Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Fabric Easter Basket Tutorial

Just in time for Easter! I gotta tell you, I'm loving this little basket. It's crocheted using fabric, which works up really quickly, so it's a one nap project - and I'm all about one nap projects.

1 ¾ yards of fabric (this project looks best if you work with a fabric that is printed on both sides, like a cotton broadcloth)
Rotary cutter (you can use scissors, but you might end up using them on yourself by the time you’re done.)
Matching thread
Size N crochet needle
Cutting mat or old cutting board
Basic crocheting skills (this pattern uses slip stitch and single crochet)

This pattern will produce a basket approximately 8 inches wide and 6 inches tall, perfect for a toddler or small child. It can easily be adapted into a larger basket by adding a few stitches to the foundation round.

Lay your fabric out on your cutting mat and cut long 1” strips. These strips are going to be sewn together, so I cut my fabric longways so I’d have less seams throughout my basket.

You’ll end up with a big pile of strips. Head to your sewing machine and sew the strips together at the ends to create one long continuous strip. TIP: I didn’t cut all my fabric at the beginning of this project. I cut about 15 strips at a time, sewed them together and rolled the strip into a ball. Then I’d head back to my mat, cut some more and then keep adding to my ball of fabric. Cutting the fabric is the most tedious part of this project, so this kept me from becoming bored!

Foundation chain: Take your ball of fabric and your crochet needle and LOOSELY chain 5. I used a size N needle, but you could use a larger needle for a larger basket – but I wouldn’t recommend a smaller needle. Join fabric by inserting needle in first chain. Slip stitch.

Row 1: Crochet two SC (single crochet) in each chain around. (2 sc, 2 sc, 2 sc)
NOTE: Loose, loose, loose!

Row 2-4: Crochet one SC in first SC and two SC in next SC around. (1 sc, 2 sc, 1 sc, 2 sc)
NOTE: Do not join each round, just continue around in one continuous round.

Row 5: Crochet one SC in first SC, one SCtog in next two stitches (this is a decrease) around. (1 sc, 1sctog, 1 sc, 1sctog)

NOTE: Row 5 is the first row that decreases the stitch count, so you’re basket should start to curl up on the sides. Click here for a good tutorial on doing this.

Row 6-12: Crochet one SC in each stitch around (sc, sc, sc, sc). Slip stitch to finish.

You’re basket should look something like this:

Now turn the basket inside out, looks much better, right?

HANDLE: Without turning, crochet 1 SC in slip stitch you made at the end of row 12. Chain 20.

Join chain to the opposite side of the basket with a SC.

Crochet another SC at the base of the handle as shown in the picture below.

SC in every chain in the handle across to the other side. SC in basket to finish handle.
Weave in the ends.

Ta-da! If you want to, you can trim some of the longer strings. The basket is soft and flexible, but sturdy enough to hold it's shape.

I added a yarn flower, click here for a gazillion great crochet flower patterns, but it would also look cute with one of these or these.

More cute Easter craftiness over at Sew Dang Cute! Check it out:

Happy crafting!


Friday, March 26, 2010

Keepin' it real

My sewing/craft room is supposed to be in the guest bedroom. Normally, I do work in there. But I'm working on a bunch of projects right now and since the next few days I'll be doing little else but sewing, I need to be where I can keep my eyes and ears on Madeline. I mentioned she just turned two, right? Whew, that kid wears me out.

So...back to my sewing space. I've moved to the dining room. It's a disaster area. Really, it is. And I'm all about keepin' it real. Which is why I'm sharing these scary photos.

Yes, that's a half-naked barbie doll on the table. I have no idea how she ended up there.

Speaking of scary, I REALLY need to replace my ironing board cover.

Wait! I forgot to show you pictures of my nice neat fabric pile!

Whoops! How did that picture get in here?

Hopefully next week I can the post the products that came out of this disaster area. The fabric for Madeline's easter dress just came in, I just cut it all out last night and I'm working on a few pioneer outfits for an event we have coming up. And a new tutorial that I think you guys will really dig. So stay tuned.

Here's some inspiring reading if your working on cleaning your sewing room. It's a must-read. As in, I must re-read it.


Monday, March 22, 2010

Simple Skirt Tutorial

I've never posted a tutorial before, but I've followed so many great ones (check out my favorite crafty bloggers in my sidebar!) so I'm pretty sure I understand how this is supposed to work: I show you how I made this simple little skirt with pictures and (hopefully!) helpful instructions so you can make one (or ten) too! Yay! Let's get started!


1 yard for main skirt fabric
1/2 yard for coordinating waistband and ties
around 2 feet of 1/2 inch elastic
Those fabric amounts should yield a skirt up to a size 10 girls. Obviously, that would make 2 or 3 smaller skirts.


Use the following formula to arrive at the correct sizing for your skirt.

You'll need three measurements:

*Waist (around the navel!)

*Hip (around the tushie!)

