Cocoon Cardigan

This blogpost is all about how to make this cute Cocoon without a pattern.

For and extra small you can use one 7/8 yard length of a 60″ wide fabric. To size up from there, the width will need to be greater than 60″ so you may need to cut for fabric on the cross grain.

The green knit shown in the video clip above was 65″ wide by 31″ long. It comfortably made a medium

For a large use 67″ x 33″

For an xl use 68″ by 35″

You will also need 1/4-3/8th yards of contrast fabric for the neck band and cuffs.

Start by preparing your fabrics.

Decide which linger side will be the top of the garment. Put a gold safety pin at the center. This will be the center back neck (CBN).

Then mark 2″ away from center on either side along the raw edge. This is where you will fold the lower corners to.

Fold both corners up.

You will notice your top edge not lining up perfectly.

This is okay. Cut the wedge off that is only one layer. This will make them line up again.

Now the point you have just made will actually be the wrist opening.

Lay your hand onto the point so that the widest part just barely fits onto the fabric.

Cut across both layers of fabric .5″ above where the widest part of your hand lays.

Repeat for both sides.

Next step is to pin and sew up the shoulder seems from CBN to wrist. A 4 thread serge is the best way to do this. I used a French seam for this garment.

Once you have sewn up both shoulder seems, measure the width of the opening from where you stitch the lower point near the CBN to the point at the center bottom as shown by the yard stick in the photo below.

Add 4″ to this number for the back neck space. Prepare a band this length by 4.5 inches wide. Sew your band into a loop.

Then pin this band matching three sets of raw edges to the center opening of the main body of the garment.

Sew around using .5″ seam allowance.

Then trim your seam to minimize bulk.

Topstitch .25″ all the way around band.

Prepare your cuffs using the remaining contrast fabric.

I doubled the length of my cuffs by adding the second piece to each one. I have super long arms.

Then bread the sleeve through them so that raw edges are together and stitch them into the wrist openings

Top stitch .25″ from cuffs.

Then put on your cocoon cardigan and swan around the room. Then take a photo of yourself and post it here!

All done!


How to make One Piece Pants!

Hi everyone!   I have recently drafted and digitized a side seamless pattern for making knit pants.  You can download the free size medium at our website or purchase the graded version sizes XS-XL printed on paper for $10 plus shipping.  

This blogpost will serve as the color photo instructions for how to put this simple serger project together. 

First be sure to pre wash and dry your knit fabric so that your pants will be washable when you are all done. 

Next determine your size by measuring around your torso just above your hip bones.  This pant pattern is designed to fit at the hip.  Look at the pattern to the right of the size chart to see which size you are and to the left to see which corresponding dotted line to cut. 

These pants are very stretchy and loose fitting and super “forgiving ” so don’t worry  if the pattern isn’t a perfect match.  Better too large than too small.

Next cut out your size from the paper pattern with your paper scissors. The photo below shows the first draft of my pattern before I changed the sizes to letters.  I’d rather avoid the idea that anyone is extra large or extra small.  We are all just the size we are so I renamed them with the letters A through E.

I cut out size C

  Next lay your fabric out flat.  The fabric I chose was wide enough to cut both leg pieces out of one length of fabric.  I bought a yard and and a 3/8ths of 60″ wide fabric.  When I shrunk mine I lost an inch of width and 2 inches of length but it was still plenty.

Lay out your fabric so that it is folded in half at the center and there are no wrinkles on top or bottom 

If you have strong design motifs like the horizontal line in my fabric, be sure your designs more or less match up.

Here is a peak at the “wrong” sides of my fabric.  See how the stripe is laying on top of itself?

Next consider which way to lay your pattern onto the fabric.  I had a little extra length so I had some flexibility with pattern placement as well.

I decided to align one of the stripes with the hemline of my pants

See how the blue line on the fabric is sitting just above the solid black line that says “fold here”?

Now cut out your fabric!  

You now have two pieces which are your left and right pant legs.

Lay the inseams together of each pant leg right sides together. Be sure to match up the crotch and hem lines and all motifs.  Pin as shown.  You can use more or less pins according to your comfort level.

Now you are ready for the serger!

