PUL Reusable Bowl Covers Tutorial

I have been meaning to make some of these reusable bowl covers, for quite a while now.  I too feel a little guilty every time I use plastic wrap…well not so much when I’m making freezer paper stencils mind you that has a purpose!

PUL Reusable Bowl Covers Quick and Easy Tutorial (8)

I recently saw a tutorial on fabric bowl covers on craft gossip which reminded me I need to make these.  I love their design but decided there had to be an easier and quicker way.

PUL Reusable Bowl Covers Quick and Easy Tutorial (9)

So I decided to forgo the double layer and save time on sewing a casing for the elastic.  I decided on PUL (I had some left over from my book bags) and thought a little leak protection wouldn’t go astray!  Instead of regular elastic I used shirring elastic, I used to avoid this stuff like the plague but it really is very easy once you try it.

Fabric Reusable Bowl Covers Quick and Easy Tutorial (10)

Now for the quick and easy tutorial!

Continue reading “PUL Reusable Bowl Covers Tutorial”

Ruffle Knit Tube Skirt

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You might recognize this fabric from my Pencil Skirt!  Hannah liked it so much and wanted one for herself.  I had a few remnants left over so thought I’d give it whirl.
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Well as cute as it is it is a little too short for a 7 year old!  It’s not really a wear tights underneath kind of skirt either…

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Simple solution add a knit ruffled hem!
I don’t know about you but I think that is much cuter, and a better length for a little girl!  And extra brownie points as it now twirls!
Now for the tutorial, well tutorials really!

What You’ll need

  • Fabric – Knit mine is ruffled but any knit you like is fine!
  • 25mm (1”) Elastic for the waistband
  • Thread, Pins, Measuring tape etc
  • Sewing Machine
  • Overlocker (Optional)

Step 1 – Measure and Cut your fabric

You will need to measure the pieces there is no printed pattern.  You need the waist measurement, Hannah’s is 21”.  You don’t want the skirt too tight but not too lose either.  Take the waist measurement and add 3 inches (this is for a size 7/8) if yours is much bigger add a little more, or if smaller add a little less.  Roughly between 3 and 5 inches as a guide.  Due to my fabric size restrictions I did two pieces with two side seams, you can just to do a single seam if you like.
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I was restricted in the length too but you can make yours any length you like.  A great way to work it out is to measure a skirt that you already have.  Take this measurement and add 3 inches for waist and hem allowance.  Or you can use an online chart to get the average measurements!  As a quick example Hannah’s is, 21” + 3” = 24”.

Step 2 – Overlock Bottom Edges (Optional) * Only for ruffled fabric

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Overlock the underneath layer as it is difficult to hem the ruffled fabric.  You can just leave it raw most knit fabrics won’t fray, it’s up to you!

Step 3 – Pin and sew the side seams

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With ruffled fabric you need to be very careful when pinning to make sure it lines up and the ruffles are not caught up the wrong way.
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Repeat for the second side.
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If you overlocked and are not hemming you will need to tuck in the ends of the thread.  This just prevents it coming undone while wearing.
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Step 4 – Adding a Waistband

Cut your elastic 2 inches smaller than your waist measurement, for example Hannah’s is 21” – 2” = 19”.
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Join the elastic using zigzag so that it sits nice and flat.  I have a full tutorial on that here.
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Pin the elastic evenly on the inside of the waistband.  I use the seams and pin the elastic in quarters to ensure it is even.  I showed all the steps in the Colour Block Rugby Shorts tutorial in Step 5.
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Sew the elastic in place using an overlocker (or zigzag works great too), just be careful not to cut the elastic with the overlocker!
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It should look a little like this!
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Fold the waistband over and pin in place.
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Sew the waistband in using zigzag stitch, stretching the fabric as you go.  There you have it a perfect waistband without any chance it is going to twist inside the casing or roll up for that matter.  All big plusses in my world!

Step 5 – Hem

If you are hemming go ahead and do that however you like!  You can just fold over and zigzag or use a double needle.  Another cute finish is a lettuce hem which you can do using your regular sewing machine.  Check out Step 9 below for the details!

Step 6 – Adding the ruffle hem

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Cut a strip of knit fabric twice the length of the original fabric.  This allows for the ruffles!  I cut mine 48 inches (Hannah’s waist 21” + 3” allowance equals 24” x 2 equals 48” for this piece.  I made mine 6 inches wide to get the length I wanted.

