Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Our little heroes are all ready for the night!



I hope everyone has a safe Halloween, especially our friends in the north east. We are thinking of you all!


Monday, October 29, 2012

3 Tips for a Hand Stiched (and Frugal) Halloween

Late post today, but it's worth it! I'm finally getting some traction on Halloween costume sewing-- Ishaan and Amaani are going to be Batman and Batgirl. (Robin was vetoed by my husband, and I thought Cat Woman was a bit too grown up).

I found cute Halloween 'jammies for Ishaan that would work, but no such luck for Amaani. I ended up cutting out a felt Batgirl symbol. Gluing the applique on would work for Halloween, but then would ruin the shirt for later use. And being the frugal seamstress that I am, I'd like to use shirt after Halloween.


I ended up using the Magic Stitch tutorial to put the Batgirl sign on the shirt, and I'll also use the same stitch to tack their superhero capes to their shirts. On Thursday I'll use a seam ripper and pull the batgirl out-- and be able to use the shirt for the rest of the winter. I did the same thing last year, and my son still wears the jacket and pants from his costume.



It makes for a very frugal (and comfortable) costume! The two costumes together cost under 10 dollars.  

The shirt and pants will be used again, so I didn't count them. Cutting out the applique and stitching it down took me about 20 minutes. Plus, I didn't burn my fingers!

Even if you don't sew or even own a machine, you can put the glue gun down, and make the money you spend on your child's costume stretch through the whole season.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Rufflicious Wrap Up!

I'm knee deep in Halloween sewing, I mean assembly, so this wrap up is going to be a brief one! I did want to recap what we did this week, and take a look at a few other ruffling methods (there are so many out there!)

Here are links to all the tutorials for this week:
Rufflicious Week Wrap Up at Make It Handmade


Rufflicious Week Wrap Up at Make It Handmade

In addition to what we covered this week, there are so many other ways to ruffle-- especially if you are willing to purchase a new foot or own a serger. The big benefit with these attachements is that they amke it possible to ruffle and stitch fabric to unruffled peice at the same time. Here are a few links to that talk about special feet:

  • Using a ruffler foot: This is a detailed tutorial by daniKate Designs which I love because it takes you through making a test strip as well as installing the foot and making cute little tiered dresses! I had a chance to use a ruffler foot briefly, and it is a neat little device. You can use it for making tight ruffles or pleats, and as an engineer I just loved watching it work.
  • How to use a gathering foot: This is a youtube video, but it's the best tutorial I've found on how a gathering foot works. A gathering foot is less expensive than a ruffling foot. 
Rufflicious Week Wrap Up at Make It Handmade


And if you do happen to have a serger, you can use that to ruffle too!

And we are done! I have a feeling that I might be alone in getting so geeked out about all these different ways to accomplish basically the same thing! I'm hoping that even if you've been a bit bored this week that these tutorials will be helpful to you going forward. It's a great feeling to be able to choose the perfect method for you, and turn a tedious task into a fun efficient one!
Rufflicious Week Wrap Up at Make It Handmade
Have a wonderful weekend, and I hope to see you next week! 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Rufflicious Day 4: The Scrunch Method

 I can't believe we are on the very ruffling tutorial already! We made it! Today we are going to learn to do the Scrunch 'n' Sew (or Scrunch for short).

To be honest, the Scrunch Method is the one that I use the least out all the ones we've covered. That being said, it a great tool to have in your back pocket when working with tulle, chiffon or other sheer fabrics. Learn more after the break!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Rufflicious Day 3: The Couching Method

 Today we are talking about my favorite ruffling method! The Couching Method. The word couching (from what google tells me) simply means sewing over thread. If you haven't tried the couching method before, you'll love this tutorial!
I'm embarrassingly excited about this-- I wrote all the pros out before writing the rest of the tutorial. Click on through to learn how and when to use this method.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Rufflicious Day 2: Tension Method

Hi there! It feels strange to be posting on a Tuesday! Today we are talking about the tension method of ruffling.  This is a quicker way to ruffle than the Old Fashioned Method we covered yesterday. Click on through to learn how and when to use this method.
The Tension Method. Learn to Ruffle During Make It Handmade's Rufflicious week!


Monday, October 22, 2012

Rufflicious Day 1: The Old Fashioned Ruffle

This is the first post in our Rufflicous series! Everyone knows there's more than one way to skin a cat-- and sewing is no different. Each day this week I'll cover one ruffling method, when to use it and when not to use it, and when to avoid it like the plague.

