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Have you ever wandered round and round the fabric store and not found the perfect fabric for a project . . . only to have the ideal fabric pretty much jump out at you somewhere unexpected?
This was me looking for the fabric for the Marty Hoodie for the cover of Issue 11. In the end I sewed this Marty Hoodie using some knit I had on hand, an extra large mans tee, a pair of baby leggings and a toddler shirt!
I’m definitely no expert at upcycling but I had so much fun doing it. I wanted to share a few practical tips for sewing with upcycled clothing. For plenty more ideas you definitely need to check out the article by Candice Ayala from issue 11 or this blog post by Irene from Serger Pepper.
Practical tips for upcycling:
- When you’re combining different knit fabrics in a garment it’s important to check that the stretch of them is similar. If you don’t do this you can end up with a finished garment that is too tight in some places and too loose in other places. With the upcycled mans shirt I found there was a large variation in stretch between the ones I had. I ended up using a different shirt to that I’d intended, as the stretch of the first shirt was so much more than the other pieces.
- If you’re cutting pattern pieces in new spots (eg I cut the arm pieces in half) don’t forget to add your seam allowance to both sides of your new pieces. For this hoodie I split the sleeves so I could have two different fabrics in them. I added an extra 6mm (1/4″) seam allowance to the bottom of the top sleeve piece and an extra 6mm (1/4″) seam allowance to the top of the bottom sleeve piece.
- I’m not great at visualising things, so I found it really helpful to lay out my hoodie and move the pieces around till I got the look I was happy with.
If you decide to upcycle some fabrics for your sewing projects I’d love to see! Come show me in the One Thimble Sewing Enthusiasts group on Facebook!
I’ve got a confession … I ran out of time for all the options I wanted to add to the Marty Hoodie pattern. BUT all is not lost – I’ve decided to post the hacks/options up on the blog. As an added bonus you’ll be able to apply many of these “hacks” to other patterns.
How to make a sleeveless Marty Hoodie
I chose to finish my armholes on the sleeveless Marty Hoodie with self-binding.
.1.Cut your armhole binding.
I cut mine 4cm (1 5/8″) wide and 40cm (16″) long for size 8.
For size 1 you’ll need about 8cm (3″) less and for size 12 you’ll need about 8cm (3″) more.
You want it to be a couple of cm (3/4″ish) smaller than the armhole measurement so it’ll pull in nicely. I find it easiest to cut more than I’ll need and then trim off the excess rather than risking being caught short. Different knits with different amounts of stretch might need a longer or shorter amount of binding.
.2. Press the armhole binding in half, wrong sides together.
.3. Align the raw edges of the armhole binding with the raw edges of the armhole. Leave 20mm (3/4”) overhanging at the start and the end. Sew together.
.4. Leave the armhole binding pointing upwards when you sew the side-seams. This will allow you to hide the top of the sideseam, when you fold the binding down in step 7.
.5. Right sides together match the side seams and sew together.
.6. Press the seam towards the back.
.7. Fold the armhole binding to the inside.
.8. Using a twin needle stitch along the armhole on the outside to hold the armhole binding in place.
.9. Your hoodie is done!
So I know she looks pretty unhappy in this photo, but this is her tough chick look! She was quite a fan of this version!
How to make a hoodless Marty Hoodie
This is a super easy hack! To do this version simply leave the hood off. The neckbinding piece included in the pattern will finish the neckline off nicely. You could leave it sticking up, but I much prefer the look when the neckbinding is stitched down for the hoodless Marty.
If you’d like to have ribbing at the neck instead of the neckbinding check out the blog post on adding ribbing hems and cuffs to your Marty Hoodie later in the week.
This hoodless-sleeveless version below also shows another of the hacks I’ll be showing you this week – sewing a dress with a kanga pocket!
If you decide to use any of these pattern hacks I’d love to see! Come show me in the One Thimble Sewing Enthusiasts group on Facebook!
I’m so excited to have a chat with Kate from Horris & Deedle today. Kate has been a contributor to One Thimble since way back in Issue 4 with her Rainy Days Quilt. Her Pencil Pencil Case from Issue 5 was also a big hit! I was so happy to have her back on board in Issue 11 with her Bunny & Bear Quilt.
This week Kate has been sharing some fabulous applique blog posts on the One Thimble blog – including some FREE templates!
Kate is a Stay-at-Home mum to five children and lives in Perth, Western Australia. She loves seeing her simple drawings come to life through the different colours and textures of fabric. She is addicted to putting cute appliques on cheap t-shirts and making baby quilts.
How’d you get into quilting?
