Easy DIY Skirt

So on one of my trips to the craft store before Christmas I found this great fabric. It has corduroy type fabric for the main section and a strip of elastic on one of the long sides. PERFECT for a skirt.

Even better: it was half-off the day I was there! I bought both colors available. You can’t get 2 skirts for $10 at a clothing store!

The problem was that I just wasn’t getting around to making my great skirts. But today is the day! Here is how I did it:

Step 1: Fabric Preparation

You can find instructions on that here. I chose not the zig zag the edges before washing, thinking it would be fine… I was wrong… Fray city!

Step 2: Cut

Measure around the part of your waist that you want the skirt to sit when it is finished. Divide your waist measurement by two and cut two pieces of fabric (measuring the elastic side) each to the “half” number. After cutting I zig-zagged up the sides to reduce fraying once I start wearing it.

Step 3: The pocket

Grab a piece of paper to trace your pocket “pattern” on. Basically, trace your hand or a pocket that you have in another article of clothing, remembering that pockets are usually angled down and curved at the bottom. Make sure you make the top straight, but on an angle. Here’s how mine were shaped, just for comparison.

Step 4: Cut Out The Pocket

Fold your pocket fabric so that you can cut through two layers, lay the “pattern” on the fabric and cut – leaving a seam allowance (.25 inch is usually the preference). I eyeballed my seam allowance and it worked fine. If you prefer, you can add the seam allowance to the pattern before you cut out your piece of paper. This should give you the back and front of one pocket. Do this again for the other pocket. (Shown above)

Step 5: Pin The Pocket

Decide where you want your pocket to sit. I wanted mine three inches below the elastic. You may want to take the seam allowance of the pockets when doing this – otherwise you may end up with your pockets to far down. Measure accordingly and pin the patterned side on the pocket to the patterned side of each skirt.

Step 6: Attach The Pocket

Sew each side of the pocket to the corresponding side of the skirt. Use the same amount of seam allowance you will use for the side seams. Double check to make sure that your fabric is facing the right direction BEFORE you start sewing.

Step 7: Create Your Skirt!

Fold the pocket flaps out. Each half of your skirt will look like it has wings. I found it helpful to in in this position. Then pin the two sides of the skirt together (pockets too!) with wrong sides out. Sew a 1/4 inch seam up each side, sewing around the pockets as you go.

Make sure the seam that runs up your elastic is secure – go over it again if you think you need to.

Step 8: Finishing Touches

Fold the elastic seam toward the front and sew flat. Iron the rest of the seam going down the skirt.

Voila! A new skirt!

I will post some pictures once Mr. Canada gets a free minute to take some pictures of me wearing the new skirts! So check back on this post in the next few days!

ALSO!

Don’t forget to add a tag if you’d like one!

For My Students

I love my job.

That’s all there is to it. Of course there are quirks – what job doesn’t have at least a couple of things that you’d change. But overall, I think I finally found what I love to do.

This week’s project is something I am going to take to school and work on with my students.

It turns out that so many of the students I work with have a LOT of trouble folding paper. Give them a line to fold on and boom – you have a fold that is not anywhere near the line. So I decided to do something about it. However, folding plain paper gets old quick, so I’ve been trying to think of new things to do. You may have seen my post on Facebook a little while back about wanting hand towels and washcloths (would still take them, btw) – this project is what they are for.

Step 1: Make a line indicating halfway on the towel or washcloth. Do this twice so that there are perpendicular lines across your towel.

Step 2: Sew a zigzag stitch where you have marked your lines. I used a wide width but short length to get my desired thickness.

Step 3: Voila! You can now practice folding.

Switcheroo: To make the activity more challenging, make the perpendicular lines so that they are not cutting the fabric in half and have your kids try to fold exactly on that line.

Can’t wait to hear all about the different ways you have tried this activity! Comment below to share!

Clothe Yourself

Last Saturday I had pretty much all day to do whatever I wanted. Mr. Canada was at an all-day church meeting/retreat and I was home with Moose and Zeus (pupper of friends who were staying with us for the weekend). Said friends were also at the meeting, so it was just me and the Doggos.

In the days leading up to that CHILLY Saturday, I could not wait to spend all day sewing and blogging. Then Saturday hit. I was excited to sew – and I did sew a bit. I did some Pinteresting. I relaxed. But I could not bring myself to write. I wondered what was wrong with me.

I knew going into blogging that I wasn’t going to be really inspired when I wrote EVERY post, but I was peeved that it was happening on the FIRST post since the launch of the site. I didn’t end up writing anything that day, but I decided after work on Monday, I was going to go to the craft store and do some research for an upcoming post.

Then Monday afternoon came. I realized I needed to write a big report that was due in a couple of days. I got so into my work that by the time I closed my computer and went to warm up my dinner before heading to yoga, I didn’t have the extra time I thought I would to mosey around the craft store.

So rather than getting further on any blog/sewing stuff, I hurried to Hope Yoga. This yoga class is much like others I’ve been to, except that it is Christ-centered. The yoga practice is all about spending time with the Lord and the exercise is a big added bonus.

