Monday, April 14, 2014

Tutorial | Everyday Apron | by Heidi Staples | Featuring Everyday Party

Today, we are ecstatic to welcome back Heidi of The Fabric Mutt.  She is sharing an adorable Everyday Party Apron tutorial with us, to celebrate the upcoming collection by Emily Isabella.  Everyday can be a celebration, and you'll need the right tools to prep the celebration cake of course.  An apron is just the key, and this one is adorable to boot.  Heidi will take the reins from here.


Everyday Party by Emily Isabella for Birch Fabrics is so completely charming. Strawberries, teapots, animals enjoying a friendly picnic -- it couldn't be more perfect for your next kitchen project!  To get you started, I have a simple, vintage inspired apron tutorial for you today.


Looking for a quick housewarming or bridal shower gift? Whip up one of these aprons along with a matching potholder. For bonus points, wrap them up in a baking twine bow along with a piece of vintage Pyrex. You'll be the hit of the party!

Materials:
(1) 12 x 22" for bodice (white fabric)
(1) 23 x 32" for skirt (green fabric)
(3) 6" x width of fabric for neck strap and sash (blue fabric)
(3) buttons for sash decoration
coordinating thread


1. Fold the bodice fabric in half (side to side) with the wrong sides together. Follow the directions in the photo above to make a diagonal cut on the side edges opposite the fold.


2. Fold the diagonal sides of the bodice under 1/4" so that the wrong sides of the fabric are touching. Fold under 1/4" one more time and sew 1/8" from the fold.


3. Use one of the three blue strips of fabric. Fold in half lengthwise and press. Unfold and then fold each of the long sides in to meet at the center, pressing again. Refold on the original fold line with the two long sides tucked in the middle. Sew 1/8" from each side.


Cut a piece of the strap long enough to fit around your neck. It should fit comfortably over your head without being too long. Mine was about 27" in length. Definitely test yours out before making the final cut!


4. Fold the top edge of the bodice under 1/4" twice just as you did with the sides of the bodice in step 2. Stick the short ends of your neck strap under the fold and sew across the strap about 1/8" from the fold. You don't have to sew all the way across the top yet -- just over those strap ends.


5. Fold the straps up toward the top of the bodice and now sew 1/8" from the fold all the way across the top of the bodice, backstitching at both ends.


6. Adjust your machine to its longest straight stitch at the highest tension setting. Sew two lines across the top long side of the skirt fabric. The first line should be 1/4" from the top of the fabric, and the second line should be 1/4" below that. Leave some thread at either end of the seam for pulling. Tug on those end strings carefully to gather the skirt along the top edge, adjusting it until the gathers are evenly spaced out and the top of the skirt is as long as the bottom edge of the apron bodice.


7. Pin or clip the bottom of the bodice and the top of the skirt together. Readjust your sewing machine to normal stitch length and thread tension. Sew a line 3/4" from the edge of the bodice and skirt. Press the seam toward the bodice and clip the corner edges of the bottom of the apron bodice so they don't stick out past the sides of the apron. Fold the sides of the skirt under 1/4" twice just as you did in steps 2 and 4, and sew 1/8" from the fold. Repeat with the bottom of the skirt hem.


8. Sew the two remaining blue strips together at the short ends to make one long 6" wide strip. Fold the short ends of the long strip under 1/4" so the wrong sides of the fabric are touching, then fold and press as you did with the neck strap in step 3. This time instead of just sewing 1/8" from each of the long sides of the strap, sew one long rectangle inside the sash by sewing 1/8" from the short folded ends too.


9. Center the blue sash on the bodice of the apron just above the skirt. Pin it in place and sew a rectangle 1/8" inside the long rectangle where the sash covers the bodice. You'll be sewing right over the existing stitching on the long sides of the sash and then sewing 1/8" from the edges of the apron on the right and left sides. Take three coordinating buttons, centering one in the middle of the sash and placing the other two on either side of the middle one. Mine are about 1 1/8" apart, but adjust yours to fit the size of your buttons. Sew them in place by hand, and you're all finished!


