Are you still on a spring cleaning kick too? If you’re here, you know you can spring clean your tshirt drawer and turn them in to panties. But what else can you do with the humble tee?
Just for you, this week I scoured the internets for 5 great no-sew t shirt tutorials. Let the upcycling begin! :) In no particular order:
5) A tshirt rug
I know these things are magnets for cat hair and all the sweeping I don’t do in our apartment, but doesn’t it look like so much fun? Plus, it sounds like on delicate, that you can machine wash… (For a sturdier, more labor intensive version, check out this beautiful latch hook tshirt rug tutorial.)
You made it! Week 6 of our Summer Sewing Tutorial Series- Making our shopping bag! We’ve waited so long to get here, let’s just dive in! :) Husbie Zac will be our guinea pig and model again this week. So, without further ado…
Zac with his cut out pattern pieces! What do yours look like?
You’ll also need:
Thread that matches your project
A colored pencil, pen or sewing chalk
A safety pin
Your threaded sewing machine, bobbin and all (for a how to, check out last week’s post)
An hour or two :)
First things first: Seams and seam allowances. A seam is where two or more pattern pieces join with a row of stitching (you might’ve heard of side seams before? On a skirt, this is where a skirt front and skirt back fabric pieces join together on the side of your body). This pattern calls for 5/8″ seam allowances (which are pretty standard for home sewing). What is a seam allowance? It is the amount of fabric you leave between the row of stitching that you make with the sewing machine, and the edge of the fabric pieces. If it doesn’t already, it’ll all make sense in a minute.
You can’t stitch right on the edge of the fabric, it’s always got to be just a little bit off. And your sewing machine will have marks like the ones pictured below that act as a guide to help you keep your stitch line straight (for more practice/help sewing a straight line and how to use these guides, check out the video tutorial here). To help Zac keep his line of stitching straight, I put some blue painter’s tape on my sewing machine to extend the 5/8″ guide.
Check out these seam allowance guides next to the presser foot- you’ll notice Zac pointing to 5/8″, but there are also other measurements labeled too.
Step 1: Prep Bag Bottom
Alright! So to get started, you’ll want to take your bag bottom (piece #1 from the pattern download), and fold it in half right sides together*, matching your notches. You’ll notice that if you fold it in one direction, the notches won’t match, but if you fold it in the other direction, they do. That’s how notches work- they help you make sure you’re putting things together in the right direction! :)
*Rights sides together is a super basic sewing concept that will all make sense in a moment. So most fabrics have a “right” side and a “wrong” side. The right side is the side you want the world to see, while the wrong side is the side that doesn’t have the print, or looks funny, or is whatever you want on the inside of the garment. So when you’re sewing, you typically don’t want your seam allowances (described above) on the outside of your garment or shopping bag. (It would be like wearing your clothing inside out). The way that you get the seam allowances on the inside of your bag or garment is by sewing with right sides together. It meanssewing on the wrong side of the fabric, with the right sides of your fabric pattern pieces folded together (if there’s folding involved, like in this step), or laid together so that they face one another (like we’ll do in the next step). This means too that you’ll always usually have to turn the garment (or bag) right side out at some point during the process. Which is super fun! :)
Zac has his bag bottom folded in half- yours should appear in similar proportions :)
You’ll want to pin the sides together to hold them in place. Too many pins and it’ll slow you down a ton while sewing, too few and your fabric will be slip sliding allover while you’re trying to sew. Check out the video below to see where/how Zac pinned his fabric. He left the pin heads off the edge of the fabric so that they’d be easier to pull out as he was sewing, and so that if he accidentally sewed over a pin, it wouldn’t cause problems. Not a bad idea! :)
If you measured your own pattern pieces rather than using the download (and so don’t have notches), you’ll want to fold the bag bottom so that the fold is in the side that’s 11.625″ wide. You want a long skinny piece after you make the fold, like the photo above.
Alright! So now you’re going to sew along the two short edges of this bag bottom piece. Watch Zac do his second in the video below. Remember, if you need some guidance taking that first stitch, this video will be a big help!
Hooray! You did it! Now iron those two seams open (you don’t want to iron the seam like how you sewed it- flat- you want to iron it open so that it’s one layer thick. Make sense?), and move on to step two! :)
Step one is done! We also used a serger to stitch in white on the edges of our fabric to finish them so they wouldn’t fray. You can achieve a similar effect by doing another row of stitching with your sewing machine (zig-zag is good for this- refer to your manual for getting into zig-zag mode) right on the edge of the fabric. It’ll keep it from fraying when you throw your bag in the washing machine.
On to Step 2! Bag Bottom Corners
Next you’re going to fold your bag bottom so that it lays flat like a triangle on one side- see the image below, or check out this video where Zac walks you through it.
Take a ruler and find the spot on the hypotenuse/longest leg of the triangle (hello 10th grade geometry :)) that is 4.5″ long.
Draw a line directly on the fabric here with chalk or colored pencil. This will be your stitch line!