This night, my prayer/intention for my practice was to pray about the discomfort and stress that I felt toward this week at work as well as the fact that I had a post to write and had no ambition to get it done.

As we went through the flow, the bible verse from the beginning of the session kept replaying in my head:

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”

(Colossians 3:12-14)

I realized that I had been so focused on “I must make so many clothes” “what happens if all my clothes look too frumpy and homemade?” “maybe I should add other non-clothing items to my list of things to not buy.” Basically I was letting my anxiety get the best of me.

As I meditated on the verse, something I already knew struck me again like I had never known it before. God says to clothe ourselves in those good personality characteristics – he doesn’t care if my clothes turn out frumpy, or if I end up caving and buying a new shirt. In fact, in the area of clothes, less is probably more. Too much is going to bog you down. God is simply excited that I took the leap and decided to challenge myself in this area. Now, I know that God will still push me to be better, but He is also going to help me continue to be successful as long as I keep asking him for help.

Maybe this year will be a lessen in simplicity. Lessening the amount of STUFF I have in every area of life: particular clothes and other material stuff, mental chatter and anxiety, etc. etc. etc… We all have STUFF. Is God calling you to take stock of any of your STUFF? If you are comfortable, post in the comments – I’d love to be with you in your quest to simplify the STUFF in your life.

 

Make Your Own Fabric Napkins

This is a project I’ve done before. In fact it was one of my first projects I did along with the coasters found here once I got into sewing. We have used those cloth napkins on and off for over a year and they are still going strong even throughout the washes. When Mr. Canada and I decided to host our college “family” Christmas dinner, I decided I needed festive napkins and coasters for the occasion.

Napkins can really be whatever size you want based on what you prefer. Some people like bigger napkins. But when I put one of those big fabric napkins on my lap at a restaurant, it makes me feel like I covered myself up with a blanket. Moral of the story: when I make napkins for our house, I usually go with something smaller than most people might like.

Step 1: Fabric

Decide which fabric you want. I have always used cotton fabric for this project. I’ve also heard of people using polyester. Really, deciding on one pattern or two matching patterns is what hangs me up.

Step 2: Fabric Preparation

Prep your fabric. Find my post on that here.

Step 3: Measure and Cut

Decide your size and start cutting! You may actually want to decide your size before you buy a length of fabric to ensure you have the right amount, but you get the point. I start with a 12×12 inch square for my napkins. If you have a rotary cutter and a self-healing mat it will save you a lot of time in the cutting stage. I don’t (dear Santa…) so I use a 12×12 piece of scrapbooking paper to measure. I use chalk (it washes off with water) to make my cutting line and go from there.

Step 4: Sew Edges

Once all of your pieces have been cut, you want to align 2 pieces wrong sides OUT (you should not see the designs). Using about a 1/4 inch seam allowance (your sewing line should be about 1/4 inch in from the edge of the fabric). If you have a serger, you can certainly use that for this step – I don’t, so I can’t speak much to how that would work here. HOWEVER!!! Don’t sew all of the way around – you want to leave about 2 inches open to be able to turn it right side out.

Step 5: Trim

Cut the corners on 45° angles. This will help make your corners even more crisp when you flip them. This is also the step to trim edges with pinking shears if you feel the need. I did on just some of my edges. Pinking shears help decrease fraying, and since I don’t have a serger and didn’t use a zig zag stitch for this project, I chose to use them. It also helped to even out a couple of the edges that didn’t end up lining up quite right.

Step 6: Flip

Time to turn your napkins right-side-out. Use the bit that you didn’t sew around to turn the napkins. I use a chopstick to help me. As you are turning out the corners, make sure you use your chopstick to get the corners as pointy as you can.

Step 7: Iron

To be honest, this is NOT my favorite step. However, it’s a really important step if you want your napkins to look as good as possible. Basically, you want to iron it in such a way that the side seams of the napkins are flat. You can use your chopstick to help you with this step.

Step 8: Finishing Seam

Sew another seam with about a 1/4 seam allowance – although this is more of a “choose your own” based on how you want your napkins to look. This would be a good time to use any sort of fancy stitches you may want to add. Add the seam all of the way around being careful to close the opening appropriately making sure to get the edges of the opening folded in enough to get closed by the seam.

These blue napkins are over a year old, and they are still looking good!

Your napkins are now done! Time to invite people over for dinner!

Make Your Own Coasters

This is a project I’ve done before. In fact it was one of my first projects I did, along with cloth napkins (here) once I got into sewing. We have used the coasters in our living room for over a year and they are still going strong – even with occasional washes. When Mr. Canada and I decided to host our college “family” Christmas dinner, I decided I needed festive coasters and napkins for the occasion.

Coasters can really be whatever size you prefer. I start out with a 5×5 inch square, so they end up being about 4.5×4.5 inches in the end. Perfect for mugs and cups of all sizes.

