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Old Singer Machine & Attachments + Cute Baby Shoes & Boots!

Thursday, November 14, 2013
I took a ride down memory lane yesterday.  I haven't made little shoes for over a year.  I started my whole sewing business about 7-years-ago making baby shoes and it slowly evolved into 2 Etsy shops, teaching sewing classes and making patterns... and a love of sewing machines!

These little slippers are for up to 6-months-old.  They're soft-soled and people have told me these slip-on shoes are the only ones that stay on their child's feet without digging into their ankles.  I love hearing that!  You can buy the pattern, here.

These 3 boots were made using the same pattern, size 6 to 12-moths old.  They're super easy to make and you can really customize the look of them with buttons, ribbons, lace, etc.  They feature an elastic sewn onto the inside that hugs around the ankle so the boots don't slip off.  You can also turn down the top of the boot to make them shorter with a cuff-look.  You can buy the pattern, here.

I made these boots out of a man-made suede and trimmed the edge with a little white ruffle.  I used jean-tack buttons for the closure.  I used my buttonhole maker for these key-hole buttons.  This old Singer 201-2 I'm using is just straight stitch but you can use these buttonhole attachments that have different templates and they make perfect buttonholes every time (even more perfect than a new $7,000 modern machine).

These corduroy boots have a ruffle detail.  I used a strip of chiffon fabric and fed it through my sweet ruffler attachment that makes perfect ruffles in seconds.

These denim boots have a Velcro closure and are trimmed with 3 layers of lace.  Again, this machine I used doesn't have a zigzag stitch but I found this sweet 1950's attachment at the thrift store last week and was so excited!  It has different cams for a few different stitches.  It grabs onto your fabric and moves your fabric underneath the needle instead of your needle moving back & forth to create the stitch.  I also used this zigzag attachment to put the elastic on the lining.

Just had to show off these cool attachments and these cute shoes/boots!

Pattern Review - McCall's M6844

When I saw this pattern I really liked it.  I loved the cardigan (C) that is lower in the back so you don't get a breeze up your back when you bend over and the flounce adds a girlie detail.

SKILL LEVEL: It states on the front of the pattern "easy" and I agree (depending on what cardigan you choose).  If you do A or B sewing will be quite fast and easy easy, D adds some more sewing for the flounce and C cardigan has the bottom curved edge that is quite tedious to hem but it's a good thing to learn.  There aren't many pieces so cutting out is easy.

THINGS TO KNOW: This pattern is meant for medium-moderate stretch knits and the design is meant as a close-fitting cardigan.

TIPS: If you're into the 'raw edge' look of having unfinished edges you could leave the bottom hem and sleeves raw and that would save you a LOT of time from hemming.  Stretch knits can be awkward to work and sew with, take your time and be patient!

WHAT I DID DIFFERENTLY: The pattern has you put fusible interfacing in the collar and I recommend NOT doing it. After I basted the collar to the cardigan and tried it on it looked really bad and felt too stiff for a knit cardigan.  It was a lot of extra time and work to take it out but it was worth it in the end!  I made the sleeves 1" longer because I like them to go past my wrists.

I'm happy with how it turned out!  I used a thick knit sheet so it cost me only $3 to make plus $1 for the pattern.  Now I have something warm to wear with jeans or a skirt instead of an unflattering jacket!

Tutorial for Making a Hanging Mistletoe

Wednesday, November 6, 2013
I love a fun tradition.  I wasn't sure where or when the tradition of kissing under the mistletoe began so I looked up 'Mistletoe' on

According to ancient Christmas custom, a man and a woman who meet under a hanging of mistletoe were obliged to kiss. The custom may be of Scandinavian origin. It was described in 1820 by American author Washington Irving in his The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent.:
"The mistletoe is still hung up in farm-houses and kitchens at Christmas, and the young men have the privilege of kissing the girls under it, plucking each time a berry from the bush. When the berries are all plucked the privilege ceases."
 So there you have it!  Now let's get to crafting!

Project Time:
About 30 minutes

-Foliage with long-rounded leaves
-6-9 large white beads
-6-9 very small clear beads
-18-gauge stem wire
-Green floral wire
-Brown floral tape

-Wire cutters

Cut 3 pieces of green wire that are about 10"-long and a 5"-long piece of stem wire.  Cut a piece of foliage that makes a little bundle about the size of your hands cupped together.

Make your 'berry' bunches by using your green wire, white beads and small clear beads.  Put one white and clear bead together in the center of your wire and thread the end from the clear bead back up through the white bead (the clear bead keeps your wire from pulling out).  Twist both wires together about 3/4" from the top of your white bead.

Do the same thing for a bead on each side of your first.

To keep everything tight together, cross your wire ends under the opposite side and back up.  Twist the remaining ends together all the way up.

Plug in your hot glue gun about now.  Do the same steps above until you have 3 bunches of 'berries'.  I decided to have my 3rd just a single berry so my bunches weren't too overpowering :)

Arrange your berries inside your leaves so it looks just how you'd like it.  Where my fingers are now is where you'll put a little bit of hotglue to hold wire down.

Next wrap your tape around your stem/wire ends a few time while the glue is still warm to make sure everything cools tight together.  Trim off any long wire ends that are poking out.

Bend your wire stem in half and glue the ends against your leaf stem.