Step 7 – Gather one long side of the strip

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I use a very easy technique to gather fabric.  Only one line of stitching and minimal pulling.  Set your thread tension as high as it will go (mine is 9) and your stitch length as long as it will go (mine is 4).  Then sew straight down one long edge (top) about 3/8” in from the side.  And there you have ruffles!  DON’T lockstitch and leave the threads at the start and end long.  You can pull on one thread (I find the lower works better for me) to make the gather tighter, or you can wriggle it along to loosen it off.  Again I have a Superhero Cape tutorial with all the photos and instructions!
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Step 8 – Sew

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Now if you were doing this from the start you could attach the ruffle hem before sewing the side seam(s), it’s probably a little easier but as all layers stretch it’s not too bad this way!  Sew the side seam either with the overlocker or zigzag.
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Pin the ruffle hem in place under the bottom layer of the skirt.
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Sew the new hem in place with zigzag stitch close to the edge.
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Here is the inside, not super tidy but not too bad for a fix up!
You can stretch out the seam so that the gathering stitch snaps.  That way the skirt will still be stretchy with the zigzag.  You can unpick it if you really like, but I’ll deal with it if any stray threads come lose later!  It won’t cause it to unravel the zigzag is holding it securely.

Step 9 – Lettuce Hem

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Fold up the hem by about an inch, and pin in place.
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Set your machine to zigzag and the stitch length to F, for me this is just after 1.  As you can see above I had it set at about 1/2 but that was to wide, so I reduced to F.  Sew on the folded edge so one side of the zigzag goes around the folded edge.  It also helps if you pull the fabric from the front and back while sewing.  This is just to hold it taught don’t pull it through the machine.
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There you have a wiggly lettuce hem!
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Just trim off the excess and you are finished!
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Great simple summer staple and so comfortable and stretchy!

Make your own Bias Binding – Single & Double Fold

I have always wanted to make my own bias binding but it just seemed so difficult to get it straight.  Then I discovered that you use a bias making tool for that!

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I bought mine online from fishpond.  Monkeybrother Fabric Sewing Quilting Bias Binding Maker Tape Maker Tool Set – 4 Different Sizes. Updated 8 October 2016 – These are no longer available but they now have Estone Set of 4 Bias Makers which are the same,

This is an affiliate link it costs you nothing but if you use it to make a purchase I earn a commission for sending you to their online store.  Working towards the dream of blogging for a living…one day!

Making Bias Binding a

Now for making the bias!

What you will need,

  • Fabric (woven fabric) I am using an off cut but fat quarters work well too
  • Bias Maker Tool
  • Roller Cutter, Ruler & Cutting Mat.  You can use scissors but it will be a little more time consuming to get the pieces even.
  • Iron
  • Thread
  • Regular Sewing machine.

Step 1 – Cut Your Strips

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I find it easier to use a square piece of fabric so have cut my piece into a square.  Then I folded it into a triangle, taking care to make sure it was folded accurately.  The ruler shows the grainline of the fabric.

Bias Diagram

The black grid shows the direction of the woven fabric (grainline & weft). The bias is the red line and is cut at a 45° angle.

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By folding your square in half into a triangle you have a crease marking the bias line!

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Cut down the fold line to make it into two triangles.  Work out how wide you want your bias to be.  I am doing 1” (2.5cm) and cut your strips on a 45° angle from the grain line.  You will need to check what size your bias makers are!  I am going to make my strips 2” wide, this will make a 1” single fold bias or a 1/2” double fold bias.

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Cut your strips parallel to the cut you made on the crease earlier.  Measure the first one carefully and cut it.

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Do a quick test to make sure it is the right size for your bias maker!

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You can then use your strip as a pattern piece for all the rest.  Saves you measuring it out every time.  If you have a special fabric ruler (on my wish list!) then you can just use the measurement guides on that!

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Cut as many strips as you can fit.  You can see I have left the top triangle out as it is getting pretty narrow and would mean a lot of joins in a small area.  Carry on with the other half of your fabric until it is all cut.

Step 2 – Joining your strips

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Pin your strips with the right sides facing, overlap the points as shown in the photo.  Check out the next photo to see where you sew!

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Sew from where that two layers meet in the corner to the same place on the other side.

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Check that when folded out it looks like this!

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Press the fold open from the wrong side of the fabric.  If you fold them both over in one direction it will create a small piece that is 3 layers thick which won’t sit as nicely.  By folding it open it will only ever by 2 layers thick in one place.  Once the bias is folded the angle of the join will stop the seam folding up on top of itself, and also retains the ‘give’ the bias has.  This give is what allows it to go around corners.

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Trim off the pointy edges and you are done!  Now to join all the other pieces.  I find it much quicker to sew all the joins then press.

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There you have a long flat pieces of soon to be bias binding!

Step 3 – Bias Maker Tool

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Time to use the bias maker tool.  Feed the corner into the widest end of your bias maker, and pull through.  If you are having trouble there is a hole on the top that you can use a pin in to help pull it through.

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Here you have it pulled through a bit.

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Head over to your iron and press the iron down onto the little end you pulled through.  Then slowly slide the bias maker down the length of your fabric strip, following it with your iron.  To keep it even make sure you stay the same distance from the bias maker tool with the iron.

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Keep going until the bias maker comes off the end of the strip.  The joins in your strip shouldn’t effect the way it folds, but can sometimes need a little extra pressing to make them sit flat.

