December 14, 2017

Holiday Tree Napkins

Over at my other blog (Carriage Corner) - I posted all about my holiday table settings this week.  Several years ago, I stumbled across a blog that showed step-by-step instructions for making these tree napkins.  I can no longer find that link.  At that time, I made several sets of napkins and gave all of them away!  I guess in actual fact - I've given this set away as well, hmmm. . .

Anyway - there's still time before Christmas to make a set or 6 of these trees and give them away to everyone you know.  They'll love them until they have to fold them.  ;o)

To start, you need 2 coordinating fabrics - these can be holiday themed or not.  I like to press my fabrics right sides together and then fold them in half, so you have 4 layers, both right sides together. 

Next - using the string, a pin and pencil - draw the largest circle that will fit on your fabric that is folded in half.  Make sure not to go into the selvedge.  I like to draw my circle on paper, but you can go straight to your fabric if you are a rebel.  The reason I do it on paper (no photos) is so I have a pattern AND to be able to fold my circle in half evenly.  Because these trees are made from a half circle of fabric. 

Lay your pattern on your fabric and cut out as many half  circles that you need.  At the very least you'll need about 2/3 a yard of 2 fabric to make 4 napkins.  I made 12 for the B&B.  I bought at least 2 yards of fabric to get my 12 napkins.  I honestly cannot remember if there are 'scraps' of these fabrics shoved into holes in the fabric shelves. 

Once the fabric is cut - it gets really easy from here.  Your fabrics are already right sides together and ready to sew.  Sew them up with a 1/4" seam allowance - or bigger if you're more comfortable with 3/8" or 1/2".  Just remember to be consistent and leave an opening for turning right sides out. 

I like to baste across the opening.  I find it helps me to get an even edge if I press the opening back using the basting as a guide.  

Once you've sewn all the napkins, trim the seam allowances.  I like to use my pinking shears for this part.  I find if I use the pinking shears the curve clipping is done for me.  Plus, I like the way the pile of pinked edges looks.  

Next, I sample thread colors and decorative stitches.  This time I just went for the triple zig-zag.  It was easier to maneuver around the corners and it looks like garland when the napkins are folded.  

Once you've done all the stitching - the magic happens with the folding.  I find the easiest way to fold these is to fold them in half, then grab the flat edge of the napkin about an inch from the center fold.  Using that mark, re-fold them in an off centered-half, then fold the corner back to meet that fold. 

Here are the napkins on this year's holiday table.  This 5-layered fold takes a bit more trial and error.  Honestly, I have to just keep folding and rearranging them until it's right.  Just keep in mind that the fold at the straight edge will be more angular and less straight like in the 4-fold version.  Feel free to pop over to the Carriage Corner Blog and read about my holiday table settings.  

October 31, 2017

Classic Oak Cardigan

Quite possibly, I should have posted about E's Little Grey Cardigan before sharing the cardigan that I made for her daddy - but that's not the way things work around here.  But - you will need a bit of the back story. 

So - when The Princess and The Sports Writer found out they were expecting, well they decided not to find out what they were having!  What's a crafty momma to do?  Well, I knit a grey sweater for the baby - could go either way, gender wise.  But while I was making it - I thought, wouldn't it be nice if I made something for The Sports Writer? So, I found a similar pattern ordered yarn and then moved across the country.  

Once we got settled - I got started knitting this bad boy.  Originally I had hoped to have it done by the baby shower - but that didn't happen - see moved across the country.  I finished this sweater this summer and then held it ransom until the kids came out here and I could get photos.  Ravelry says I started this sweater on November 12, 2016 and finished on August 30, 2017.  This was not my only project during that time.  

 So, as I said, I held this sweater ransom until the kids came out and I could get some pictures of it.  I wanted some of them together and some of them separate - but I'll take what I got.  

I'm so happy with the fit of this sweater - the sleeves are long enough, the length is perfect.  It's not too big - which I was worried about and the shawl collar is perfect.  

Here you can see the back of both sweaters - Daddy's sweater has more cabling than E's - but I love them both.  While the shoulder seams look a little bit dropped - that is the style of the sweater.  

Here you get a glimpse of E's sleeve and the cable panel on the front of Daddy's sweater.  This was a fun project and one I'm glad I took on.  Both sweaters were made with Cascade 220 in shades of gray.  Both of the sweaters close with leather buttons.  And both of them have their cuffs rolled up :)  

Thanks for letting me make these lovely sweaters for the family. 

October 24, 2017

Print Matching

While my wardrobe has become decidedly more casual - JB's has become a bit more dressy - if you will.  See - he helps in the kitchen in the morning, preparing the first course, helping plate & serve the main course and doing the dishes.  So, he's started wearing his bowling shirts with jeans.  Now he had quite a few that we've purchased over the years in Hawaii, Key West and at Disney and I've made him a few.  But he wanted more.  

The more I've made, the more I've wanted to get better at pattern matching over the button placket.  I still haven't figure out how to match the pattern at the side seams as well - but I figure the side seams aren't as noticeable as the button placket.  

So, I have no idea if this is right - but it's what I do and it works for me.  I thought maybe it would help some one else.  So - here goes nothing.  

I use McCalls 4399 mens shirt pattern which is long out of print.  My envelope has a date of 2004 on it.  Also I use view A, short sleeves with the side seams left open for a bit at the bottom.  

I trace 90% of my patterns onto exam table paper and keep the original pattern intact.  No real reason, it's just what I do. And in this case, I'm glad I've done that - I've made other changes to the pattern to add contrast fabrics.  

Anyway - once the fabric has been washed and ironed - I cut the shirt out single layer.  Cutting the left front shirt piece first.  I have to remind myself often that girls are always right and boys are left out.  So, the left front has the buttonholes and goes on top of the right front.  Once the front has been cut out - I then go over to the ironing board and fold the facing back on the center front line.  I know that this is not where the facing will ultimately be folded, but I figure if I can match the pattern at the center front - then it should match coming out of the placket - so far this has worked for me in actual practice.  
folded back on center front
Then, I take the left front back to the yardage and line the print up as close to an exact match as I can get.  Smoothing the left front over the yardage and making sure everything stays matched.   
Lining up the pattern at the center front
Next, I grab my pattern piece with the facing folded back and butt it right up against the left front - making sure I have my pattern piece the right way up.  I carefully lift up the folded facing and start pinning the tissue to the fabric, being careful not to shift anything.  Once the exposed part of the pattern is pinned in place, I remove the left front, fold the facing flat, finish pining and then cut the right front out.  

Tissue being placed next to left front - red line added to show pattern piece on top of yardage
For the pocket - before removing the tissue from the left front, I slip the pocket piece under the left front piece, matching the top of the pocket with the markings on the pattern piece.  Actually - I've found for JB, that the pocket is almost under his armpit when I put it where the pattern has it, so I move it a bit toward the center front.  

Once I have everything lined up the way I want it, I remove the shirt tissue and trace some large identifying designs onto the pocket pattern.  As I was cutting a bunch of shirts - I cut a bunch of pocket blanks.  I then match my really horrible drawings to the fabric, pin & cut.  

Once you've done all this, stack all the pieces together neatly.   Fold and put in a stack on the corner of your sewing table until you feel like assembling a bunch of shirts.  

I hope this helps someone else who's struggling with pattern matching.  As I said, it might not be proper way - but it works for me.  

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