Archive for the ‘Hand Work’ Category

Wrap Skirt

Remember those cute little skirts that wrapped around your waist and tied with a simple and quick bow at your hip? Sometimes they had a button on the waist instead of a tie? Yeah, those skirts. The really cute ones. I have made the girls a few to have something different to wear to church. You can make one in about an hour without a special pattern. Here is how to get a custom fit perfect for your height and your hips and waist line. Measure your waist. Let’s say your waist is 30 inches. Take your measurement of 30 inches and add half to itself. 30 inches + 15 inches = 45 inches Now we need to figure the proper ratio of waist to hem. For the waistline we will multiply by 30%. 45inches x .3 = 13.5 (round up to 14 inches). Now let’s figure the hem line by multiplying by 40%. 45 inches x .4 = 18 inches. Next is how long do you want your skirt? Shall it hit you at just above your knee or just below your knee? Measure from your waist to where you want your skirt to fall. In the deeper south we tend to wear our skirts much longer. For simplicity sake let’s say you want your skirt to be 27 inches long. So we have three numbers. 14, 18 and 27. Let’s add 3 inches to each number so we can account for seam allowance, waist band and hem. Our measurements become 17 inches, 21 inches and 30 inches. How will we make a skirt from just some numbers? Get out a piece of newspaper and a ruler and marking pen. Let’s transfer those meaurements to newspaper to have something to work from. It is easiest to work from the centerfold of the paper.

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It is not as hard as it may seem. You can draw this out on newspaper in just a matter of a couple of minutes.
Now that you have drawn your pattern, cut it out along the lines. Pin it to your pre-washed and ironed fabric and cut out 3 identical pieces.
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With wrong sides together sew the side seams. With your iron press the seams open, nice and flat. While at the iron go ahead and fold over a the raw edges of your skirt on both sides (about 1/4 inch). Fold over again to hide those raw edges about 1/2 inch. Carefully run a seam along the inside folded edge on both ends of the skirt.
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Next, go back to the iron and fold over a scant 1/4 at the waist and press it flat. Now fold over another inch and press that flat as well. This will form your wasitband. Stitch along the inner fold in a straight fine seam. At this point you can use ribbons or buttons to secure your skirt at your waist. You can also cut a thin strip of your fabric and create a tie belt. I usually cut a matching strip of fabric. It is easiest and the least expensive. If I have a spare button I might use it. It just depends on what I have available in my sewing box.
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Add a simple button hole on the right side near the side seam for the tie to pass through and wrap around your back. Hem the bottom edge. In about an hour you have a nice new skirt. This pattern will work for any shape and size woman or girl. It is perfect for spring and summer. Many light weight fabrics are available on discount tables for often as little as $1 per yard. You could reasonably make a skirt for about $2 and your time. Most any fabric will work. But make sure your pre-wash it so that if it shrinks you won’t have a too small skirt after you have taken the time to make it. This skirt look great paired with a simple T-shirt and a pair of sandles or cute slides. You can dress it up with a crisp light blouse as well. If you make one the next one will be even easier. Think of the cute wardrobe you could make over a weekend. Think how everyone will be asking you where you found such a cute skirt and you can say with pride, “I made it myself!” Today is Wednesday. Take a few minutes this evening and make the pattern. 15 minutes maybe. Thursday pick up about 2 yards of fabric. Maybe more if you want a longer skirt or you are a bigger girl. 30 minutes – it takes time to decide on the fabric! Also decide if you want a button or a tie. Friday lay out your fabric and pattern and cut the three pieces out. 15 minutes, tops. Saturday do the sewing. Remember, just sewing simple straight lines. Voile. You are finished. It hasn’t taken much time. You haven’t worried or stressed over it. You spent just a few minutes on the preparations. You didn’t become frustrated and ready to throw it away. You didn’t become overwealmed because you took each task one at a time. You can make another one with confidence and probably do it all in one sitting. Now, go forth and be creative. Then come back and show us what you are going to be wearing. 🙂 I made this one last night for Gracie. I timed myself. Start to finish 42 minutes. It might take you longer but once you get the hang of it you can whip out a skirt in no time flat.
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*****
Gracie was upset that she could not have one of the bags I had made. I used the scraps and pieced a much smaller bag for her. This size would work great for a lunchbag for those who carry their lunch to work.
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**Diagrams are copyright bigredcouch.com

Sewing Projects

March is craft month. Lots of people have been getting crafty.
I do not consider myself a crafter. Sewing and whatnot has never been a hobby. Since I learned to sew as a pre-teen I have been making clothing and other items for myself and family and friends. At one point it was a neccesity to sew. I made all of my girls dresses when they were little. It is when children grow up that the cost of making a dress vs. buying one comes into the picture and often it is more cost wise to buy an item than to try and make it.
But still I persist and run across a great bargain on fabrics and make my girls a dress or skirt or blouse or vest or whatever they want at the moment. Or I quilt and sew other things.
I was looking in a fabric warehouse and ran across a series of retro prints that caught my attention. They beckoned me hither.

