Thursday, April 28, 2016

Guest Post: Becca from Free Notion shares how to get your Sew-Jo back

Hi Project Run and Play readers! I am Becca from Free Notion and Top Stitchers. I have to tell you something. I didn't want to do this. In fact, I haven't wanted to do much of anything lately. We sold our house in January and have been floating in limbo for months now, navigating the crazy  that is this real estate market. 

Limbo, as it turns out, is NOT good for my creativity.

But this deadline loomed, and I owed a tutorial for my friends at PR&P! I figured, what better "how to" for me to tackle than "How To Find Your Sew-Jo"??

Sew-Jo (/sō/jō/) - a seamstress' internal drive to create pretty things with pretty fabrics.

I'm sure there are a few eager readers waving their hands at the front of the class ready to spurt out "BUY NEW FABRIC!" or "JUMP ON PINTEREST/INSTAGRAM/FACEBOOK GROUPS!" But I'm going to resist both suggestions, and encourage you to do the same. Why?? Because EVERY seamstress I know has an inspired to-sew list as plentiful as their fabric stash. To find your sew-jo, you need to address the REAL reason you lost it to begin with. 

So I'm going to do my best Andie Anderson impersonation, and give you a "sort of how to, in reverse." How you lose it - and what to do to get it back. 

How to Lose Your Sew-Jo 

  1. Take on too much obligatory work. My son potty trained this winter. To celebrate and encourage his success, I told myself "a good mom would sew him some undies for such an occasion!" I regretted that thought the moment I had it. For weeks I tried to tell myself "it hardly takes any time at all... and it's the definition of scrap-friendly... I've got no excuse not to do this..." Except for the obvious excuse that had me avoiding my sewing room for days at a time: I just didn't wanna. In my humble opinion - sewing underwear is just BORING. Fortunately for me, sewing is my hobby, not my work, and if I "don't wanna" sew something, I really don't have to! I broke down, took him to the store. A dozen character underwear, less than $10, and 7 minutes later ... my no-sew-incentive disappeared. // Sewing should be FUN. (Whatever that means for you!) If you can afford to - unburden yourself of the obligatory projects on your list. And if you can't stand the judgy eyes of fabric-that-was-destined-to-be-something-you-no-longer-wish-to-make... then wrap a bow around it and gift it to a sewing friend. Get that guilt outta your creative space!
  2. Hampster-wheel sewing. This is for those of you who read #1 and said to yourself "LUCKY! Sewing IS my job! I sew a dozen ______s a day, and my family is counting on that income." Sewing the same thing over and over and over again is brutal, no matter how you cut it. There's hardly any creativity involved at that point! But the show must go on, so how do you overcome?? // As best as you can, create a reward system for yourself. Cross a few of those mindless, obligatory projects off the list, then treat your creative soul to a challenging project you've been dying to try! Life's a great balancing act. Don't cut your happy out of the equation!
  3. Sew out of your comfort zone. My favorite part of sewing is the seemingly endless potential to build my skill. But some of these tricks of the trade can be REALLY difficult to learn via Professor Youtube alone. When you're fed up, and ripped the last stitch your sanity can handle, put that project down long enough to clear your head. Just don't disappear for long. Replace those frustrations with some confidence building projects - an easy sew is always a good choice, as is any other craft you enjoy! The perfect invisible zipper installation or twin needle tension settings will still be there when you're ready to take another stab at them.
  4. Tell yourself "Housework Can Wait." Ruh-roh, this is seamstress heresy! By all means - put off that sink of dishes to power through a project. But when your home or your sewing space is so cluttered it interferes with your productivity or your stress level... take care of it! Sewing under stress virtually guarantees seam ripping - and the last thing you want to have to do is shake out a dozen yards of fabric to find the dang seam ripper! // My husband calls this "sharpening my blade." It's his obnoxious way of encouraging me to invest more time into my prep work (like tidying a sewing room, or working through my to-do-list) so I can set myself up for success and enjoy my sewing more. And as much as it pains me to say it.. he's totally right. So go on and get organized, my friend. As a reward for all your hard work, you can even tell yourself you'll keep it clean ;)
  5. Give into your excuses. After all, there's Just.No.Time. So why even bother? This sounds snarky - but I promise it's not. I do this far too often. It's hard to start anything at all when you doubt you'll find the time to finish it. But you "can't win if you don't play" and the only way you know that project of yours won't get done is if you never start it. Set yourself attainable micro-goals. Only have 15 minutes? That's long enough to assemble most patterns, or iron some fabric. You could repair that popped hem or replace a lost button. Whatever you choose, you're 15 minutes closer to the finish line than you were on the couch, submitting yourself to 15 minutes of feed-scrolling. // Don't forget to make those micro-goals time-sensitive! The more realistic the deadline the more likely you are to meet it. I share my micro goals with my sewing friends for that extra accountability incentive. (I'd say it works for me, but I'm really good at making up excuses..)
  6. Fear possible failure. (Alternate title: "Have really high expectations.") This is a biggie for me. I do a really good job of convincing myself that I'm a perfectionist. (Nevermind that in practice I am very happy to say "close enough!!") Take for example this member of my long-time-stash. I have dreams for that plaid to become a capelet. Two winters have passed since I bought it. I may never ever start that project because "What if the prints don't match up!?" or "That fabric came all the way from San Francisco! What if I ruin it and never get to see that sewing-project-dream realized? I can't just walk down the street and buy more!" What might never be and the fear of failure is my biggest sew-jo killer. Which... when you think about it, is really darn silly. Worst case scenario, beloved fabric ends up in the trash.... and get replaced days or weeks later with newer, better fabric anyway. Once again - you can't win if you don't play. Set realistic goals, strive to learn from this project - not (just) to have a perfect result. You, and your sew-jo are worth the time and fabric investment.
Notably missing from this list is any version of "Real world stress." That, my dear reader is not a missing sew-jo. It's life. Sometimes the heart just needs something else, or nothing at all. When you're going through a loss (of a job, a dream, or a life) - be gracious with yourself throughout your recovery. Let the machines gather dust. They're loyal friends, they'll be there when you're ready to get back to it. Just try and remember the joy sewing brings to your life, and that you deserve (and likely need) such joy now more than ever. 