If you have any questions, feel free to contact me at hjstaples@gmail.com, visit me on Instagram @fabricmutt, or drop by my blog Fabric Mutt for a visit. Happy sewing!

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Thank you Heidi for helping us celebrate the Everyday Party Collection with this adorable apron tutorial!  We'll be making one of these for our very own baking adventures!  


Monday, March 24, 2014

Tutorial | Padded Laptop Sleeve | by The Crafty Kitty

Today we are majorly excited to share a tutorial with you that's easy, quick, and an everyday essential.   This padded laptop sleeve is made up in our Birch Flight Canvas and brought to you by Stephanie of the Crafty Kitty, let's welcome Stephanie back to the Birch blog! :)


I'm no stranger to the organic canvas range from Birch Fabrics. I previously made this play tent (pattern from growing up sew liberated) using Honeycomb Sun from the Grove Decor collection and you might also remember the upside downside kid's apron pattern, featuring the Charley Harper Organic Canvas!

  The Crafty Kitty | Padded Organic Canvas Laptop Sleeve Tutorial

I got a sparkly new laptop just before Christmas and I have been a little precious about it! This padded organic canvas laptop sleeve tutorial, uses the latest canvas collection, part of the flight range from Birch Fabrics, and provides stylish protection for your laptop. It is a cinch to put together, but you can fancy it up with little extras, like contrast stitching and buttons for a splash of colour (as shown) or a pocket or elasticated strap for keeping your cables tidy (not shown)!

The Crafty Kitty | Padded Organic Canvas Laptop Sleeve Tutorial
I'm sorry, is my binary code showing?



Supplies
  • 1/2 yard of Canvas Flight River Rock
  • 1/2 yard of Organic Cotton/Organic Linen Poplin (or more of the Canvas Flight River Rock)
  • 2 buttons
  • Batting/Wadding (I used dream green recycled wadding)
  • Organic Cotton Sewing Thread
The Crafty Kitty | Padded Organic Canvas Laptop Sleeve Tutorial

Step 1.  Measure all the way around your laptop (or tablet/kindle etc.) both horizontally and vertically. Add 1" to both of these measurements and then divide by 2 to give you the dimensions you need to cut.

The Crafty Kitty | Padded Organic Canvas Laptop Sleeve Tutorial

Step 2.  Cut 2 rectangles from your canvas, 2 rectangles from your poplin (or 2 more from the canvas), and 2 from your batting/wadding. Cut 2, 3" squares from the poplin and 2, 2"x 4" rectangles from the poplin.

Step 3.  Cut the 3" rectangles in half diagonally so you have 4 triangles. Iron under 1/4" seam allowance along the hypotenuse.

  The Crafty Kitty | Padded Organic Canvas Laptop Sleeve Tutorial

Step 4.  Pin to the bottom corners of the Canvas rectangles. Top stitch close to the edge of the diagonal and then 1/2" away from the other 2 edges.

  The Crafty Kitty | Padded Organic Canvas Laptop Sleeve Tutorial

Step 5.  Place the two large rectangles of canvas right sides together, matching up the edges of the triangles and sew along the two sides and bottom edge with a 1/4" seam allowance. Turn right side out.

The Crafty Kitty | Padded Organic Canvas Laptop Sleeve Tutorial

Step 6.  Place the two large rectangles of poplin right sides together. Trim 1/4" off the top of each rectangle of wadding, line them up with the bottom of the poplin (one either side) and then sew along the two sides and bottom edge with a 1/4" seam allowance.

  The Crafty Kitty | Padded Organic Canvas Laptop Sleeve Tutorial

Step 7.  Place the poplin pouch (still inside out) inside of the canvas pouch (now with right sides out). Fold the seam allowance on the poplin pouch over the wadding and the seam allowance for the canvas pouch inwards, press and top stitch close to the edge.