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And there you have it single fold bias!

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It always amazes me how much you get out of such a small square of fabric!

Step 4 – Double Fold Bias

To turn your single fold into double fold bias binding you need exactly that…another fold!

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So back to the iron we go.  Fold your bias in half so that the raw edges are hidden inside.  Press and carry on till it is all folded.

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And now we have piles of double fold bias!

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And a close up just in case!

Step 5 – Storing Your Bias

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I like to keep the pieces of cardboard from store bought bias and re-use those.  You could use any card you like (cut up a cereal box etc) to fit where ever you store your bias.

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I also like to trim the pointed ends straight before winding it onto the card.  You can always do this before you use it but I like it to be ready when I want it later!

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Just wrap it around and around your card.  This will keep the folds in place so it will store well and be ready for use when you need it.

Get ready for a  whole new world of decorative bias!

Struggling with the Bias Binding?

There is nothing quite as frustrating as attaching your bias binding to turn it over and see it hasn’t been caught on both sides!  Out comes the quick unpick and after the joy of unpicking you get to try to sew it again.  This is a risk more on the corners and even though I pin them extra it still happens sometimes.  I have a cute solution!

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Here are the different methods I have used previously on the blog to attached bias binding!

First Method

Place the binding on and sew both layers at once.  This is OK for small straight pieces of bias binding, like on my Expandable Pockets.  If you are putting bias around corners I’d recommend using the second or third method, or a combo of the first and second!

20150725_130646 Second Method

Unfold the bias and pin open onto the right side of the fabric, sew down the first fold.  Then fold over the edge and pin.  Sew right next to the bias to catch the back layer.  Get more details on my Bandana-ish Bib Tutorial there is also a great video link there!

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Third Method

Here is another cute way to attach it without the risk of missing it on one side!  Above you can see the two ways I already attached bias binding, and for this method you start off the same way as the second method.  See the instructions in Bandana-ish Bib Tutorial.

Instead of stitching right next to the binding zigzag over it!  I chose a fluoro green (which I bought to make a ‘Fluoro Dance Party themed costume, here are the supplies on Instagram!) as a nice contrast and to make a feature of it.  The photos are not doing the colour justice it is very Flouro!  I love it!

Bandana-ish Bib Zigzag

I think it gives a great effect on this Bandana-ish Baby Bib, a nice feature and way to add a bit colour.  Of course you can always use a matching colour if you don’t want it to stand out, but why???

Let me know if you have any other ingenious methods of attaching bias binding!

Joining Elastic 3 Ways - Beginners Tutorial

Joining Elastic Three Different Ways Beginners Tutorial

Hello again as promised in the Contrast Baby Pants Tutorial here is a tutorial on joining elastic 3 different ways.

Joining Elastic 3 Ways - Beginners Tutorial

There are so many ways to join elastic.  These are the three I use most often.  I have used white elastic with blue thread so you can clearly see what I have done.  Obviously a matching thread would give a much neater looking finish!

1. Overlapping Elastic Join

Joining Elastic 3 Ways - Beginners Tutorial

With this method you overlap the ends of the elastic by  a couple of centimeters (almost an inch) and zigzag up and down a few times over the double layer to secure it.  I like to do this twice to be sure it’s caught well.

Pros: Very easy to do, nice and secure, easy to adjust the size later and even has a little room to let it out if need be.

Cons: The doubled up area is a little bulky, not the neatest finish if your elastic band is visible.

2. Exposed Elastic Join

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This method works great for creating a tidy looking join if the elastic will be visible in your garment.  As it is in circle skirts or some boxer shorts.

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Stack the two ends on top of each other lining up the cut edges and sides carefully.  Sew a straight line across, I have used a 1/2″ seam allowance (use the guides on your machine – See this Learn to Sew Tutorial).  Remember to reverse over a couple of stitches at the start and end to prevent it coming undone.

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It should look like my example above.  Go ahead and trim off any excess thread.

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Fold the seam open as shown above.

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Sew down the folded sides about 1/4″ from the middle. Don’t forget to do a little reverse or use your lock stitch at the beginning and the end.

You can trim off any extra overlap to reduce the bulk a little if you like.

Pros: The finish is very tidy on one side great for when the elastic is exposed.

Cons: A little more time consuming, and still a double layer but it doesn’t feel as bulky as the overlapping option.

3. Flat Joined Elastic

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To start the flat join just butt the two ends of elastic together (double check that they are cut straight!) and place them together under you presser foot.

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Making sure the cut is in the center.  I like to use the biggest zigzag stitch I have to ensure that both sides are caught.  I go over this two or three times to be sure all edges are caught securely.  This method is a really good option for items where the elastic will be sewn to the fabric also, like leggings waistbands.

Pros: Very flat join, quick and easy.

Cons: Doesn’t feel as secure.

Happy Elastic Joining!

Updated – 22.09.2016