Continue wrapping the tape around everything tightly.  When I'm almost done I cut my tape so I have a 5"-long tail so I can wrap it in between my wire stem to finish it off.

Hang and enjoy all the kisses!

Tutorial for Making a Muslin Christmas Advent Calendar

Friday, November 1, 2013
My friend Angela came over to show me an advent calendar she was working on and I loved it!  It was simple with stenciled numbers and large pockets.  We both thought a little mini tree would be fun to decorate with ornaments from the pockets.  In each pocket you can also put different activities/quotes/etc that you can do that day.  The only credit I can take is the red bow at the top!

Project Time:
About 3 hours

Finished Measurements:
32"-high x 20"-wide

Shopping List:
2 yards (45"-wide) muslin fabric
5/8 yard white craft felt
1/4 yard red satin fabric
red and creme thread
2"-tall numbered stencils
dark fabric paint
stencil paint applicator
7/8" diameter (21"-long) wooden dowel
2 eye hooks
6-feet jute twine
wood stain (opt)

Yard stick
Fabric marker or chalk
Staple gun

Small Mini Tree
25 Ornaments

Cut muslin according to diagram.

 Cut felt according to diagram.

To make pockets, fold and pin your 5 muslin rectangles in-half 'hot dog' style.  Sew along the long raw edges with a 1/2" seam. 

Turn strips right side out. 

Iron strips flat by first pressing the seam side flat, finger rolling as necessary to get the seam right out to the edge.

Topstitch along the seam side on all pocket strips, about 1/2" from the edge.

Layer your felt piece and one large muslin piece on top of that, matching corners and edges. Pin together.

Lay out your 5 pocket strips according to the diagram (above) and picture (below).  Pin in place along the bottom edges and sides.

Mark across your pockets with a fabric marker and yardstick according to the diagram (above).

 Stitch across the bottom edge of pockets, close to the edge.

Baste around the entire outer edges to keep everything together.

Stitch your pocket lines over the markings you did previous.  TIP: Stitch from the bottom of the advent going up.  I prefer to make one continuos stitch through all 5 pocket strips because it's easier and nicer looking in my opinion (if you do this, make sure you reverse stitch at the top of each pocket because you don't want your stitches to pull out over time with use).

TIP: Instead of clipping my threads I like to pull them to the back for a cleaner look.

Put your last layer of muslin over the top of your pockets.  Match corners and edges and pin in place.

 Stitch around the edges with a 1/2" seam leaving the top-short end open.  Round off corners to reduce bulk.

Turn advent right-side out through top opening.  Pull out bottom corners with a pin or seam ripper so they're nice and square.

 Use a steam iron to press edges flat and smooth out wrinkles.

Measure 33" from the bottom of your advent to the top and trim off any excess (from the top-open end).

Pin top edge and sew a wide zig-zag stitch over the edge to prevent fraying.

 Use your number stencils and fabric paint to apply the numbers.  You may want to do this in steps because I was impatient and did the double-digit numbers while the other was still wet... not a good idea!

I must have had too much paint in some parts because it bled under the stencil.. adds character, right?  Angela said she uses a special stencil brush that has tough bristles and her numbers were PEFECT looking!  I'll need to get one of those!

If you want your dowel a darker color so it doesn't blend into the fabric rub a wood stain on with a paper towel and let sit for a few minutes before wiping excess off.

 Before and after.

Screw your eye hooks in the ends.

 Center your dowel over the top edge of your advent on the under side.  Use your staple gun to put a staple in each end and center.

Flip the dowel over to the right side leaving a bit of an overhang of fabric.  Hold dowel in place while flipping everything over again.

Staple fabric over dowel again, putting a row of stitches on the top and on the bottom to prevent dowel from rolling up while hanging. 

Double up some twine and tie on eye hooks according to the length of your preference.  I used 68" pieces on mine.

I wanted a rustic bow so I ripped my satin into 2 long strips that measured 3-1/2" across.

I layered and pinned my 2 strips on top of each other and folded in half.  Measure 18" from the fold and trim off excess.  Now your strips are 36"-long and are pinned together ready to be sewn!  I sewed all around my strips 1/4" from the edge.

Tie and un-tie your bow until it looks just right.  I centered my bow over my dowel on the front and used my staple gun to tack in place under the knot (hides staples).  Some people might want to hot glue their bow in place but I chose to do it this way because A) it's easy and B) it get's both layers so the bow can't un-tie!

Fill your pockets and you're done!!

UPDATE 12/25/2015:
I decided to put our "25 Days of Christ" ornaments in each pocket of the advent and it's been great!  I first was using small clothespins to pin the ornaments off the top edge of each pocket but since they were heavy it would pull the pocket down.

I brainstormed a bit and decided to make small buttonholes through the back of the advent to put the clothespins through.  It's even better than I originally thought because I can also close each pocket with the ornaments inside to prevent the kids from pulling them out and peaking which ones are next (I like it to be a surprise each day)!

 Use a fabric marker and place a mark at the top-center of each pocket to mark where to center your buttonhole.

I can't say enough good things about the buttonhole attachment for my Singer 201-2.  If I want perfect buttonholes I always use this set-up.  I picked a buttonhole that had a 1/4" opening.  It was a bit tricky to slide the advent around under the attachment because there's not much clearance - I would highly recommend doing this step before stitching pockets completely down.

Seam rip the buttonholes open and clip threads.

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