  The Crafty Kitty | Padded Organic Canvas Laptop Sleeve Tutorial

Step 8.  Press in 1/4" seam allowance on all sides of the small rectangles of poplin. Pair them up with wrong sides facing and top stitch all the way around the edge.

  The Crafty Kitty | Padded Organic Canvas Laptop Sleeve Tutorial

Step 9.  Mark the button hole on one end of each of the straps and sew using button hole stitch. [If you don't want to tackle button holes, you can always substitute two pieces of thin ribbon for each strap, sew them into the top seam on the sleeve and tie it on to the buttons instead]

The Crafty Kitty | Padded Organic Canvas Laptop Sleeve Tutorial

Step 10.  Line the straps up on the back of the laptop sleeve, 3 inches from each side and 1 inch from the top edge. Pin in place and sew a square to secure to the sleeve.

  The Crafty Kitty | Padded Organic Canvas Laptop Sleeve Tutorial

Step 11.  Making sure you put the laptop in the sleeve, pull the straps over to the front of the sleeve and mark where to sew the buttons. Remove laptop and sew the buttons on, with either your sewing machine or by hand!

  The Crafty Kitty | Padded Organic Canvas Laptop Sleeve Tutorial

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Thank you Stephanie for showing us how to make our very own padded laptop sleeve!  Shops please feel free to contact us to order Flight Canvas for your shop.


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Frolic | An "Up" Inspired Photoshoot!

Hi Everyone!  Today is a good day.  I finally get to share these adorable photos taken by the ever-talented, Christina McKinney.  Christina sewed up these adorable little outfits for her very adorable little ones.  Here at the Birch office, we want to group hug these little cuties, fold 'em up and put them in our pocket because they're just too cute to handle!

Our new collection, Frolic, by Rebekah Ginda is featured in these adorable outfits, sewed up by Christina using a couple different Oliver + S sewing patterns.

Don't fly away little ones!


Isn't she just way too precious?


And baby Colin must be getting used to this photoshoot thing, because look at that face!  He's totally working it!  What a handsome boy.


Now there's a grin we just can't resist!


Awww!  Our hearts just melted!


And a little reward for being such great little models!




Frolic will soon be shipping to a shop near you.  Visit our website for contact information, should you have any questions.  Cheers!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Tutorial | Improvisational Pleating: 3 Ways | with Flight Voile | by StraightGrain

Today we are getting a fantastic sewing lesson from An of StraightGrain blog.  An is an incredible seamstress based all the way over in Belgium!  You'll have to try out these three techniques for manipulating our buttery organic voile.  The pleats create an interesting yet soft detail that will really make you look like a professional seamstress!  You'll have to try these out!  Take it away An!


Pleats can give a garment that little bit of extra, without being overly in-your-face. The downside is, of course, that pleating tends to involve a lot of measuring and marking. Or does it? This tutorial explains three ideas for what I would like to call improvisational pleating: Adding pleats to a fabric without measuring first. I used a basic bodice dress pattern in all three examples, but you could just as well add them to a bag, a pillow cover, and many more things. All three dresses are made from Birch's beautiful new collection, Flight Voile. Voile is the perfect material for pleating: because it is so thin, pleats do not make it too bulky.

  A. Origami path



In this first technique, a strip of fabric is cut from the bodice, and replaced with a pleated strip. I used the Hanami pattern, but you can apply this technique to any other pattern too, of course. 1. Decide on the width of the finished placket. Divide by two and subtract 1/2" (or 1 cm) seam allowance. Example, using a 2.5" placket: (2.5" / 2) - 0.5 = 0.75" Example, using a 7 cm placket: (7 cm / 2) - 1 = 2,5 cm Transfer this distance to your front bodice pattern as shown in the picture below. Do not cut it off, but just fold it over - this way, you can use your original pattern again later on.