To keep things simple we'll only discuss methods that use a sewing machine and thread-- no sergers, special feet or hand sewing required..
Learn To Ruffle The Old Fashioned Way with Make It Handmade's Rufflicious Week.

Today we are going to look at the Traditional or Old Fashioned Ruffling Method.
Learn To Ruffle The Old Fashioned Way with Make It Handmade's Rufflicious Week.


Friday, October 19, 2012

5 Lined Drawstring Bag Tutorials (To Use With The Tot Bag!)

I have to admit, I've been having a bit of regret about not making lining the kids trick or treat bags. The truth is that you can make any drawstring bag a TOT bag. I've rounded up 5 lined drawstring bag tutorials from the web that you cans use to make your own bag.




Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Turn a Drawstring Waist Into An Elastic Waist

Navratri officially started yesterday! Although Navratri is traditionally celebrated by 9 consecutive nights of dancing and fun, in our corner of the world, this translates to a month of celebrating mostly on the weekends.

Turn a Drawstring Waist Into An Elastic Waist Tutorial by  Make it Handmade


Some of my fondest memories of Navratri are getting dressed up with my mom and sister. And this year, for the first time, I'll be getting dressed up with my daughter too! (These pictures were taken at Rakhi this year).
Turn a Drawstring Waist Into An Elastic Waist Tutorial by  Make it Handmade
Indian dresses typically come with drawstring skirts. Either in the form of a petticoat for a sari, or  more typically for little girls, a skirt for a chaniya choli. Oh how I hated the drawstring waist as a child! They would itch and hurt, but we put up with it because of my mom's cautionary tales about skirts spontaneously falling off and sari's coming undone halfway through the night.

Don't let this happen to you! I was able to convert the drawstring waist on this outfit for my daughter to an elastic one! Click on through to learn how.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Rufflicious Week!

Another mini series! When I started Make It Handmade, apart from the serger series, this is the other set of tutorials that I was looking forward to sharing.

Ruffles are everywhere! You'll see them in clothing, bags and home dec sewing. You can use them to glam up store bought projects or convert "big brother hand me downs" into "little sister chic". They give any project depth and texture.

They can also give any seamstress a giant headache. If you've ever been frustrated with uneven gathers or broken bobbin threads, here is the secret:

There's isn't a single, perfect method for ruffling that's going to work for every project, machine and seamstress. There are many, many methods for ruffling, and choosing the right one for your project is the key to making them hassle free. That's what Rufflicious week is all about!

Next week (October 22-26) we are going to run through a different ways of ruffing, and talk about which method works best for which types of projects. None of the methods will require special feet, hand sewing or even a serger! Just a regular home sewing machine, thread, and some patience.

At the end of the series you'll know exactly which method to choose for your next project.

Update: Our Series Is done! This tutorial was part our Rufflicious Series. For more ruffling tutorials see the following posts:

  • The Old Fashioned Method
  • The Tension Method
  • The Couching Method
  • The Scrunch Method
  • Rufflicious Wrap Up


  •  Subscribe (using RSS) or Sign up for Emails to make sure you don't miss a single Rufflicious Week post!

    Friday, October 12, 2012

    The Easy Peasy Pleated Purse

    A month or so ago our local sewing group decided to have a 'pleat technique meetup' where we'd all get together and show off something pleated.
    I decided to rip off this cute little purse that my mom got me from India last year. The bag is so colorful, so gorgeous and so ... not me.  Which is why I love it!
     The pleats under the 'waistband' means that I can stuff a bunch of fabric I mean stuff in the bag without the bag looking too large.

    But the bag is looking a bit frayed, so I decided to make myself a new one in grey (much more my everyday, boring style!)

    Wednesday, October 10, 2012

    The TOT Bag: A Closable Hands Free Toddler Trick or Treat Bag

    Even though I don't have a plan for Halloween costumes, I have been thinking about Trick or Treat logistics. For example, both my kids are in a big 'Me do it myself!' stage, so I wanted to find a way to make a Trick or Treat bag that would stay open so my kids can collect candy without assistance.

    I love this one from  No Big Dill, but I also wanted to be able to close the bags at the end of the night. Most likely I'll end up schlepping these bags around the neighborhood, and I need my hands free for hand holding, snot wiping, toddler carrying, etc...

    After a lot of noodling, I came up with closable-stay-open trick or treat Bag-- designed especially for toddlers and their moms!