So tell me - which of the above is your biggest sew-jo killer?? 
Thank you Becca! I'd have to say that lately it is #2 for me. I am going to take your advice and sew something fun today. You all can follow Free Notion on Pinterest, and Instagram, and shop Top Stitchers as well.
Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Contributor Post: Make your own striped fabric

Hey! I'm Karly from Paisley Roots and I'm so excited to be guest posting over here! One of my favorite things to do is play with fabric manipulation. Making my own print really adds to my creative process and sometimes even inspires the foundation for my entire project.

The technique I'm showing you today came from a place of necessity. I LOVE stripes. LOVE them. But sometimes I can't find the exact color I need or it's just on a fabric that quality just isn't up to par, and that makes me crazy. So instead of drafting up a pattern for a straight jacket (which lets face it, is still on the table) I created my own striped fabric in the exact shade I wanted. Whether it's one color or 10, I get exactly what I want, which is pretty awesome. So grab some plain ordinary fabric and lets make it into a one of a kind print!

You will need:
Painters tape

Start off by washing your fabric. Always, always wash it! 
When it's all washed and dried, lay it on a flat surface that you can easily get around. I chose to do stripes because, stripes are just amazing. It's also really hard to find the color or design of stripes that I sometimes want, so this is a really easy way to fix that! 
I got the 1" painters tape for this project. Do not use a freezer stencil with the Color Shot spray. The tape worked amazing, but when I used a freezer stencil the paint bled through and made it into a giant blob.
I wanted the painted stripes to be slightly smaller than the tape strip, so I measured 3/4" after each strip to lay the next strip. You can keep measuring each line, or get impatient like I did and just eyeball it....

When you have the tape down, lay your fabric down on newspaper outside or in a well ventilated area. Spray in the lines and keep repeating until your fabric is completely covered. I only grabbed one can of this color and this was about 3/4 of a yard that it finished.
Wait 30 minutes for the paint to dry and remove the strips of tape. 

Viole! You have some super awesome striped fabric. Now you can cut it out however you would like!

I added a fun freezer stencil on Jude's Twisted Tank to make it even more One-of-a-kind.

If you want more than one color, tape it off, spray with the first color, wait until it dries, then put tape over the first color so you don't spray over it. For this one, that I made for Zoe, I wanted to play more with stripe sizing and spacing and Zoe wanted two colors. I also decided to have the design stop near the top. I love being in control of the design!

