Tutorial: Ruffled Fabric Streamers

Ready for another Ultimate Scrap Buster? Good. Me too. My scrap box is thanking me.

Last year I saw these on one of my favourite blogs, MADE:

Ruffled Streamers by MADE

I was instantly in love, although it took me a while to get around to making them. But I finally got myself organised and whipped up a few for Christmas. They are so quick and easy! In fact, the longest part was cutting strips of crepe paper as the only colours I could find in the little rolls weren’t what I wanted. If you are looking for a way to make some fast and gorgeous crepe paper decorations, check out Dana’s tutorial. Actually, go check it out anyway because it will really help you follow my steps a little better. And plus, she just writes the cutest posts!

But after ruffling up some crepe paper I got to thinking, what else can I ruffle? FABRIC! I’m starting to think that fabric is the answer to all of my problems. Quite possibly.

And so, just in time for Valentine’s Day decor, I had a go at ruffling up some fabric in red, white, silver and black. I’m going to be honest, we Kiwi’s don’t go crazy with decorating the house at every opportunity (although I am totally envious of the awesome decorating ideas I keep seeing on my favourite blogs), but I thought these might help me get into the spirit.

They didn’t turn out quite as cute as I hoped, as some of the fabrics didn’t ruffle as well as the others. It seems as though the thinner the fabric, the better the ruffles. But anyway, I’ll talk you through the process and offer my suggestions later.

Now, after all of that waffling, I give you another Ultimate Scrap Buster:

Ruffles!

A little close up action.

Oh, and I also did a little pink and green. Cute right?

I know the strips aren’t all perfectly straight but I think that just adds to the charm, don’t you think? I think the scrappiness of it is cute.

Ready to do-a-lil-ruffling? Great.

Get out that scrap box/bag/pile and gather yourself a pile of coordinating strips. You want some wide, approx. 5cm wide, for your bottom ruffle layer, and some thinner than that (it really doesn’t matter how thin, as long as they are thinner than your bottom pieces) for your top ruffle layer. Don’t be afraid of the funny shaped ones. Here’s my pile:

See? All kinds of shapes in there. No problem.

Now, before you get into sewing, change the settings on your machine so that it is on the longest stitch length and highest tension. Did you read Dana’s tutorial? I hope so.

Layer a smaller piece on top of a bigger piece to start. Back stitch to secure, then start sewing and watch those ruffles suddenly appear.

 

When a layer runs out, just shove another piece right in there. My top layer ran out first, so I just stopped with the needle down, lifted the presser foot and slid in another piece.

 

When your bottom layer runs out, just add in another piece in the same way.

Keep on adding in new pieces until you have a beautiful ruffled streamer to decorate whatever you want to decorate.

Unfortunately, as I mentioned before there were problems. The thicker fabrics and the stretchy fabrics didn’t work very well at all. Stick with lightweight cottons and you should be fine. Also, if you wanted you could do a third layer at the bottom facing down so that it was double-sided. That was my original plan but I got a little lazy.

A lil more pink and green for you. I love this colour combo.

Now go and make a whole bunch in whatever colour combos you like!

Happy Valentine’s! And happy ruffling!

Nicola x

Refashion: Kids pants to shorts

The offending pants

These lovely pants are another find from the Freecycle bag of treats that was desperately needing a restyle. The pants themselves are in really good condition, but kid’s TV programme logos on clothes aren’t really my thing.

My first thought, SCISSORS! Cut the legs off and get rid of the logos! But that pesky one on the right leg was too far up. So, I decided to cut them off into shorts anyway and add a band made from the leg fabric to lengthen them.

Voila!

For anyone that may have pants that need a little change-up, here’s what I did:

I cut the legs off just above the logo. Ignore the fact the I had already made a cut lower down, I thought I may have been able to do it differently.

I cut two strips approx. 5cm wide to make the bands from the bottom of the pant legs so that I didn't have to finish the edges again.

I then pinned the bands to the shorts, right sides together.

Next, ironing the seams flat towards the bottom of the shorts.

And that’s it! A brand new pair of shorts, without the tacky Hi5 logo. Brilliant, and simple!

Squish better start growing faster so that she can fit into her growing pile of new clothes!

Nicola

Tutorial: Kids flared pants to tights

Have you heard of Freecycle? It’s a website where people post their unwanted items for others to have for free in the interests of keeping unnecessary stuff out of our landfills. It’s an international organisation, but you just sign up for the posts in your area.

Recently I scored a huge bag of girl’s clothes in size 4 – 7. There was all kinds of good stuff in there. A lot of it was covered in paint but that just tells me that the little girl that used to own these clothes was very creative! There were also a few homemade knitted and sewn jerseys in there too.