Pin along the stitch line (either across like in the last example, or along, like below. Either way, be careful not to sew over your pins).
(Left) See how we folded the bag bottom to make a triangle? (Right) Find the spot on the triangle that is 4.5″ long, and mark with a line to make it easier to sew. Then pin.
Sew along your 4.5″ long line.
Repeat the above steps with the other side of your bag bottom.
Check Zac out! You could have also put your pins in going perpendicular to the stitch line. Just be careful not to stitch over them either way :)
Step 3 – Attaching the bag bottom to our tshirt/bag middle. We’re working our way up!
Turn your tshirt section inside out- this’ll make it easier to put right sides together.
With right sides together, match the side seams of the tshirt to the side seams of your bag bottom.
See how he matched the side seams, and pinned them right away? Then he moved to the rest of the shirt and pinned the two pieces together all around.
Pin the two pieces together all around. If piece is a little bit bigger than the other, you can lightly stretch the pieces to work together (this is called easing the two pieces together).
Pin the bag bottom to the tshirt loop all the way around and then sew them! Our bag is getting bigger!
After pinning the two pieces together, sew them. It doesn’t matter where in the circle you start (I usually go for a side seam). Check out the video of Zac sewing here.
Next, iron the seam open. Zac chose to iron on the right side of the fabric, but I usually go for the wrong side- that way if the iron is too hot any marks might be kept to the inside…
Iron the seam open so that where the middle and bottom section of the bag meet is crisp. Lots of sewing blunders can be covered up with a good ironing :)
Step 4 – The bag’s top band!
Grab your top band piece and start by folding it in half along the long edge (wrong sides together this time…) and ironing a crease in the middle.
Next, unfold the band, and this time with right sides together, sewing the band along the short edge to create a circle of fabric.
Iron the bag’s top band in half, wrong sides together, then with the right sides together and the band folded in half in the opposite direction, sew it up, making a loop.
Next, iron the seam open, and then fold the circle back in half longways along your ironing line. Re-iron your original crease here. So pretty!
Iron your band’s seam open, then fold it back in half longways and re-crease. Getting closer!
Next we’re going to attach the top band to the rest of the bag. It’ll seem like this piece doesn’t have a wrong side, folded in half the way it is, and that’s kind of true. What we need to do is line up the band’s seam with either of the bag’s side seams, then pin the raw edges of the band (doubled like they are since it’s folded in half) to the raw edge of the right side of the bag:
Zac has attached the raw edges of the top band (doubled) to the top edge of the bag, on the right side, with pins, all the way around. The folded side of the band is to the left.
Sew, then iron open. Now your bag has a beautious top band! :)
Step 5 – Strappy straps!
Fold each strap in half long ways and pin.
Then sew along the long edge of each of the strap pieces.
The raw edges of the strap are on the right, and the fold on the left.
Next, turn your bag straps right side out using a safety pin:
Next, iron them flat, and now we’ll attach the straps to the bag! Left photo: On our bag, we measured 4″ from the side seam on either side and pinned each end of the strap to the bag (strap end on the inside of the bag so that it’s hidden from the outside). Right photo: We also folded under the bottom edge of the strap, towards the inside of the bag so that the raw edges of the strap were hidden.
Left: Check out where we pinned our straps- 4″ from either side of the side seams (on both sides). You can pin yours wherever your want, just make sure to measure it so that they’re even :) Right: See how we folded under the bottom edge of the strap?
Now we’ll sew the straps onto the bag!
First you’ll sew a box, then put a check in it. Watch Zac sew it in the video below.
And there you have it! You just finished your shopping bag! Kick butt! Please take a photo and post it over on my facebook page- I’d love to see what you did! And if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to post below!
It’s that time: the summer sewing tutorial series is upon us!
This summer I am soooo looking forward to taking you through some sewing basics, hearing about what you’re working on and answering your questions. Hopefully I’ll get to share in some of your sewing triumphs too :)
For the next few months I’ll be presenting a new basic sewing skill each week, whether through print and photos or video. Are you ready?!? :)
Mark your calendars (or sign up for my weekly updates in the box to the right!) The tentative schedule goes a little something like this:
July: July 5 – Making our shopping bag (I know it’s delayed gratification to cut something out and then wait a bit to sew it up together- I hope you’ll bear with me!)
July 12 – Basic mending/finishing our bag – How to sew on a button
July 19 – Basic mending – Patching a hole
July 26- Wild card- this week I’ll give an in-depth answer to a question posed during the other weeks!
Anything missing (I’d love to beef up the lineup :))? What are you looking forward to?
