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21  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / English Muffins on: August 07, 2013 09:13:14 AM

One thing Craftster means to me is going going for it. A while ago I saw this recipe for English muffins posted from King Arthur Flour. The directions were for use with a bread machine which I don't have. Instead of moaning about not having that piece of equipment- okay, after moaning - I went for it. With a few tweaks it worked!


Just mix all the ingredients together (oh, I didn't use bread flour either) and let rise until about doubled. Proceed as directed!

You can also make a Sherlock-themed tea box to go with your muffins. Smiley

22  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: General / Happy Halloween! Reverse appliqu pillow + blind-hemmed lapped zipper tutorial on: August 07, 2013 08:28:09 AM
What's something Craftster means to me? Going for it! I can freeze up with fear of failure but this site has really helped me be okay (or more okay) with making mistakes and "never speak of this again" projects. I always learn something at least! Learning is awesome!

To represent this, I sewed up this pillow and put in a zipper.

I LOVE pillows (former swap partners, you know that Smiley ) and I LOVE Halloween (ditto last comment) and I LOVE zippers! Several pillow covers ago I went looking for tutorials on making deep laps (the fold of fabric hiding the zipper.) I found a mention of using a blind hem to do so. That sounded cool! There were no pics or directions or anything but I liked the idea and went for it! It's become 2nd only to invisible zippers for me!

Since this post is more about the pillow and how it's closed, not the Halloween theme, I thought it fit best here with home decor.

The front is done with reverse appliqu (here's a great tutorial on it.) I did the lettering and drew the pumpkin shape (eventually- so not an artist) on paper then traced it onto the press and seal. The brown fabric is on the bottom, orange in the middle and black on top. The colors are off in the pictures. I'm still working on photography.

I know some people fear zippers so I made up this little tutorial as well. Don't fear the zipper!

Decide what size pillow you want. Generally your pillow cover should end up the same size to 1" smaller than your pillow form. This helps the stuffing fill the corners and such better making for a nice, plump pillow with minimal limp "wings" at the corners.
Plan for a 1/2" seam allowance. If you do reverse appliqu or piecing or something else fiddly, leave lots of extra material for squaring later.

Get a zipper at least a couple inches longer than what your pillow will end up being. It makes life so much easier.

Make your front. Have fun!

Now cut 2 pieces of fabric for the back leaving extra for squaring, positioning and cutting if using a serger to finish.

I have them marked with blue-headed pins so I can tell the right side from the wrong (blue=b=back. Yeah, even plain fabric can have a right and wrong side.)
They should be the same width (or height, depending on if you want the zipper running from top to bottom or side to side) of your pillow front. On this 16" pillow planned to finish at 15" the lapped side ended up using about 10 and 3/4" and the other about 11 and 1/2" not including the bit shaved off by the serger knife in the next step. Having the lap fall before the middle of the pillow helps avoid gaping.

Edge finish sides where the zipper will be attached. That's 1 side finish per back piece. There are tons of options for finishes out there. I'm fortunate to have a serger so I used it.

Okay, now pin the zipper to one of the back pieces (top or bottom, doesn't matter unless you absolutely want the zipper pull to end up on a certain side and are using 1-way fabric.)

Right sides together, remember. And line up the long edge of the zipper with the finished edge of the fabric.

Slap a zipper foot on your sewing machine and stitch away.

Don't have a zipper foot? You can still do this method of insertion. See next steps.

As you can kind of see (the little arrow is helping to point it out) there is a space between the stitching and the zipper teeth. The fabric can pull away and reveal that zipper tape! Noooo! This will probably be an even bigger gap if you didn't use a zipper foot! Double nooooo!

But no worries.

Roll the fabric up to close the gap.

Sew! If you don't have a zipper foot, you might want to do this step by hand using some sort of unnoticeable-from-the-outside stitch.

Yay!!!! All closed up!

Now repeat for side #2.

Remember to close the gap as well.

Onto the blind hemming bit.

Fold down your side to be lapped so the fold is even with your edge finish. Press. (you've been pressing all this time, right?)

Then fold the fabric back up about 2 and 1/4" below the last fold. This is the lap part of the lapped zipper!

Roll back to give yourself room to sew beside this roll. Don't press! Really!

Go over to your machine and change your presser foot to a regular one. Flip the stitch type to blind hem.

