Guest Series 2011

Today I would like to welcome Shannon from Luvinthemommyhood to whipup, where she shares a great pattern and tutorial to make a knitting needle holder.

Hi everyone, my name is Shannon and I’m a wife and stay-at-home mom to my 3 yr old daughter & 8mth old baby girl, and am happily living near the ocean on Vancouver Island, BC, Canada. I’m currently learning how to sew (and showing you how too), figuring out html (yuck – can we say headache!), crafting (when I have time), parenting (when my 3 year old isn’t throwing tantrums), cooking (when i’m not breastfeeding on the couch), keeping the dreaded laundry pile down (don’t you just love laundry…not) and coffee in my system (definitely a necessity) all while sharing it with the world on my blog.. My blog, Luvinthemommyhood, is a friendly neighbourhood where crafty, creative moms can come to connect, enjoy a cup of coffee, some girl chat and share in all the fabulous, scary, hilarious & inspiring things that come along with living life in the mommyhood.

Most crafters & sewers agree that they can never have enough space to create in. We use closets, walls, desks, tables, floors, shelves and anything we can get our hands on to organize, stash & control the supplies, tools and books/patterns we need to happily make with. I myself started with a small corner and eventually told my hubby one day we were no longer going to use our eating area & that it was going to become my new “sewing wall”. I’ve since been revamping this tiny wall that is still triple the size of the one I had before. Do I have it all organized the way I want it yet? Nope, it’s been months & one of the last things I have left to tackle are all my knitting needles.

During this time my hubby and I have started watching the show “Everest: Beyond the Limits“. It follows a team of climbers as they conquer the tallest mountain in the world and overcome challenges as they do it. What the heck does that have to do with knitting needles you ask? Well….you know when you find one of those projects that you just can’t seem to get to work? It keeps you awake at night and you keep making it in your head over and over again and you just can’t seem to get the pieces to work right. This organizer was my Everest. It was my tall creative mountain to overcome.

I had to take on my own personal hurdles to get this organizer to work for me. My first few designs didn’t work out, my sewing machine kept breaking, my thread was cheap (I ran out of thread and begged the hubby to buy some from the dollar giant one night – big mistake) and causing all sorts of havoc, my laptop died for half a day with all my sketches and photos for the tutorial on it, my toddler got croup and I got sick, I ran out of daylight for my pictures on more than one occasion and the list goes on. But I’m not complaining. It challenged me. I had to push myself to climb my own little mini sewing Everest and anyone else who has followed the show Everest will understand when I say that I made it to the summit, almost ran out of oxygen and hit a traffic jam at the 2nd step but I made it home with no frostbite and I’m alive to tell the tale.

What I found so challenging when designing this organizer was that I knew I wanted something to hold ALL of my needles. That includes straight, double pointed and circulars. You knitters all know what I’m talking about. Heck you can even fit crochet hooks in it if you so choose and I probably will put them in here too. I also knew I didn’t want it to be a roll that when you close it or roll it all the needles you just spent forever putting away come falling out causing you to curse like a madwoman. Who wants to be resorting needles when you could be knitting? Not me. I also knew I wanted people to be able to mix it up based on the size, length and style of what they wanted to hold in the organizer. I also wanted it to hold all my knitting accessories and even a few patterns if I feel like it. So I decided to come up with a base design that you can simply follow and put your own spin on to suit your taste and organizing needs. Don’t you think it would look smashing in vintage fabric with ric rac on the pockets? Fun & so many options!

So don your creative gear, get ready for your next sewing expedition. It’s gonna be fun! I’ll be your team leader and lead you to make your own Everest. We’re gonna conquer those needles ladies and it’s gonna feel great!

Download Everest: The Ultimate Knitting Needle Organizer PDF pattern and tutorial here. [link fixed]

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Today I want to welcome Virginia Lindsay, from the blog Gingercake (and creator of Gingercake Patterns).

I started sewing again (like many of you!) when my kids were new and I was spending more time at home while they were napping and playing. I loved all the bright and beautiful fabrics available and I became addicted to searching for new projects all the time! I eventually found myself with many ideas of my own and I loved the process of taking that idea and turning it into a perfected pattern. I wanted to create items that were useful and thoughtful for our busy lives. Since most of us already have an almost full schedule, a day spent sewing is such a treat and I wanted to create a line of patterns would be a treat for the sewer and the person she is sewing for. My favorite feedback from people who bought aGingercake pattern is not only “we use this all the time!” but also, “i had so much fun making this!” We all know that we can buy something cute at the big box store, but creating a handmade gift is not only about who is getting the gift but about how much you enjoyed your time spent sewing.

