        Dorota Potorska
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        All about PJs - Free Pattern Round Up

        All about PJs - Free Pattern Round Up

        A pattern round-up from Alice from Queen of Darts, this time on free pyjama patterns. Whilst my summary below will focus on kids PJs, there will be some mention of patterns for grown-ups PJs, too, because, who doesn’t like matching PJs?
        Dorota Potorska
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