Happy Designing!
Thursday, April 21, 2016

Guest Post #2 of 2: Bound Buttonhole tutorial by Call Ajaire

Hi!  I'm Ajaire from Call Ajaire and I'm thrilled to share a fun tutorial with you today, one that'll be sure to up your sewing game.

If you've never sewn a bound buttonhole, don't worry; I'll walk you through it.  A bound buttonhole is basically an opening with double welts that meet in the center of the opening.  In order to hide the reverse side of the welt, it is best used where there are two layers of fabric, such as the lining of a coat.  In the end you'll have a lovely finish that you can use for coats, lined bodices, bags, or anywhere you'd like an extra special detail.

For a buttonhole sized for a 3/4" button you'll need the following:
1 3/4" X 1 1/2" piece of fabric for one welt
1 3/4" X 3/4" piece of fusible interfacing for the welt
1 3/4" X 1 1/4" piece of fusible interfacing for the lining

1. Fuse the welt interfacing to the wrong side of the welt, centered vertically. | 2. Press each long side toward the center with wrong sides together. | 3. Baste down the center of each side of the welt, to keep the fold in place and also to give a stitching guideline for later steps.

4. Mark the buttonhole placement on the main fabric using tailor's chalk, extending the lines so the welt can easily be centered. | 5. Place the welt with the folded over raw edges facing up, centered between the markings. | 6. There is a 3/8" seam allowance on each end of the welt so the welt will overhang the vertical markings by as much.

7.  Using a regular stitch length, stitch directly on top of the basting stitches, starting and stopping at the vertical markings, backstitching to secure the stitching at each end. | 8. The basting stitches don't need to be removed, but for the rest of the illustrations they won't be shown. | 9. There needs to be two horizontal lines of stitching on each welt, centered between the folded edge and the raw edge, and it's important that the stitches start and stop at the same point vertically.

10. Using a sharp and slender pair of scissors, cut through the center of the welt, following the line where the raw edges meet in the middle, taking care not to cut the main fabric. | 11. The markings have been removed in this illustration to show how the welt is now split into two parallel, matching welts.

12. Turn so the wrong side of the main fabric is up, revealing two horizontal lines of stitching from sewing the welts. | 13. Between the two lines, clip through the main fabric in a straight line down the center which goes out in a 'y' shape to the stitching at each end.  It's important to clip right to the stitching, taking care not to clip the actual stitches. | 14. The little v shaped flap of fabric at each end needs to be at least 1/4" long as it is used to hold the bound buttonhole in place in later steps.

15. Lift up the edges of the opening and press them flat. | 16. Here the main fabric is opaque to show what the welt looks like from the other side. | 17. Push the welts through the sit in the main fabric, from the right side to the wrong side, so the welt is now flat on the wrong side of the main fabric.  The folded edges of the welts should now meet in the center and the raw edges should be on the outside edges.

18. The folded edges of the welt should be seen from the right side of the fabric. | 19. Pull the rest of the main fabric back to reveal the cut 'v' shape. | 20. To secure the welts in place and ensure they won't fray with use, stitch across the v, attaching it to the seam allowance portion of the welt.

21. Moving on, in order to function as a buttonhole there needs to be a similar opening in the lining, without a welt in the center.  Mark the buttonhole placement on the right side of lining, directly where the bound buttonhole of the main fabric will end up. | 22. Center the interfacing over the marking on the right side of the lining, with the WRONG side of the fusible interfacing up. | 23. Stitch a rectangle through the interfacing, around the buttonhole marking, approximately 1" wide by 3/8" high.

24. Clip through the center of the rectangle, through all layers, angling out to a 'y' to the stitching at each corner, taking care not to clip the stitches. | 25. From the wrong side of the lining, pull the clipped interfacing flaps through the opening and finger press. | 26. Pull the rest of the interfacing through to the wrong side so none is showing on the right side of the lining.  Using an iron and pressing cloth, press the fusible interfacing, fusing it to the wrong side of the fabric.  This makes a clean opening on the right side of the lining fabric.

27. Complete the rest of the steps for whatever it is you're making, so that now the main and lining fabrics are where they will end up. | 28. Line up the lining with the bound buttonhole, wrong side of main meeting the wrong side of the lining. | 29. From the lining side, whip stitch the lining to the bound buttonhole to secure the layers together and conceal any raw edges.