Always sew from up to down. Start with the crotch seam and align the raw edge of the inseam with the half inch mark on your serger.

Serge all the way to your hemline.  Then repeat for the other side.  You can serge both pieces without cutting the threads between them.  See above.

Next flip one of the legs so that the fabric is right side out.

Put that leg inside the one that is still “wrong side” out matching your inseam intersection.

Pin as shown below. Best practice is to pin the intersection of your inseams so that the seam allowance goes in opposite directions.

Now serge the crotch seam just like you did the inseams of each pant leg. 

It’s okay to go slow. 

Flip your pants right side out. And get your elastic. Fit it around your hips so it is stretched but not tight.  I cut mine 8″ shorter than the finished waist measurement for my size, so 25 inches.

Serge the raw edges right sides together.

Your elastic will be much smaller than your pants.

Start by matching the center back seams, right sides together.

Next find the halfway point for both the elastic and the pants (center front seam on the pants) and pin.

Repeat until you have at least 8 pins in evenly spaced around the waist of the pants.

Now serge.  Start with the center back.   This time don’t let the blade of the serger cut either the fabric or the elastic.

Pull the elastic so the excess fabric is taut 

Serge all the way around the waist, tying threads at the center back. Good job, give yourself a pat on the back.  It’s time to use the coverstitch machine to turn up the hem.

All done!  Try them on and share!

Infusing Fabric with Beeswax

Today I finally got to try infusing fabric with beeswax.  It’s a project I’ve seen doings the DIY rounds on social media so I jumped at the chance to join some friends to try it.

Materials requires:

Jojoba Oil, beeswax, gum rosin, quilt cotton, Cookie tins, microwave, microwaveable bowl, disposable brush, paint scraper, drying rack, parchment paper, cheese grater, oven, measuring device, optional: buttons, embroidery thread

Preheat oven to 220

This is a great scrap buster!  You need a few rectangular shaped pieces in varying sizes. I pulled some scraps from my daughters wardrobe out of my scrap bag.  I cut them into the biggest rectangles I could given the scraps that I had.  Then I pinked the edges to keep them from fraying.

We had a solid block of beeswax that needed to be grated so we could evenly melt it. Grating it took some elbow grease.  

Then we combined the shavings with the gum rosin and jojoba oil in the medium bowl to melt in the microwave. 

2 parts beeswax, 2 parts gum rosin and 1 part jojoba oil 

Once the contents of the bowl were completely liquid we brushed the mixture into the fabric on the cookie sheet 

Pop the beeswax painted fabric into the oven on the cookie sheet for 8-10 minutes or total saturation with no visible bumps.

Then use the paint scraper to scrape off excess wax before hanging to dry.  Careful it’s hot.  Teflon fingers shown below.

Once they are cool and dry you can use them to wrap up your food to preserve freshness in the place of cling wrap.    My friend used batik cotton and made punches using buttons and twine shown below.

It’s washable with cool water and mild soap and reusesble.  The warmth of your hands molds them around your Tupperware for a nice seal.  
It took a few hours but we had fun chatting and trouble shooting and it was a little bit messy but overall really fun. I’m pleased with the results, matching Tula Pink Reusable Food Wraps look super cute in my kitchen.  I might have to make a few of these as gift sets for the holidays.  

Shibori chiffon dress


Have you heard of shibori?  It’s a Japanese dye resist process using needle and thread.

Last weekend I decided to take a crack at it.

It’s a fairly simple process.

First fold your natural fiber fabric as neatly as possible and down to a manageable size. I used silk chiffon.

Then baste in your design using needle and thread as shown above.  I used two parallel rows of stitching because you’ll need to pull the thread next and tie them off.  This creates the dye resist.

Next dye the fabric. I just used rit but there are lots of great dyes out there including from plants like indigo.

Then dip your fabric in the dye

 as the directions indicate.

Once you rinse it out, hang it up to dry.

All done!

Merging Triangles Quilt Block

I was inspired by a photo I saw on Pinterest and as usual it got me into some trouble .

It just looked like so much fun.  Here is a step by step photo journey.

Start by sewing two sheets of fabric with a hard visual line in the center.  I made the red and green sheet too tall and corrected for the blue and black sheet.