2. This is your new front bodice pattern. Cut this twice, but not on the fold of the fabric.


3. Remember the width of the finished placket you decided on in step 1? Add 1" (or 2 cm) to this number. Example, using a 2.5" placket: (2.5" + 1") = 3.5" Example, using a 7 cm placket: (7 cm + 2 cm) = 9 cm Cut a strip of fabric of this width; the length should be at least twice the length of the bodice. If you have plenty of fabric, cut your strip even longer; that way, you can later select that section of the strip which has the prettiest pleating.


4. Press irregular pleats in the strip. Secure them with a stitch line on both sides.


5. Stitch the pleated strip between the front pieces, with right sides together.


6. Finally, put you original bodice pattern on your newly made front piece, and cut of any excess fabric you may have. You can now finish the bodice as you normally would.


Three tips: - Make sure not to put the pleats upside down. If they face upwards, they will start gathering dust and dirt. - Instead of making irregular pleats, you can also make regular ones, or gather the strip instead of pleating it. - Why not add some piping to the mix? You could include it between the pleated strip and the side pieces of the front bodice.

  B. Crooked bamboo



The second technique works with pintucks (small pleats). It involves less work than the first technique, and it will take just a few extra minutes to complete your garment. The pattern used here is the Tinny dress pattern, with circle skirt. 1. Start with a piece of fabric which is a bit wider than your bodice pattern. One pintuck eats up less than 1/2" (1 cm ) of fabric, so the picture below obviously shows much more extra fabric than is actually needed. As far as length is concerned, the piece of fabric does not need to be longer than the bodice pattern, but if you have more fabric than you need, take a longer piece. That way, you can later select that section of piece which has the prettiest composition of pintucks.


2. Starting in the middle of this piece, stitch vertical pintucks into this fabric by folding the fabric with wrong sides together, and stitching at about 1/8" (3 mm) from the fold. You can create curves in the pintucks by slightly changing the direction of the folds as you are stitching.


3. Iron your piece, fold it in half so the pintucks are right in the middle, and cut out your bodice front piece.


4. Finish the dress as you normally would.


Three tips: - Practicing the pintucks on a leftover piece first helps you create exactly those shapes you would like. - This idea can work vertically as well - you will need a piece of fabric which is longer instead of wider than you bodice pattern. - Try using contrasting instead of matching thread to stitch the pintucks.

  C. Faux-seams



Why would pleats always need to be on the outside of a garment? In this final technique, pintucks are stitched on the wrong side of the fabric, creating a fun pattern of fake seams on the right side. For this last technique, I used a bubble dress pattern with short bodice. 1. Start with a piece of fabric which is a bit longer than your bodice pattern. One pintuck eats up less than 1/2" (1 cm ) of fabric, so the picture below shows much more extra fabric than is strictly needed. Also allow for a bit of extra width, as diagonal pintucks can also make the fabric a bit more narrow. That being said; these are the minimum requirements. If you have more fabric than you need, take a longer and/or piece. That way, you can later select that section of the piece which has the prettiest composition of fake seams.

2. Stitch a pattern of vertical pintucks into this fabric by folding the fabric with right sides together, and stitching at about 1/8" (3 mm) from the fold.

3. Iron your piece, pin the bodice front pattern on the front, and cut.


4. Finish the dress as you normally would.


Three tips: - Practicing on a fabric left-over first may be helpful. Play around with different tensions to get the prettiest result. - If you make the pintucks cross each other, the faux seams in the front will make a little 'jump', which gives a very nice visual effect (see pictures). The wider the pintucks, the bigger the 'jumps'. - Are you using very sheer fabrics? Keep in mind that you might see the pintucks through the fabric - you might want to keep them rather narrow in that case.


These are just three out of a million possible things you can do with pleats. Go on and let your creativity run wild! As long as you pleat first, and then cut your pattern pieces, not much can go wrong.

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Thanks for sharing with us An!  We are so incredibly thrilled to try these out ourselves!  Check out StraightGrain blog for lots more sewing inspiration!