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I looked at the price tag and shivered. Even at a discount they were a bit pricey.
They each whispered to me in a symphony of voices to take them home. Singing sweetly in my ear trying to seduce me with their beauty.
When that didn’t melt my steel belted heart they began begging and pleading and crying out for me to please bring them to a warm and loving home where they could be turned into something beautiful and interesting and begin to serve a purpose.
So I did.
The fabrics have become something useful with a purpose. I have put together a new series of my bags. Each one is different. No two are exactly alike. Each is fully lined. Measuring approx. 16x12x8.
It has been a year or longer since I have put together a new color pallet for my AngiePangie bags.
I thought I would offer them here to my readers first. Each bag is hand cut, stitched and assembled by me and my sewing machine.
If you have an interest email me with the bag number (1 – 8) of your choice in the title please. I’ll send you the paypal information to purchase one. Each bag is $22.50 plus $4.95 shipping and handling. I am offering them at cost of the fabrics and nothing more.
Each bag is hand pieced and cut. This is a patchwork bag. It is not printed in patchwork. I pieced them myself to get a custom one of a kind look.
The fabric is 7oz cotton duck. Very durable.
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Bag #1

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Bag #2

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Bag #3

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Bag #4

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Bag #5

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Bag #6

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Bag #7

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Bag #8

Each bag is fully reversable offering two bags in completely different looks.
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None of the reverse interiors are exactly the same.

These bags are a great size for crochet/knitting projects, a diaper bag, as a beach bag, a handbag, a pajama/overnight bag for kids, a tote, a gift bag -so many uses. Actually they are a versitile bag that can serve many purposes and needs.
These bags are with us women in mind, to use as we choose or need.
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This is a gallon sized pitcher to show the roomy size of the bag. Big, but not too big.

The bags open fully and have a squared bottom.
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The bottom measures approx. 8 inches across.

Each of the girls have one in fabrics that reflect their personalities and they use them to haul their libarary books back and forth. I use one as a light diaper bag now that Steven is out of that baby stage that requires everything and a kitchen sink to walk out of the house.
This bag is a bag we made way back in the stone age days of Home Ec in junior high. We each made a bag so as to have something useful and durable to carry our future projects back and forth to school in. I have modified it a bit and adjusted the size (because size matters). I can make a larger or smaller bag if anyone is interested in a custom bag.
So, since the sewing bug has bitten me you can see what I have been up to the last week or so.
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Oh, that and being busy with church, guitar lessons, head colds and a teething baby, repotting houseplants, sewing a few seeds for fresh kitchen herbs and getting things in order for my spring garden. It is busy days around here now. We have put in a few blueberry bushes, three fig trees and I have pruned and tied the grape vines. Spring is coming! Can you hear it?
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Although you wouldn’t know it here if you spent last week enjoying 80 degree days and then suddenly it begins to rain, turns stone cold, sleets and then coveres everything in snow!
What is your talent and why do you hide it under a bushel?

Chain Stitches

I haven’t quilted in years. I haven’t cross stitched but once this past year. I have started to crochet again but the interest wanes and fades after a while due to many interuptions of tending house and family.
I keep thinking once Steven gets a little older how I can indulge myself. Being able to sit a few hours at a time marking the day with stitches in one project or another.
My house is not adorned with anything I have ever crafted. I seem to give them away as gifts instead of making and keeping treasures for myself.
I want to quilt again. I want to set up a huge quilting frame and I want to create art with my colored threads. Right now I just don’t have the time. Steven is underfoot. I can’t seem to get him entertained long enough to even look at fabric swatches.
One day I will quilt again. The desire is very very strong right now.
It is so strong that when I went to the library I stumbled on a series of fiction novels that center around heritage, genealogy, cooking and the handed down art of quilting. The symbolism, the desire to create beauty from things from the past, appeals to me greatly right now.
This weekend I have finished reading four novels.
The Christmas Quilt.
The Quilter’s Legacy.
The Sugar Camp Quilt.
The Runaway Quilt.
There are several more of these books. For now these have cooled my want to quilt.
One day I will quilt again.

*****

After two years of being frugal and completely unwilling to pay $60+ for a small fig tree I feel as if this weekend I have succeed finally in my wishes.
I purchased 3 fig trees (under $10 each) for my orchard.
I also purchased blueberry bushes.
I have everything I need to begin starting my seeds for my garden.
I worry that the temperatures will linger in the lows and it will not be warm enough until well past the April 15th frost date for our region to actually plant.
Last summer the monsoons we suffered which flooded DC pretty much drowned most of my gardens. I had NOTHING to harvest but the fruit from my orchard in early fall.
This year I have great plans for my garden. I even hope to be able to try my hand at a heritage tomato that is snowball white in color.
*****

Quilting and gardening might be how I spend my spring and summer.

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