Step 1: Fabric

Decide which fabric you want. I have always used cotton fabric for this type of project, but I don’t know that you necessarily have to use cotton. Really, deciding on one pattern or two matching patterns is what hangs me up. Don’t forget to get batting for inside your coasters! Otherwise you will have marks on your coffee tables from the heat of your mugs. When I bought my batting, way back when, I knew nothing about batting (although I can’t say I know much more now), and guessed which batting to get and use. I ended up going with cotton needled batting, luckily I have used it for two sets of coasters and it has seemed to work out both times.

Step 2: Fabric Preparation

Prep your fabric. Find my post on that here.

Step 3: Measure and Cut

Decide your size and start cutting! You may actually want to decide your size before you buy a length of fabric to ensure you have the right amount, but you get the point. I start with a 5×5 inch square for my coasters. Cut your fabric pieces as well as the same size square in the batting material. If you have a rotary cutter and a self-healing mat it will save you a lot of time in the cutting stage. I don’t (dear Santa…) so I use a square piece of card stock to measure my fabric squares. You could also use a ruler or yardstick. Whatever is easiest for you. I use chalk (it washes off with water) or regular pencil, depending on the color of the fabric to make my cutting line and go from there with my scissors.

Step 4: Sew Edges

Once all of your pieces of fabric and batting have been cut, you want to align 2 pieces of fabric wrong sides OUT (you should not see the designs) with 1 piece of batting on either side. The batting should be covering up one of the wrong sides that was showing.

Using about a 1/4 inch seam allowance (your sewing line should be about 1/4 inch in from the edge of the fabric). If you have a serger, you can certainly use that for this step – I don’t, so I can’t speak much to how that would work here. HOWEVER!!! Don’t sew all of the way around – you want to leave about 2 inches open to be able to turn it right side out.

Step 5: Trim

Cut the corners on 45° angles. This will help make your corners even more crisp when you flip them.

This is also the step to trim edges with pinking shears if you feel the need. I did on just some of my edges. Pinking shears help decrease fraying, and since I don’t have a serger and didn’t use a zig zag stitch for this project, I chose to trim. It also helped to even out a couple of the edges that didn’t end up lining up quite right.

Step 6: Flip

Time to turn your coasters right-side-out. Use the bit that you didn’t sew around to turn them. I use a chopstick to help me you could also use a knitting needle or crochet hook. As you are turning out the corners, make sure you use your chopstick to get the corners as pointy as you can.

Step 7: Iron

To be honest, this is NOT my favorite step. However, it’s a really important step if you want your finished product to look as good as possible. Basically, you want to iron it in such a way that the side seams of the coasters are flat. You can use your chopstick to help you with this step too, if you find it helpful.

Step 8: Finishing Seam

Sew another seam with about a 1/4 seam allowance – although this is more of a “choose your own” based on how you want your finished product to look. This would be a good time to use any sort of fancy stitches you may want to add. Add the seam all of the way around being careful to close the opening appropriately – making sure to get the edges of the opening folded in enough to be closed by the seam.

Your coasters are now finished. Time for drinks!

How Do I Prep My Fabric?

Does anyone else have this problem? I decided that I needed new cloth napkins for a holiday party Mr. Canada and I were hosting. Great! I excitedly stopped at the craft store on my way home from work.

Boom! It hits me. I suddenly have no idea what I want in life and walk aimlessly around the fabric section for many, many minutes. Up and down the holiday fabric isle I go debating different colors, prints, and if I should buy that cute (and unrelated) pupper print I saw.

Finally I figured it out and took my new treasures to the cutting counter in order to zoom out of the store without buying too many more things.

WHAT NEXT! You ask?

How to get your fabric ready for you to sew with it:

Step One: Sew along the sides of the fabric that were cut.

This step applies to fabrics that will fray (cotton is the most common for me). There will be two sides of the fabric that will fray – the sides of the fabric that were cut at the fabric counter. Nothing fancy here. I just use a small zig zag stitch. I normally don’t even bother to use a certain color thread because I’m probably not going to use the fabric ALL the way to the sides.

This step is totally optional and can be skipped if you are using a non-fray fabric (knits and the like) or just want to wash the fabric and trim off the frayed bits after it’s dry.

Step Two: Wash and Dry

Wash on warm or hot and dry on warm or hot to pre-shrink your fabric. It would be a bummer if you made a great new shirt and it shrunk the first time you washed it.

Step Three: Iron

I don’t iron any of my clothes. And for that matter, I don’t iron any of Mr. Canada’s shirts either. The only time when our iron gets used is when I’m sewing.

Once your fabric has been washed and dried, iron it on the most appropriate setting, as you see fit. It will get out the creases so the when you cut you get the exact measurement, not the measurement plus all the extra fabric that was hiding out in the wrinkles.

You are now ready to cut and sew!

PS: If you have some kind of fancy fabric or something you don’t normally use, do some research before preparing – make sure your special fabric doesn’t have any special care instructions!

This particular prepping process would have been way faster, but this handsome guy wanted to play fetch. Find more of his cute face on Instagram @mooseofthehoose