I used two sheets 20″ tall by 44″ wide. I then cut the biggest rectangles I could do that the hard contrast stripe was running caddy corner.

Be sure to offset the rectangles from one another as shown above so that you can rearrange them as shown below

Now the high contrast line creates the triangle that will merge.

Repeat for the other triangle 

Now set your Triangles so they are facing each other.

And cut them into strips.

I used 4″ wide strips.

Then arrange the strips so that the triangles are merged together.

Sew the strips together

And you are done!

Upcycled Tote

A couple years ago I made some quilted placemats.  I used scraps of linen and Japanese dragonfly cotton leftover from other projects and had just enough batting to make two.

I happily quilted dragon flies through all three layers intending to bind them when I was finished.  

But I never did. 

They languished in my UFO pile clogging the arteries of my workroom.  For years.

Until finally I got so disgusted with myself one day this week – for bringing my lunch to work in a grocery store plastic bag with a hole in it!  

I work at a fabric store for heavens sake. I mean srsly.  What is my problem?

Soooo.  While 2 year old Queen Bean took her 4 hour nap(!!!) yesterday, I got out my ginghers and started cutting.

I made sure the straps would be long enough to comfortably wear it over the shoulder since I plan on taking it to the new farmers market in my town as well.

Put the right sides together and sew around the three sides that make the bag part.  Then sew the right sides of the straps together so that the strap on the left side of one placemat is sewn to the half strap on the right side of the same placement.

Be sure to add some triangular tucks at the bottom seams to create volume.  Sew in the inside of the bag.

The last step is binding it. 

It took more binding than I thought it would. About 110″ all told.  I didn’t use bias because fabric is precious.  I used a quarter yard piece of quilt cotton and tore 3 strips each 3″ wide.  Applying it took a while but wasn’t hard.

Im pleased with they way it turned out.

 The batting makes it padded and soft and the linen lining makes it super strong so I can load it up with fresh produce and local honey and be comfortable and look stylish at the same time.

Building a teepee

My kids second birthday is coming up and I decided to make her a teepee so that she could have some space designated for her in my sewing room.  I remember how important having little nooks and hiding spots was to me when I was little.

There are advertisements all over for these things and they are usually $100 or more!

That was more money than I had to spend so I decided to make one myself.

My first stop was the lumber yard.  There is a great one close to where I live called Lafayette Lumber.  I went down there asking for dowels but their longest dowel wasn’t long enough or wide enough for my purposes.  They steered me to the wooden curtain rod which was priced at 99¢ a foot and cut me 5 lengths of 5 feet each.

I sanded down the ends on both sides to make everything nice and smooth.  Then I finished them all with some leftover stain we had in the garage.  I let them air dry outside for a few days and it snowed!

Once the smell had faded a little I drilled holes about 5″ from the end of one side of each rod.  Then I strung them together on some twine I usually keep in my kitchen drawer for cooking.  I used some Scotch tape to stiffen up the end of my twine to make it easier to thread through the holes.

It worked perfectly.

String them all on and gather them up.

Once my rods were tied At the top I spread out the bottoms evenly as best I could to make the pentagonal shape at the base.  Then I made a pattern piece shaped like a wedge.  In my case the pattern piece was 5.5″ across at the top, 39″ across at the bottom and 52″ tall at the center measured straight down.

I got some cotton linen blend canvas by Kokka, and some heavy weight linen from Elfriedes Fine Fabrics and cut my wedges.

I had some great chevron weave linen left over from another project that I used to make facings for the top of 4 of the wedges, turning them to the outside.  I used just a little math to make the doors overlap 3″ at the center with a self facing.

Then I sewed and served them together and tried to on the frame.

It’s too long because I need a wide hem to create the pockets that the rods will sit in once finished.

The kid tried it out for me.

I pulled the tent as taught as I could all be the rods and marked the spot that would be folded against the ground.

Then I turned up the hem leaving slots where the pieces come together for the rods.

I also put elasticated loops about 4″ from the top on the seam allowance.

Now I just have to find a big fluffy round rug for inside and some baubles to hang from the top and it will be finished.