It looks like "C". The straight stitches will go along on the fabric beside the roll while the zig-zags will get the roll. You'll want to test this out on some scraps first to get the hang of it and/or to make sure your fabric will unroll (see below.) If you look up blind hem, it's the same thing. The only difference here is the zipper.

Blind hem away!

When you get all done, roll out the rolled part so it lays flat.

Cool, huh? I LOVE this stitch. Works great for curvy hems and all sorts of other stuff too.

Remember to iron. Smiley

Now you've got your zipper inserted! Your back pieces have joined as one. Pin it to your pillow's front (right sides together) and square up!

You'll need to unzip your zipper a few inches to turn your pillow right side out. To keep the unzipped part close together for sewing (and future zipping) I pin the sides down then sneak my hand inside the front and back and unzip. Don't cut the zipper even with the rest yet to avoid any possible headaches.

Now sew around the whole thing. Twice if you weren't paying quite enough attention  Tongue Backstitch over the zipper to really secure it. Stitch and backstitch zipper again 1/8" away (on seam allowance) to really, really secure it.

Reduce stitch length as you come to the corners. This gives it extra strength. If I was never going to see the inside of this again (like for a lined bag) I would trim the corners differently, but since I'm not going to be closing this pillow forever (that's why I'm putting in a zipper!) and will be serging to finish, I just cut off a triangle.

Trim the zipper to right next to the on-the-seam-allowance stitching so you keep both lines. You don't want that zipper coming loose but you also don't want the bulk and, if you're serging, you don't want to go serging over those teeth (creates lumps and your knife will be disgruntled.)

Finish the edges. Serge/zig-zag/whatever down each side.

See how the serger caught the zipper end but the knife didn't have to cut it? You can't? Well, trust me, that's what happened. The lighting in my crafting area is not the best as you picked up in the other in progress pics.

If serging, I like to leave nice, long tails of serge then tie them so the corners come together all nice and pointy.

Go ahead and turn it right side out, slip in a pillow form...

...zip it up...

...And there's your lovely, neat and tidy back!

Happy, happy!
23  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: General / Shirred sundress with flared skirt on: July 09, 2013 03:12:28 PM
This started out as a test piece but then I got into it and voila:

Instant blurred face! No, kidding. A shirred sundress. Smiley

The skirt is flared and sewn onto the shirred bodice.

I didn't have enough red thread and since this was just going to be a "I wonder what would happen if..." piece I tossed some black thread and black thread elastic on the machine and away I went. Twenty rows later I added a piece of thin, knit elastic to the top and one on the seam allowance under the bust so it keep it's shape. This was no longer going to be just a test piece if I could help it.

So, I added a ruffle at the bottom and fancy patch pockets. Well, not that fancy. I was petering out a bit (this wasn't going to be a lengthy project, remember.) The $3 sheet I chopped up for the endeavor was the perfect length for the ruffle: cut top to bottom for front ruffle and top to bottom for back ruffle. Sweet!

And it pairs nicely with my black cardi for other seasons. Yay!

Thanks for reading about my little sewing adventure!
24  PURSES, BAGS, WALLETS / Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: General / Disco ball-esque macaroon on: June 25, 2013 09:25:12 AM
Yep, I still love macaroon coin purses! Here's my seventh one, with a bit of a twist:

It's a macaroon compact!

Outside shiny, disco-ball-y, mirror-y fabric, inside real mirrors. I used that plastic mirror stuff and cut it to fit the small (less than 1.5") interior. It reflects great and wasn't too bad to cut either!

I used a metallic metal zipper and metallic ribbon to hold the silver clip. It didn't turn out as disco ball-ish as I'd hoped, but it is quite reflective  Cheesy

As I mentioned above, this guy is my 7th design. I just love all the things one can do with a circle! It's been so much fun. You should totally try it!
25  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Beads: Completed Projects / Beaded Braille Choker/Wrap Bracelet on: June 12, 2013 07:08:47 PM
Heavily utilizing the library, encyclopedia and internet in order to take a crash course in Braille I (hopefully) beaded "it's always darkest before the dawn" into this choker/wrap bracelet.

Braille is pretty special for me personally so, though it took quite a few IYP swaps, I finally did something with it for the most recent round.  Smiley

(awful mirror shot)
I used a calm-looking "green sea" mix as the background for the wood-colored Braille dots. They're not raised or textured, sadly, but I think they kinda look textured.  Undecided

Since this was for a swap partner and I wasn't sure if she'd need more length to wear it as a choker, I left the strings long.