The kids and I have been baking cookies and bread together quite a bit these days. Honestly, I am not much of a baker and especially not with my 3 kids under 6! But, the weather has been so dreary and cold, we have been in need of something special like homemade cookies. Part of our routine has been wearing our cute aprons. It has added extra fun and kids love ALL types of dress up, right? My kids have cute aprons that were gifts or part of sets, but I have been wearing some silly thin gathered waist apron (now I admit I have some of my grandma’s super cool vintage aprons but I’m not wearing those!) that has been making me feel really frumpy and not at all like the patient sweet mama who is trying to bake cookies with her fighting children with a smile on my face!

This gave me an awesome opportunity to sew up a new apron just for me! Because we all know that sewing and wearing a cute apron will insure that you never yell at your children for spilling flour all over the kitchen, right? I wanted it to be fun and flirty but also flattering. Seriously, I’ve had 3 babies and the whole tiny waistband and gathered skirt was not working for me.

This apron has a wide waistband with interfacing to give lots of structure. It makes me feel all 50s cute even when I’ve been wearing my pajama bottoms all day. I also designed it using my own measurements so that it was a flattering length and the waistband came all the way around the back. Love it! Now wouldn’t you like to make a cute flirty apron too? Here’s the pattern friends! Sew up…

Download Apron PDF pattern here.

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Welcome Sky Turtle to WhipUp.net – a self-taught seamstress living in Barcelona, Spain. Her blog is about sewing, cooking and generally having fun.

A Fancy-Pants Tshirt Hack

There something magical in the simplicity and democracy of a tshirt. Man or woman, thin or not so much, young and young at heart, the tshirt is one design that fits all. They are comfortable, smart and they don’t ask for much.

From a crafty point of view, the shape and fabric are easy to work with (did anyone say ‘no fray’?), plus you can get them very cheaply, in all colors, sizes and prints. And what’s cooler than saying: “Oh, I made this out of a tshirt I had laying around the house.”

So today – like everyday – we hack. We cut and paste and sew and trim. And we shut up with the motivational speech and dead poet society momentum and proceed with the tutorial.

How-to:
1. Get a tshirt that’s a few sizes bigger than your own.
2. Get another tshirt that fits you well to use as a pattern.
3. Turn your big tee inside out. Now, taking into consideration you pattern model, cut and shape your large tshirt. I also cut the neckline, but you can use the original one if you want.
4. I used another tshirt in a contrasting colour, cut a part of the sleeve and pinned it as a continuation of the original sleeve to make it longer. You can skip this step if you want.
5. Now pin your newly cut tee. And sew.
6. Now cut a semicircle in the shoulder area. Repeat for both sides or just cut one if you’re daring.
7. Hem your neckline and your shoulder decoupage and enjoy.
8. I decided I like it more without the green part, so I removed it in the end.

And that it. No serger, no monkey business. Just remember to use a zig-zag stitch if you’re using a sewing machine or pull the fabric a bit when you’re sewing if your machine looks like it can’t grab the thread underneath.

And keep experimenting; that’s the fun of it.

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I would love to welcome Jeni from incolororder to whipup today.

I’m Jeni! I’m finishing up my degree in Marketing and Studio Art in Northeast Ohio. I love to find ways to be creative everyday, whether it be through my photography, sewing, or my current favorite hobby, quilting! In addition to sewing, I love to collect vintage kitchenware and vintage sheets! :)

It’s been a rising trend over the last few years for sewers and quilters to sew with reclaimed vintage sheets! It’s a great alternative to quilting cottons that gives your projects a unique twist! Interested, but don’t know where to start?

I’ll walk you through the basics!

1. Identifying Vintage Sheets: Most vintage sheets are relatively thinner than new sheets because they have been washed so many times. This makes them super soft! Most of the sheets that I find are cotton polyester blends although there are some 100% cotton sheets out there as well.

2. Care: When I get home with an armful of vintage sheets, they go in the wash right away. I wash them with hot water using regular detergent and a generous scoop of Oxi-clean. This helps brighten them and get them super clean! I then dry on high. Once they’ve been pulled from the dryer I lay them flat on the bed to cool down. They don’t generally get too wrinkly because of the polyester.

3. Sewing: Sewing with vintage sheets is a lot of fun and not all that different from sewing with quilting cottons! They are a little slippery so extra pinning is helpful. Make sure you have a sharp new needle! Be mindful of what you’re sewing, since they’re lightweight you may need to use some light interfacing to add a little body!

4. Where to buy: I purchase all my vintage sheets from thrift stores! Here in the midwest it’s a sheet gold-mine! Check your local thrift stores often and find out when their sale days are for extra good deals! If you don’t want to buy entire sheets, there are a lot of sellers on Etsy that sell vintage sheet fat quarters, or by-the-yard!