*Finished length you want the skirt to be. Measure from the natural waistline to wherever you want the finished skirt to fall.

For the sake of illustration, I'll use the measurements I used when I was assembling this skirt. I made this one for my littlest sister Louisa (she's the first sweet model above!). She had a waist measurement of 24, a hip measurement of 29 and we wanted the finished length to be 21. I'll show you the measurements I used for this particular skirt in parentheses after the formula.


Cut 2 skirt pieces - Hip measurement + 4 inches = WIDTH of skirt piece x LENGTH you want skirt to be (Louisa's skirt: 33 inches WIDE x 21 inches LONG)

Cut 2 tie pieces - Hip measurement (LENGTH) x 3.5 inches (Louisa's skirt:3.5 inches WIDE x 29 inches LONG)

Cut 1 waistband piece - Hip measurement + 2 inches = LENGTH of wasitband piece x 6 inches (Louisa's skirt: 6 inches WIDE x 31 inches LONG)

Cut 1 piece of elastic - Waist measurement - 2 = length of elastic (Louisa's skirt: 22 inches long)


Unless I specify otherwise, all seam allowances are 1/8 inch.

Fold your tie pieces in half lengthwise, right sides facing. Press.

Turn one end of the tie up so that the raw edges are even with the folded edge of the tie. Press.

Using the press line as a guide, cut the corner off of the tie with a rotary cutter or scicsors.

Sew tie, leaving the straight end of tie open.

Trim tip of tie, being careful not to snip the stiches.

Turn ties right side out. A crochet needle or chopstick works perfectly for this job! Press ties.

Set ties aside. Press one long edge of your waistband piece down 1/2 inch. Keeping that crease folded down, fold the waistband in half lengthwise. The folded edge should line up with the raw edge.
Open the waistband piece and cut it exactly in half.

You should end up with two waistband pieces that look like this:

Turn one waistband piece over, right side up, and align the raw edges of the finished ties with the side edges of the waistband piece, just under the first middle fold as shown in the picture below.

Place second waistband piece, wrong side up, over ties and first waistband piece. Align all creases and take care to make sure the ties are still in the correct place. Pin in place. Make sure your right sides are facing!

Make sure all folds are open and sew side seams of waistband pieces.

Fold waistband piece in half, exposing ties - which should now be attached to your waistband.

Set waistband aside and with right sides together, sew skirt pieces together at side seams.

I'd reccomend serging or zig-zagging (is that a word? zig-zagging?) seams for added reinforcement.

Press your hem up 1/2 inch all the way around. Fold up another 1/2 inch and press, encasing raw edge. Stitch hem all the way around.

Set your machine to it's longest stitch length and sew two rows of gathering stitches. The first should be 1/8 inch from the edge and the second 1/2 inch from the edge. Be sure to leave a 6 inch tail for both rows.

Pulling gently on the bobbin threads, gather the skirt evenly until it fits in your waistband piece.

Turn your waistband piece inside out and pin bottom edge of the waistband to the top of the gathered skirt - right sides facing. Take time to make sure your gathering is even and your side seams are lined up.
Stitch 5/8 inch from the edge, taking care to keep your gathers from bunching and puckering. I usually keep on hand on the waistband, feeding it through the machine and the other on the bottom of the skirt, pulling it taunt. Sorry, that would have been a little hard to take a picture of!

Turn your skirt ride side out and inspect your gathers to make sure you don't have any puckering. If you do, make friends with your seam ripper and give it another go.

Turn your skirt inside out and fold the waistband down. Line up side seams and pin in place. The fold you pressed in earlier should be turned under so that the inside of your waistband will have a nice, clean edge.

Of course, I forgot to take pictures of the next few steps, but we're almost done, so you'll have to forgive me!

Sew the waistband in place. This is a little tricky, because you want to make sure that the stitching on the inside of the waistband will appear evenly on the outside of the waistband. So take it slow and be aware of where the stitches are landing on the outside of the waistband. If your original "middle fold" is folding nicely at the top of your skirt, the inside bottom edge of the waistband and the outside bottom edge should be even.

Leave about a two inch opening and thread your piece of elastic through. It helps tremendously to fold one end over, attach a safety pin and fed it through. Sew the elastic ends together (reinforce!) and then stitch the opening closed.
You're done!

I've gotten on a little kick with these little skirts and made up five of them in the last week. They look adorable paired with a little inital tee or other embellished shirt!


If you try this, please share with me! Please? It would make my day!



Friday, March 19, 2010

New skirt pattern

A few Sundays ago, I decided that Madeline had nothing to wear and I grabbed some fabric and starting frantially cutting. Less than an hour later, I ended up with this:

It's simple, but I'm loving the little tie in the front and it's just full enough that she can do a little twirling, so she's lovin' it too.

So...I got a little crazy and made four more this week! And took pictures. So if you can even tell what I'm doing once I get a chance to upload them, I'll post a tutorial this week.

...and this time I wasn't in a rush so I actually lined up the side seams. *cough*