Monthly Archives: April 2014

Knit Bess Top by Imagine Gnats

I was so excited when Rachael of Imagine Gnats e-mailed us this pattern as a “thank you” for Craft Book Month back in September. It looked really cute and flattering on any size, and it comes in sizes 2-20! And this week, Rachael is hosting Selfish Sewing Week so it’s a great time to make something for yourself!

I decided that my knit tops are the ones I wear the most, so even though this pattern isn’t technically meant for knits I went for it and I’m so glad I did! Here’s the final product and I’m so happy with how it turned out. Now I’ve got a flattering, comfortable, and stretchy shirt.

Because I was using a stretch fabric, I went down a size from what the size chart recommended. If you’re not sure on size, line up a favorite knit shirt on the pattern and mentally add a 1/2″ seam allowance to determine size.  If I were making a non-knit shirt I would have gone with the size recommended. The pattern was awesome and the way the sleeves are incorporated is genius, the pattern is just two pieces! There’s a front piece and back piece that has the sleeves incorporated that wrap around to the front. I made mine a colorblock version so it was 3 pieces, plus some strips of knit to finish off the neck, arms, and hem. The instructions and accompanying photos were easy to follow and this was a relatively fast project to sew.

 

As for sewing with knits, there’s definitely some things you can do to make it easier when using  a sewing machine rather than a serger. First of all, make sure to pre-wash your fabric! When sewing, I used a ballpoint needle and my Janome even feed foot to ensure that the top and bottom fabrics didn’t get stretched at different rates.You can check out this YouTube video to see the even feed foot in action (video is by Ken’s Sewing Center). When feeding in the knit fabric, I let it have just a little slack so the machine was pulling the fabric through all on it’s own without me pushing or pulling at all.

I also set my machine to use a special stretch stitch (button #6). The icon looks like a lightening bolt on my Janome QDC4120. For each seam, I started and ended with a regular straight stitch so I could reverse and lock the stitch in place. Then I switched to the stretch stitch for the length of the seam. I wanted this shirt to be durable so I did each seam at least twice (first the recommended 1/2″ seam allowance, then again at 3/8″) and then topstitched most seams. If you don’t have the lightening bolt stitch, a narrow zigzag will give you similar results.

The only thing I did that wasn’t in the pattern was to topstitch the neckline a second time closer to the neck opening after doing the intial 1/2″ seam. It helped the neck look smoother with the knit fabric, but I think it would have been fine with a single seam on a non-knit version. The method for finishing the shirt was new to me (basically sew a strip of knit fabric to the outside of the shirt with a 1/2″ seam allowance, then fold it to the inside and topstitch down) and turned out great.

And as for the fabric, I used this reversible knit from JoAnn’s in black (what I used in this post) and stocked up on orange (also shown below). One side is a tiny stripe and the other side is solid with a very subtle (almost nonexistent) sparkle effect. It looks a lot different on the JoAnn’s website so I can’t guarantee it’s a match but the item numbers match up to what’s on my receipt. After this top turned out so well I’m excited to make a few more!

If you have a serger (hopefully I’ll get one someday), this knit shirt could be made in no time! But even without the serger, it was a fast sew with the right techniques and I’d definitely recommend this pattern in a knit fabric, or woven fabric as recommended in the pattern. Happy sewing!

 

 

Frosted Easter Cookies: A Craftsy Class Review

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I’ve always been so impressed by the frosted cookies I’ve seen online, but I never thought I’d be able to make them! So when I had the opportunity to take the Craftsy class, Decorating Essentials: Designer Cookies with Autumn Carpenter, I jumped at the chance. With this class there are 9 online sessions. They cover the dough, royal icing, run-sugar, fondant, painting & flocking, designs and displays. The class teacher, Autumn Carpenter, also gives some cookie templates and shows you how to decorate those specific shapes. 

class-title

Autumn does a great job explaining each topic thoroughly. By the time I had watched all the videos I was ready to try my hand at some cookies! I was a little apprehensive but it turns out I had no reason to be. I made these cookies with my mom and we were both surprised and excited as each step turned out perfectly. Autumn supplies all of her recipes and they worked great. First we made our cookies in the shapes of bunnies and carrots.

plain-cookies

Next we followed Autumn’s techniques to outline our shapes then fill them with color.

filling-carrots

We ended up with a great set of bunnies…

bunnies

… and carrots!

carrots

After the cookies dried we packaged them up into Easter gift bags with jelly beans and one of each cookie. For both my mom and I, these were our first cookies using this techniques and we couldn’t be more pleased! The class taught me everything I needed to know for great results.

bunny-bags

If you’ve never taken a Craftsy class, now’s a great time to try! It’s free to sign up and they even have some free classes. You can find cooking, baking, sewing and quilting classes and more on their site. The website is easy to navigate and new classes are being added all the time. Besides classes, you can also find supplies and there’s even an Easter sale going on right now!

Craftsy

 

I was provided with this class for free in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own. The links to Craftsy and the Designer Cookies class are our affiliate links. 

Four Robbins Designs Quilt Patterns + Giveaway!

Krista Robbins Did you catch the Four Robbins Designs blog hop and giveaway last month? (It was to announce a new quilt pattern, “Star Crossed.”) I first met Krista Robbins right here through the Craft Buds blog, and it’s been fun to see her move toward her creative business goals of releasing a line of quilt patterns!

Krista and her husband have two sons, Andrew and Sam (14 and 12). She used to be a bookkeeper but now she works from home, as well as homeschooling her boys. I had a chance to ask Krista some questions about getting her craft patterns business off the ground. Here’s what she had to say:

 

How did you start quilting? 

I was inspired by traditional quilts at Houston Museum of Fine Arts about 10 years ago. I’m self-taught through trial and error, reading books and magazines, blogs, etc. I joined bees, BOM’s and the St. Louis Modern Quilt guild as well as starting my own BOM in 2013 on my blog sewwhatscooking.com, and I learned even more.

Japanese-BOM

What led you to your goal of turning your crafty hobby into a business?

As far as going from hobby to business, I submitted a quilt design to Quilty last year on a whim and it was accepted and published in the Nov/Dec 2013 issue.  I had another, “Twists and Turns,” published in Quilty Jan/Feb 2014.  I have four more quilts being published this year as well.

I tell my boys to follow their dreams and try to do what they love for their career since I didn’t.  I’m trying to follow my own advice because I love fabric and sewing and quilting.  I love to come up with my own patterns and to share them.  And I love to teach people to quilt.  I decided to come out with my own patterns and hope to venture into fabric design as well  So I started Four Robbins Designs and am following my dreams.

Twists-&-Turns

How did you go about designing your first quilt pattern?

I like history and traditional blocks and the stories behind the quilts and find a lot of inspiration there. I draw up blocks in an illustration program and then play with it until I get a design I like.  Then I import upcoming fabrics to create my designs.

To write my patterns I use a desktop publishing program. I do all the math myself. (I love math.)

Star-Crossed

Giveaway!

Would you like to win a PDF pattern of Krista’s “Star Crossed” quilt pattern? To enter the giveaway, just leave a comment on this post with your favorite quilt block. We’ll choose a random winner one week from the date of this post. Good luck!

Congrats to commenter #11, Tyler F.!

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