    The way this bag works is that there is boning sewn about midway down the drawstring bag, along with a pair of handles. When the bag is held by the inner handles it stays open, forming a candy collecting basket.
    The Closable Stay Open Toddler Trick or Treat Bag Tutorial By Make It Handmade

    To close, simply flop the top part of the bag up and cinch the drawstring-- the extra handles and casing are hidden inside along with all your candy!
    The Closable Stay Open Toddler Trick or Treat Bag Tutorial By Make It Handmade

    The best part is that unlike those plastic pumpkins, these stow away in very little space along with the rest of your Halloween decorations. These little bags can be used for for a variety of fall fun-- collecting acorns and pretty leaves on those long walks.  
    Read on to learn how to make a drawstring bag, (the lazy, Palak approved way), and then I'll show you a simple way to add the boning to make the bag stay open. (Adding the boning is really easy-- I promise!)

    Monday, October 8, 2012

    5 Extra Easy Halloween Costumes for Extra Tired Moms

    I'm a bad mommy. I just can't get excited about Halloween costumes this year. My excuses are as follows:
    • My kids just don't get that excited about Halloween yet
    • They refuse to wear an itchy or scratchy costume (or even one that looks like it could be itchy)
    • It will be cold out 
    • They'll look cute in anything
    Oh, who am I kidding... I've been phoning it in from the beginning!
    That being said, I've been searching for some costumes that are more assembly than actual sewing. Here are 5 ideas that shouldn't take more than an afternoon and a few dollars:

    Friday, October 5, 2012

    Stuffed Dandiya Part 2: Decorating!

    Now that we've gotten our dandiyas made it's time for the fun part! Decorating!
    Decorating Dandiya for Raas during Navratri-- Tutorial by Make It Handmade

    Grab your box of trim and your dandiya and meet me back at the blog for some decorating fun!

    Wednesday, October 3, 2012

    Stuffed Dandiya-- Toddler Safe!

    As I write this, it's dark, rainy and cold outside-- and I'm loving it! After months and months of blistering heat it's great to have a few overcast days.
    Stuffed Dandiya or Wands Tutorial from Make it Handmade

     This weather also means that Navratri is coming up. During Navratri, people get together and do folk dances for 9 nights in a row to celebrate the harvest season. You can learn more about the holiday here. I also have to give a shout out to the University of Texas Raas team.  Hook 'em horns! You can see videos of Raas (one of the folk dances) on their website. 



    One of the folk dances is traditionally done with sticks. These are beautifully decorated and traditionally made of wood.

    Traditional Dandiya source
    I have fond memories as a child of using a pair of dandiya that my aunt had made for me (and my siblings and cousins) from painted wood. I also have not so fond memories of smushed thumbs and fingers when my 'dance partners' were a bit too enthusiastic.

    Today I'm going to show you how to make 'stuffed dandiya'. Since my kids are so young (and maybe a little too rambunctious), I'm not about to hand them a pair of wooden dowels each and let them  go to town.

    I came up with these 'stuffed fabric dandiya as a solution. I'll go over how to construct the dandiya today, and on Friday, we'll go over tips on decorating. This method is also a great way to make stuffed wands, septors, or batons for Halloween.

    Don't sew? No problem! I'll give tips below on how to do this without picking up a needle or thread.

    Monday, October 1, 2012

    A Day Off-- Even For Mom!

    I spent yesterday morning trying to think of a clever post to introduce a few Navratri tutorials that I have coming up.

    After procrastinating and worrying and basically getting no where-- I decided to call it quits for the day. Instead, the family (my parents and sister included) popped over the our local pumpkin patch.




    Don't worry-- this post is not totally devoid of sewing related content. I finally got my son to wear that button down shirt I made for him last month.

    This is the very first collared shirt I've made and I'm oh so proud. The fabric is some cotton shirting found in the clearance section of my local Hancock Fabrics.

    My son hates button down shirts, so he's not a big fan. Once I got it on him though, he seemed comfortable enough to play and jump around.


     Here's a close up of the collar. I couldn't find a tutorial on line, so I had to *gasp* follow the pattern directions.


     And, of course, buttons courtesy of my machines automatic button hole feature!
    All in all it was a wonderful day. And I'll be back on Wednesday with our Navratri tutorial, so I didn't really miss anything.




    All you crafters out there-- do you ever feel overwhelmed by your hobbies? What would you do with a day off?

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