I love sewing and quilting with vintage sheets. It’s a really satisfying feeling. First, the fabrics are super cheerful and sunny! Secondly, you’re recycling, you’re giving them a second chance to shine! To make something beautiful from something discarded is a wonderful thing!

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Welcome Jenny Wilding Cardon, author of ReSew andThe Little Box of Baby Quilts. Her designs have appeared on the covers of Quilts and More and Quilt It for Kids, and in McCall’s Quilting. She writes about her sewing, thrifting, and family life at the WildCards.

Own What You’ve Sewn (A testimonial. And a tutorial.)

Hi! I want to thank Kathreen for inviting me to guest post at Whipup, which I’ve been happily following for a few years now. The ideas she brings to my screen are always fun and inventive and inspiring. But you know why I fell in love with Whipup in the first place? The manifesto. Have you read it? It’s written with humor. And it speaks to what I believe in my heart about all things handmade. Because I believe handmade can change the world. Well, maybe not the whole world. Not all at once. But it can change yours. It has mine.

I started designing clothes in high school. I had no idea what I was doing. It was fabulous. The pieces I created were eccentric, oddball, attention-grabbing, and sometimes, downright wacky. Too shy to draw attention to myself, I would force my more confident friends to wear my creations to school. When people found out I had made this or that, they would ask me about it. “Did you make that?” they would say. I would look down at the ground, turn on my heel, and walk away.

I loved the stuff I made. I just didn’t have the guts to “own” it.

During my college years, making stuff took a back seat. I tossed my passion aside to focus on my degree. After graduating, I moved to Seattle and took a job as a copywriter with a book publisher. But not just any book publisher. A craft book publisher. I started making quilts alongside my co-workers. I started decorating my house with stuff I made. And then—after one of those daring fashion friends from high school reminded me—I started to remember how much fun I used to have making kooky, offbeat stuff with abandon.

The passion I had tossed aside and forgotten (much like a shrunken wool sweater) was back. And (much like a shrunken wool sweater) it was begging to be brought back to life and transformed into something I valued again. Something that would share a little about who I am. Something I could imprint my style and sass on. Something that spoke about me.

Since I started my passion back up—full throttle now—I’ve created an intention. My intention is to “own” what I make. Make no mistake about it: what I make isn’t just a piece of clothing, or an accessory, or a quilt or a rug or a bag. It’s also my voice, speaking to you. And that’s something that the big-box store down the street, sporting its racks and rounders jam-packed with the safe and the same, can’t do.

Maybe what you make speaks that way, too.

When it comes to speaking about what I make now, there’s no more heel-turning. I grind my heel into the ground. The stuff I make speaks first, on its own. But then I speak too. And here’s what I say. Family, friend, employee, coworker, stranger: “Did you make that?”. Me: “Yes”. There’s the testimonial. (Cheers if you got through it.) Now, on to the tutorial!

This is what I call a “sleevelet,” made from the sleeve of a shrunken wool sweater. (And looky above. I’m wearing it. How about that?). Read on to learn how you can make a sleevelet too. A WildCards tutorial: sleeve + bracelet = sleevelet!

What you need:
- A shrunken wool sweater (the sleeve needs to fit your wrist and arm snugly), scissors, embroidery thread, and a yarn needle.

How-To:
1. (A) Cut any ribbed cuff off of one sleeve.
2. (B) Cut the remaining sleeve into at 7″ tube. (You can make the sleevelet longer or shorter if you want to incorporate part of a design or motif.)
3. (C) Turn the tube inside out. Turn one end of the tube right side out until the end meets the center of the tube. So for a 7″ tube, turn the end 3 1/2″ toward the center of the tube.
4. Repeat for the other end of the tube. Now both ends of the tube should meet in the middle. This is the RIGHT side of your sleevelet (the side with the seam showing.)

5. Thread your yarn needle with a long length of embroidery thread, using all six strands. (As an alternative, you could also use perle cotton or even yarn). Tie a knot at one end. Starting at the sleeve seam, bury the knot in between the two layers of the tube. Take two rounds of stitches. For the first round, use a whipstitch to sew the two ends of the tube together all the way around the tube, making stitches 1/4″ apart. For the second round, make stitches close together to completely cover the raw edges where the two ends of the sleeve meet. No need to stitch through both layers of the sleevelet; only stitch through the top layer. When you need to start or end your thread, simply knot the thread and bury it in between the tube layers.

And that’s about it. All done.

If you like making stuff out of stuff that’s already been made—upcycling, repurposing, refashioning, and the like—you can check out my new book ReSew: Turn Thrift-Store Finds into Fabulous Designs in this video, or at my blog, the WildCards.

Thank you again for having me here, Kathreen!

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