I was fortunate enough to become an Aunty while I was finishing up high school. My little niece was my favourite thing in the world and I loved her so much (I still do of course, but she is 18 now). I spent a lot of time playing with her and I wanted to make her something that would remind her of how much I love her as she grew so I made my first quilt. Of course, if I had a good look at it now I would probably cringe and the workmanship, not to mention the fabrics I chose. I think I even use corduroy for the backing fabric! I think this is where my love of appligue began as well. I had lots of little motifs on that quilt which I blanket stitched on by hand as I travelled to and from uni each day on the train.
After that my second niece came along and I made one for her and a few years later I had my first little boy and made one for him. His baby quilt is all faded and stretched now but I love it when all of the children bring out their baby quilts to make cubbies in the bunk beds or when the girls use them for there doll picnics. It reminds me of all the anticipation and excitement I had while I looked forward to meeting each one of them.
What/who/where inspires you?
There are a few quilting blogs which I follow sporadically and which I’ve learnt a lot from over the years.
Most of my inspiration for creating though comes from what I see with my eyes. Good children’s illustrators often give me a base for colours and shapes, not to mention, inspire me to create something beautiful. I look out for ideas in many places and a lot of my quilts come from simple drawings which I’ve seen.
I saw this Paper City on a blog (http://madebyjoel.com/2010/04/paper-city.html) several years ago. It stayed in my mind until I made a quilt for a good friend of mine who was having baby boy.
The place where I get most of my inspiration to make something beautiful though is the natural world. The variety of plants and animals, the fine craftsmanship and wonderful design of different fruits and veges as well as the beauty and uniqueness of each season motivate me to make beautiful things with the best finish that my time allows for the people I love.
What’s your best tip for someone just getting started with quilting?
Just have a go. To tell you the truth, I don’t consider myself much of a quilter at all. I just do what I enjoy. I think that’s the best way to get started with a quilt- choose a pattern or a design that you love, choose fabrics that you love even more and a person who you love to make it for. Those three things should be some good motivation to try it.
What are you working on now?
At the moment I’ve got a half-finished Hoya dress from Issue 11 on my table, as well as two quilt tops based on my ‘Bear and Bunny’ Pattern with a few slight changes. I’m hoping to show them to you in a few weeks.
What’s something people mightn’t know about you?
I enjoy writing poems and children’s stories. One day when I have a bit more time on my hands, I hope to learn how to draw and paint properly so that I can write and illustrate my own children’s picture books.
This week we have Kate from Horris & Deedle on the blog sharing some awesome Applique tips and techniques. If you’ve missed the earlier posts be sure to check out the links below.
Read Monday’s blog post and download your FREE applique templates -> HERE.
Read Tuesday’s blog post and get all Kate’s best applique tips -> HERE
When I saw Jen’s article on ‘Freezer Paper Stenciling’ in the latest issue I was a little excited. Freezer Paper Stenciling has always been one of those things which I’ve seen on Pinterest and American Blogs. I’ve wished we could get it in Australia, a bit like how I felt when I was a kid and a friend would come back from a holiday in America with lots of cool lollies that I’d never seen before.
When I realized that we could buy it here in Australia I rushed down to my nearest Textile Traders (much easier to get into and out of than Spotlight) and found that they sell it too!
If you’ve read yesterday’s blog post you’ll know that one of my tips for adding interest to applique’s is to use layers. Freezer Paper stenciling is a great way to add another layer to your appliques.
My kids were so excited to watch the freezer paper stenciling and have ambitions of making their own shirts in the next school holidays.
I used some scrap linen for the nose area and tummy patch and the actual nose is a scrap from an old pair of brown pants.
I did the same things for Miss Kitty here …
I also used another of my tips for making your appliques interesting from yesterday’s blog post with Miss Kitty. Here she is looking to the side and her eyes look alert. Maybe she has spotted a mouse. Maybe she is ready to pounce and as my husband just remarked, maybe she is stuck in gaol.
Miss Kitty isn’t included with the other animal templates I provided on Monday but she is easy enough to make. Just use Miss Bunny’s body shape and add two little pointed ears instead.
You can download your free applique templates -> HERE
I hope this post inspires you to mix your applique and freezer paper stenciling up a bit. Be sure to come show us what you sew in the One Thimble Sewing Enthusiasts group on Facebook!
Yesterday on the blog Kate from Horris & Deedle shared some FREE applique templates* and today she’s going to share her tips for bringing your applique to the next level! So over to you Kate . . .
*Find yesterday’s blog post with the free templates HERE.