Before starting I laid out the top row to make sure it wasn't too long a saying to wear. It's about 14". Each cell is separated by a column of green and each word by 2 cells of green. It took all but a dozen of the full tube of greens I began with! I think it was worth it, though.

Oh! And the button got the closure job because it reminded me of the early morning sun. Smiley

I've got a lot to learn, but I'm really liking beading!
26  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: General / Scrappy mug rug: piping included! on: June 10, 2013 04:38:29 PM
I made my very first mug rug! Well, it's not mine anymore, I made it for my buddy, StickerChic, in the most recent IYP.

I'm not a very good quilter, as you can see  Tongue

The quilting thread matches the binding, though!

I really like piping and I happened to have some that went well so on it went. I think it adds something...besides a bit of fabric and cord  Wink

Mug rugs never interested me much before but I'm a fan now. This one turned out a bit big I guess (7"x11" or so, if I remember right) but I can see where they could come in handy: like, for setting down the mini muffins and bottle of cream soda I just finished!
27  PURSES, BAGS, WALLETS / Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: General / Corset Bag on: June 09, 2013 05:51:36 PM

It's a corset bag!

I took a corset pattern, leveled the bottom, and sewed the opening closed...

Then I put a bottom on it (note: ovals are eeeeevil to draft) and bound the edge with bias tape. I slipped a length of polyester boning through the binding so the base stands open. The boning in the body helps it stand up!

The back laces with grommet tape. It doesn't open, though.

The "lingerie straps" are removable and can be reconfigured: Crossed, uncrossed, off...

This was my first time working with boning but definitely not the last. I think it could come in handy for way more than corsets and corset bags!

Thanks for looking!
28  PURSES, BAGS, WALLETS / Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: General / A little of this and a little of that purse on: May 04, 2013 10:43:51 AM
I've had this idea simmering for a while and this challenge gave me the push I needed to actually do it!
One thing I think I'm good at is trying new things so, for this bag, I tried several.

On this side I tried flower lattice/North American/Canadian/whatever-you-want-to-call-it smocking, using fabric glue to position trim...

lattice or braid pattern whatever-smocking and using fabric glue to hold lace in place. I also beaded "sunshine" in morse code (1 bead for a dot, 3 together for a dash) and paid homage to this pillow I made for a swap a while back.

And on this side I tried...

honeycomb or pleat smocking and machine embroidery (it says "pumpkin" in Russian Smiley )

I also added some cut-out-and-ironed-on stars (they're cut out of the gray linen and the linen is ironed onto the off-white underneath).

The pieced parts with all the things I tried are pockets hiding pockets!

It holds it's shape well, even when I put in all the stuff I carry around!

Inside are 2 pockets on each side. I like pockets Cheesy

And up top is a zipper! I love zippers! Grin

I made the pattern myself. The sides angle in smaller at the top, or widen at the bottom, however you want to think of it. It's about 10.5" by 9.75" by about 2" at the base and 1" at the top.

Thanks so much for looking! And thanks for the incentive to get this done! Now I have a purse for the summer!
29  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Party Planning / Watch out! It's April Fools! on: April 01, 2013 09:26:31 AM
Not really a party, but there's no board for spring crafts that I could see...Here's what I was up to at 3:30am today, April 1  Smiley

I got the idea on pinterest. For anyone else who wants to try this out, guess what? Sticky-back googley eyes do stick to items in a cold fridge! No fooling! Cool, huh?
Have an awesome day!  Cheesy
30  PURSES, BAGS, WALLETS / Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: General / Air Mail! Another Macaroon Coin Purse on: March 01, 2013 05:47:17 AM

Normally I get bored after making something 2 or 3 times, but macaroon coin purses are definitely an exception! Here's my sixth!

I love old mail stuff so was excited to try out the theme on a coin purse for a swap partner. The red and blue are added with a fabric marker. I wanted the blue back to match the blue airmail stripes so that's colored too!

Over the brown the blue looked more slate blue so I tried to pick that up with the zipper- plus I didn't want it to look too new! Smiley The top and bottom of the macaroon are covered 1.5" buttons so the interior isn't very big, but I keep finding uses for the pumpkin one I made for myself. It's surprisingly handy!

I embroidered on my swap partner's birthdate and a destination she said she liked for the postmark.
Ones I made previously are posted here and here if you're interested. Of course, they're posted there if you're not interested too Cheesy .

I can't wait to make more!
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