And now we celebrate because your bound buttonhole - complete with lining - is finished!  These illustrations are from my Mackinaw Coat pattern released in February, but this method can be used for any bound buttonhole.  The fusible interfaced openings for the lining are especially useful for fabrics which may fray easily or faux fur.  Just be sure to use a pressing cloth and low heat on sensitive fabrics.  Ask me how I know, hehe.  I hope you enjoy this tutorial!
Thank you Ajaire! You can follow Call Ajaire on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and her shop.

Guest Post#1 of 2: Bias Tape Tutorial by Winter Wear Designs

EEEEEEEEEKKKKK - I am so excited to be back here today at Project Run&Play!!!!  It's Suzanne from Season 6, and these days you can find me blogging at Pattern Revolution and designing patterns at Winter Wear Designs.

Ok - so today I want to talk to you about my favorite sewing item - BIAS TAPE!!!!  I use it all the time.  If you follow my patterns, you will know that almost all of them include bias tape somewhere in the construction.  It is quite possibly the best sewing item ever.  There are five main areas that I use bias tape: neck lines, hems, pockets, seams, and straps.

But first, you need to know how to make bias tape.  You can buy it.... but that stuff isn't so great, it tends to be crunchy, comes in a limited number of colors and designs, and can be difficult to find the exact width that you want.  There are a gazillion tutorials for cutting bias tape and debates between continuous and pieced.  I tend to do pieced bias tape since I don't often need more than a yard or two.  So google, find the tutorial you love and cut your strips.

Now comes the fun part - pressing!!!!!!!!!!!  I just want you all to know that you can make bias tape without any special tools.  All you need is an iron and your fingers - just don't touch the two, cause that hurts!

Lay out your strip on your ironing board.  Fold the edges in towards the center and press.  Keep your fingers running at least 2-3 inches in front of your iron and work along the length of tape.

By pressing the edges in towards the middle, you have created SINGLE FOLD bias tape.  Single fold bias tape  is perfect for hems or to cover an exposed seam at a collar.  It can also be used decoratively in a number of ways.

Now I probably use double fold tape the most.  To make double fold bias, take your single fold tape and fold it in half along the length and press well.

I love using double fold bias tape to encase seams, to bind facings, to hem skirts or sleeves where I want a pretty edge or a contrasting pop, to finish the top of a decorative pocket, and so on.

So what am I going to use this pretty bias tape I have just made on???  Well a new pattern of course.  I thought it appropriate to show off this pattern for the first time here at PR&P becasue this pattern was first created while I was sewing for season 6, but the timing never came together for me to draft it out for real until now.  The sleeves and neck are both bound in double fold bias tape for a delicious finish.

From my bitty - 'Mo Squish Le'

To my beautiful big girl.

So get that iron out.... whip up some bias tape, and watch the professional finishing on your garments come to life.
Thank you so much Suzanne! You can follow Winter Wear Designs on Facebook and Instagram and on Pinterest!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

15 Children's Clothing Tutorials

Have you ever explored the tutorial archives on this blog?  There are around 100 really amazing tutorials that have been posted to Project Run & Play.  

One really neat thing about the tutorial archives is that you can find tutorials from sewing bloggers who are now famous professionals at what they do.  It’s neat to see how some things have changed (like their kids who model the clothing they make - eek!) and some things have stayed the same (like the fantastic photography) and those things are part of what has made them great.  Today I’m highlighting 15 tutorials from the archives for you.  If you’ve been a part of Project Run & Play, here’s a blast from the past for you.  If you’re newer here, welcome, and you’re welcome!

Exposed Zipper Pocket Tutorial from Running With Scissors: 

Special Occasion Wear Tutorial from Sewing in No Man’s Land: 

Vintage Pattern Remix Tutorial from Craftiness is not Optional: 

Add Pockets to a Circle Skirt from Simple Simon & Co: 

Cool Cuffs for too Short Jeans from I Make Stuff: 

French Mariniere Dress Tutorial from Sew Country Chick: 

Sporty Skirt Tutorial from Elegance & Elephants: 

There you have it!  15 super awesome DIY children's clothing tutorials.  If you're hungry for more, check out the rest of the tutorials.  And come back often for more tutorials from the contributors and guest posters every week.