I’m a real fan of dessert and I have to say that when I eat out my sweet tooth isn’t easily satisfied. The base product, be it a tart, cake, pudding etc has to be quality but it needs to be enhanced by lots of contrast- contrast in textures, flavours, temperatures…..I know you’re hearing me. Think of a cold piece of apple pie, soggy- bottomed pastry, soggy apple and some vanilla ice-cream. You could take it or leave it really. But then think of some perfectly crisp shortcrust pastry, warm, soft apple on the inside, the slightest sprinkling of cinnamon and sugar on the top and a pie that is so fresh and hot it almost burns the roof of your mouth on a Winter’s night. Team it with just a smidge of creamy cold vanilla ice-cream and you’re onto a winner. So it is with appliques…..contrast is the key.
I’m a bit of an applique addict and over the years of my addiction I’ve discovered a few tips on how to take something from ’almost there’ to a unique original.
Here are the best ways I know to add interest to an applique.
- Variety and Contrast
Choose fabrics which contrast well with each other and with the background material. Appliques which have too much of the same colour will look drab and it will be hard to distinguish features. Your fabrics should be a mixture of patterned and plain fabrics to allow some features to stand out and others to drop into the background.
With Miss Bunny here I chose a plain dusty lilac for the majority of her body. Because the t-shirt is patterned the plain fabric stands out from the t-shirt and also gives somewhere for the eye to rest. Also, because of the busy-ness of the actual t-shirt itself I kept the tummy patch and ear inserts plain and only used the simple pink spots for the cheeks and bow.
With Mister Frog here, his striped tummy adds a good point of interest because the t-shirt background is dark and plain allowing him to almost jump off the shirt (sorry for the dad’s joke).
- Add Layers
Layers are another way to add a lot of interest to your creature. You can do it by adding different textured fabrics like felt or corduroy and by using lace/ribbons/buttons etc. Also, you can add layers by making features three dimensional. Miss Bunny’s bow is good example of this.
In the t-shirt below I made fabric fish scales which were only sewn onto the t-shirt on one edge of each scale . Together with the bubble buttons and the pom pom ribbon this little fish came together really well.
For these butterfly wings, I cut some coloured strips of fabric on the bias to stop it fraying, gathered the strips and then sewed them on in the shape of the wings.
These icy-pole t-shirts really came to life with the variety of small coloured buttons on the middle icy-pole.
Adding the ribbons to the side of the camera for the neck strap, as well as for the view finder make this camera t-shirt so much character. I used the camera applique template from the Adventure Flags pattern by Swoodson Says from Issue 10 for the camera base.
Another great way to layers is to vary your stitches. Using a combination of machine ziz-zag/ free motion and hand stitching all helps to add interest.
I use free motion applique mainly when using knitted fabrics or when sewing on small or curved areas.
For larger straight lines on woven fabrics a zig-zag stitch prevents lots of fraying on the edges when it goes through the wash.
- Tell a Story
You don’t have to tell a whole novel on a t-shirt but adding one or two things can make it a whole lot more interesting.
With these icy pole t-shirts I took a bite out of the choc-mint ones because those are my favourites.
Mr Frog here is trying to catch a fly. His eyes are looking up, his tongue is out and we can actually see the fly too. When I first started making this t-shirt the fly wasn’t there. I showed it to my kids and asked them what they thought. After politely telling me that they liked it, each of them said in one way or another, “that yellow thing on the side of his mouth looks weird.” I gathered that the fact that it was his tongue wasn’t obvious enough so I added the little fly. I didn’t know how to draw a simple fly but while I was reading Georgie her bedtime book one night I saw a good one to copy.
Which brings me to my last point.
- Be on the look out.
Look out for simple drawings and motifs in books, on signs, in brochures or anywhere else. Think about how they would look in certain colours and fabrics and if you think it will be a winner then go for it.
Finally, a few tips about the sewing.
It’s a good idea to put some light-weight iron on interfacing on the inside of the t-shirt. It makes the knit fabric so much more stable when you sew the applique on. It also helps to prevent annoying thread breakages.
As I mentioned before, knit fabrics are great for raw edge or free motion applique as they don’t fray. You don’t want your free-motion applique to look neat, otherwise it will inevitably show up flaws and mistakes. If it was cooking we’d say we were going for rustic.
This bird has been sewn on using free motion. I sew over each area two or three times so that it looks like I wasn’t trying to get the edging perfect, a bit like when you sketch something with a pencil. The fabric in this is all woven fabric but it has survived through the wash quite well because there are no long straight edges.
They are not nearly as fiddly to sew as you might think. The instructions are fantastic and the cuteness factor is off the scale. Unlike most baby shoes, they are easy to get on and actually stay on his feet.
We would love to see any of your applique critters or any other OT sewing on the One Thimble Sewing Enthusiasts Facebook Page.
Thanks for reading along,