About half of it is in good condition and has gone into a bag to wait until Squish gets a little older. The other half is stained or stretched beyond repair or just not my taste, and so is destined to either be altered or cut up and used for something else. Luckily I have a little while to work on it all since she is no where near fitting any of it! But do keep a look out for a few tutorials on altering kids clothes in the near future.

Right, back to today’s tutorial. Altering these lovely purple flared pants:

into something a little more to my taste:

I’ve altered my straight jeans into skinny jeans before, so I figured this would be no trouble. Got a pair of kid pants that need a restyle? Let’s get into it.

Stuff you will need:

  • Rotary Cutter and cutting mat, or scissors
  • Ruler
  • Pins
  • Sewing machine
  • Iron

Step 1:

Using your ruler, check the outside edge of the leg. If it is already straight, great. If not, like these ones, put a pin in where the flare starts. Put another pin in the bottom to mark where your line of stitching is going to end. I guess if you have chalk or a suitable pen, you could draw a straight line to show you where to sew.

Step 2:

Starting a little before the pin, sew along the original line of stitching and when you get near the pin slowly start to veer away from the edge, sewing in a straight line towards the pin at the bottom of the pant leg. This is where a drawn line would come in very handy! Must get me some chalk.

Step 3:

Repeat for the inseam. Using your ruler, straighten the inseam. The top of the leg on these pants was fitted so I just continued that line all the way to the bottom. Using pins mark your start and finish points as before. Sew as for the outside seam. Trim excess fabric and finish edges by zigzagging or overlocking. Repeat for the other leg.

Step 4:

Iron your seams. If you are working with knit fabric like me, this step is definitely a must. Just press and lift, don't drag the iron.

Turn in the right way, and you are done! One pair of tights that I will happily dress my child in.

Next up, a pair of Hi5 pants that I can’t stand! Shorts anyone?

Nicola x

A little something for me. I hope.

I’ve been sewing for me. I love when that happens! I should do it more often.

What I don’t like is how I just dive right into things without planning. I’m a visual person, so I tend to just start cutting and putting together without much time to think. Sometimes that works out fine, especially for Squishy’s clothes since kids don’t have curves to consider. But for me it usually means sew a bit, go to the bathroom to try on and look in the mirror, try to work out how much to take in, sew a bit more, add a pleat here to hide my gaping neckline, back to the bathroom to try on again, unpick and resew… you get the idea.

I know, I need a dress form. And an overlocker. OH YES! I would LOVE an overlocker. I have an overedge foot on my machine that finishes edges nicely but it takes FOREVER. And yes, I’m aware that I’m blaming the equipment. But I still want an overlocker and a dress form. Please and Thank you.

Light cotton singlet top

The top.

See how there is a band across the bottom? That’s what happens when you don’t think before you cut. The straps are also supposed to tie at each shoulder, but I didn’t make enough bias tape and barely had enough to join them with a zigzag stitch. I do give myself credit for MAKING bias tape though, I’ve only done it a few times but it makes such a difference.

I think I’ve managed to save this top. Maybe a little fabric flower or two on the front there and a piece of elastic in the back to bring it in just a bit. We shall see.

Nicola xx

The $6 dress

When we first moved to this area around 6 months ago, I spotted an awesome looking Salvation Army op shop. Since then I’ve been driving past thinking “I must go in there one day” but forgetting to go back and have a look.

The other day I finally ventured in and discovered a beautifully laid out store with so many brilliant things. Old records, sports equipment, kids shoes, vases etc. I was very well restrained and only came out with 5 things:

  • A set of badminton racquets – $5
  • A bracelet – $2.50 (which actually doesn’t fit me, whoops, I’ll donate it back)
  • 2 doilies – 50c (not sure what for yet, but I know they’ll come in handy for something)
  • “I am a duck” children’s book by Mike Wilkins and Jeff Wakefield – 50c
  • and this dress – $6:

The $6 dressThis dress is super comfy and I really like it. It’s a little puffy but I can deal with that.

The only problem is that dresses are usually too short for me, and this is no exception. I’m not really, really tall, but obviously taller than the people who decide on dress length are used to. The other problem is that I ALWAYS forget to do the bend over and sit down tests when I try stuff on. Note to self – start remembering.

Good news: I had a quick look at the hem to see what could be done, and found this:

Hem of the $6 dress… a super giant 10cm hem! I did a quick check to make sure that the fold hadn’t left a faded line, nope, all good!

A little unpicking, a little ironing and a little sewing back up and we are done. All ready for our trip to the beach next week, keep your fingers crossed for sunny weather for us (not looking good at the moment…).

I often forget that with a bit of investigating I can try and fix things to fit me better. Off to search my wardrobe to see what else needs altering…

Nicola xx