Whew! After raising money for my day job non-profit org auctioning off some custom sewing (in my wedding dress!), I couldn't even stop to change before diving into some data entry with Z! Anything for a good cause! :)
My week has been delightful and draining. Friday (for my day job), I put on my non-profit’s biggest fundraiser of the year and helped raise almost $90k! It has left me exhausted, but excited that it’s over and that I have my life back. :) I’ve spent my recovery time this week on the couch dreaming about all the exciting things I have planned for business this summer: Men’s briefs, then boxers, toddler undies, women’s briefs (and maybe thongs?) and transgender men undies. Maybe in that order. :) Recovery time has also been spent on an obscene number of hours of New Girl, The Office, Glee, and GCB. Seriously shameless. :) In my defense, I was too tired to even nap out in the sun on my balcony. That’s how I know it’s bad :)
I saw this tutorial on “What is Etsy?” from Indie Maven, and had an “Ah Ha!” moment. Of course! What is Etsy? :) Andrea does a great job walking us through it!
In upcoming posts, I’m excited to explore my product pricing, more on sustainability, whatever inspiration or silliness moves me, and upcoming new product lines… :) (Check out those links for previous posts on similar topics :))
What do you think? I’d love to hear- please comment below! I’ll see you there :)
Sooooo hard to read the back of a pattern for the first time. The guidance of a patient friend, relative, teacher or fabric store clerk can be invaluable. This week I wanted to try to help unveil the mystery with a super primitive infographic (though truthfully, “primitive infographic” feels like “jumbo shrimp” to me. I take that to mean my infographic is anything but primitive! :)).
I think pajama pants are a great beginner’s project. I’ve had luck teaching with Simplicity pattern #7092 (though there are many other pajama pant patterns; this is just one I’ve used with beginners for sewing lessons).
It says it’s a one hour project- I think that’s accurate if you’re a pajama pant making machine (I sold pajama pants in the dorms in college to help pay for study abroad in Paris and have it down to an hour), but if you’re a beginning sewer, I’d plan on 2-4 hours… A lovely afternoon!
From the front, you can see the different options inside the pattern- they all look like a drawstring pant, at different lengths. On the back you’ll find drawings of the garment back, along with suggested fabrics, a list of other goodies you’ll need for the project and a size chart, among things. See below an annotated pattern back for this pair of jammie pants, or click here for a pdf with live links.
A little step-by-step – click for a pdf of the image with live links
So what do you think? Does this help? Have you ever had or needed help reading the back of a pattern before? Please comment below!
And if you take the plunge and make a pair of pajama pants, post a picture on LVEO’s facebook page! :)
What a whirlwind- I can’t believe it’s already December! I’ve been thinking about holiday shopping and trying to ride the fine line between being thoughtful, giving something that people will use, and not necessarily playing into the consumerism of the season. Buying handmade is one way I like to do this. :)
Below you’ll find some ideas I had, some of what my friends are doing, and some fun ideas/tutorials I found and hope to give a shot :) I’d love to hear about what you’re doing for friends and loved ones for the holidays too- please comment below!
First, exciting things are happening in my studio, at La Vie en Orange! Home screen printing is starting to be successful, and I’ve been printing two fun new motifs:
Is that Rudolph?
Make a statement!
Both motifs are available in multiple sizes and colors in my Etsy shop. The Christmas shipping deadline for in-stock items is December 18, but the custom order deadline is coming up- December 9 :) (I’m also still looking for fit models for sizes 0, 2, 16, 18, and 20. Learn more here. :) And through the end of 2011, for every pair of Upitees purchased, I’m sending a pair to a women’s shelter in the purchaser’s region to help make more merry. Learn more here.)
A couple of my Etsy friends are doing some really fun things too. Adiya from Buligaia makes the cutest holiday decorations and stocking stuffers. I love how all of her owls have their own stories:
“This is RudOWLph, he’s a ballet dancer at the Royal ballet academy. His biggest roll at the ballet academy was Drosselmeyer’s nephew, the cursed Nutcracker from the famous “Nutcracker” ballet. Ironically, RudOWLph is allergic to nuts, but still loves the Nutcracker costume.”
Keep the nuts away!
This one was so cute, we had to snatch RudOWLph up! :) And I’m thinking about whether some of these pin cushions/key chains might not be a great gift for some fledgling sewers I know :)
Cutest pin cushions ever!
Another Etsy friend, Rachel at One True Mango, has been felting up a storm lately! I really like the bold colors she’s using in these fun felted ornaments:
Necktie + shirt = super cute
Homemade White Wine and Tarragon Mustard
And then there’s your not-so-average DIY Christmas. Do you ever make gifts for folks?
I fell in love with this necktie ruffle tutorial from another Etsyian, McKell, I found on Pinterest (do you use Pinterest? I just started, but fear I’ll be combating addiction soon…). But I’m not telling who it’s for! :)
Hooray! Welcome to my first ever tutorial- a sometimes illusive sewing basic: how to sew a straight line.
I’ll walk you through the steps and some great ways to practice, then we’ll use your new skill to embellish a fun notecard like this one I did:
Learn how to sew a straight line and make a fun notecard!
I am so excited to be sharing this with you, and I’d love to hear what you think. Did you make a card? Post a photo to my facebook page. Comment below with any thoughts or ideas for future tutorials. :) xoxo