Saturday, 29 August 2015

How to Make a Fabric-covered Button Without Kit

Before you start making the fabric-covered buttons, you have to choose the right scraps of fabric. Not every fabric suitable for doing a nice and neat fabric-covered button especially when you make the button without a kit. For example, fabric that tend to fray is unsuitable, but a little fraying is acceptable in thin fabric because you can leave a larger seam allowance and it will not form a bulky knot at the back. Instead, a very thick fabric would create an inordinately large and thick button and it will form a bulky knot at the back. Usually, I will use button with or without shank at the back to make fabric-covered buttons. No matter what kind of buttons you are using, the steps of doing a fabric-covered button almost the same. Today, I'm going to show you how I make a fabric-covered button with the shank button and the button without shank.


How to make a fabric-covered button with shank button.

1. a shank button (no holes on top)
2. scrap of fabric
3. Matching thread

Measure the diameter of the button. Double the diameter of the button and draw a circle onto the scrap of  fabric. If the button is domed, add more extra millimeters to the diameter. Anyway, a very accurate measurement is not necessary. You can use something round to trace a circle with, as long as the diameter of the chosen tool is within your required measurement.

Trace a circle onto the fabric, then cut it out. Thread the needle with double thread, knot the end of the thread and sew along the raw edge with the smallish running stitch.

Place the button upside down on the wrong side of the stitched piece of fabric and the button should be put in the middle. Pull the thread to gather the fabric to form a small fabric sack. Then, use your fingers to pull and arrange the pleats evenly.

Continue pulling the thread until the fabric snuggle up to the button. Then turn the raw edge inwards with the needle tip, press with your thumb and pull the thread tight. Keep on turning the raw edge and pulling the thread tight until the end of the round.

Pass the needle through the pleats along the turned edge. Pick up several pleats every stitching. Pull the thread very tight after every stitching and make sure the shank of the button is not covered by the fabric. Sew one round, tighten up the opening by pulling the thread fully and knot off your thread.

The photo shown above is the back and front look of the fabric-covered button with shank. Since the shank is not covered, it can be used when you sew the button on.

How to make a fabric-covered button with the button without shank

1. a button without shank
2. scrap of fabric
3. Matching thread

The steps of making a fabric-covered button with the button without shank is almost the same as as you made the fabric-covered button with shank at the back. You have to sew the raw edge with the smallish running stitch, put the button on the fabric, gather the fabric, turn the raw edge inwards and pass the needle through the pleats to reinforce the fabric seam. The only different step is to close the opening completely.

This is the finished button. You would find that the button with or without shank at the back will give you the same outcome on the front side.

You can embellish your fabric-covered button with any decorative item. The above photo is showing an embellished fabric-covered button, I hot glued a sequin and a bead onto the center of the button to give it a different look.

Sunset at the Contryside

Sometimes, I like to give myself a relaxing holiday away from the bustle of town and stay in the countryside for a few days. I like to go to this paddy field every time I am there, here I enjoy the peaceful, quiet and modest scenery... especially the sunset.  Apart from the beach, have you ever enjoyed the awe-inspiring sunset in any greenish paddy field? Why not have a try if you have a chance? It might give you another feeling of relaxation.

 I remember, on this infinite paddy field, I enjoyed an amazing sunset last year. The sun looked like a giant egg yolk, it tinted the sky orange,then mingled with scarlet... how pretty that hues was! it moved slowly until it dipped itself beneath the skyline. I enjoyed the twilight  moments...The dusk crept over from the east...

Friday, 21 August 2015

Mini Tote Bag With Lining

1. Two pieces of 8"x 13" main fabric
2. One piece of 10.5" x 13" main fabric (contrasting color)
3. One piece of 24.5"x 13" lining fabric
4.  a piece of 9.5" x 13" sponge (approx. 1/8" thick)
5. two pieces of 3" x 16" strips (for handle)
6. appliques (optional)

* The measurements of the above mentioned pieces are included seam allowances.
* If you like the puppy applique, click here to get the free template.

1. First, you have to join the three pieces of main fabrics together with the contrasting color arranged in the middle. Make sure the edges with the same length is aligned together. Then, sew a 0.5" seam. Now you have a rectangular piece.

2. Turn the fabric to the wrong side. Place the sponge on the middle part and baste around the edges.

3. Turn the fabric piece to the right side and top-stitch the left and right diagonal lines on the middle part as shown in the photo.

4. Arrange and sew your appliques in place. This is optional, you can just leave it blank.

5. Fold the rectangular fabric piece in half with right side together. Sew along the long sides with a 0.5" seam.

6.  Now, sew the base for the bag. Flatten the corner of the bag, so the side seam is flatted against the bottom of your bag to form a triangle. Draw a straight line about 2" from the point of the corner and perpendicular to the seam. Sew along the straight line as shown in the photo.

7. Draw a straight line on either side of the seam. The line should start from the end of the horizontal line that you sewed and parallel to the seam.

8. Fold the fabric follow the straight line and sew a 0.125" (1/8") seam.

9. Cut off the corner of the bag, leaving a 0.5'' seam allowance. Repeat the step 6 to 9 for the other corner.

10. The mini tote bag is taking shape. Set it aside.

11. Now is the time to make a lining to the bag. Fold the lining fabric in half with right side together and sew along the long sides with a 0.5" seam. Then sew the base as you sewed the main body of the bag. Don't turn the bag lining inside out, just leave it as it is and set it aside.

12. Take the main body bag and draw two straight lines on the right side of the top edge. The first line is 0.5" from the edge and the second line is 0.75" (3/4") from the edge. Then press with iron to get two crease lines on the top edge. After that, insert the lining into the main body bag with wrong sides together.

13. Align the top edges properly and pin the edges together.

14. Simply sew a line on the top to secure the layers.

15. Fold the top edge twice by following the two crease lines that you made and pin. Then, sew a 0.125" (1/8") seam along the folded edge on the wrong side of the tote bag. So, the hem width is 0.625".

16. The opening of the bag is done.

17. We are going to make the strap (handle) of the bag. Take the 3" x 16" strip and fold it in half lengthwise with the wrong side out and sew a 0.5" seam. Press the seam against the opposite side so the seam is set at the middle and then sew a 0.75"(3/4") seam along one of the short edge. Repeat the steps to make the other strap.

18. Turn the strap right side out. Fold the ends (opening) inwards before you sew the straps to the bag.

19. Pin each strap on the appropriate point of the top opening and top-stitch a "X-box" for each end of the strap.

20. A new mini tote bag is born!!

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Puppy Applique Pattern

This is my recent project - puppy applique. This cuddly puppy applique is a design for my new mini tote bag. My new bag is still in progress... .Well, let me share with you the puppy applique pattern prior to the birth of the new bag. This applique is  using not only fabrics and threads but also felt cloths and beads. I suggest you choose the fabrics which are less likely to fray especially for a small size applique patch. I spent a lot of time to sew the patches on as the chosen fabrics for this applique frayed easily. Those raw edges frayed like crazy that I couldn't turn under the seam allowance smoothly!! How to overcome the problem? I had no other ideal fabrics that can be used! Finally, I found a way to deal with it. I leaved a larger seam allowance when cutting around the template and then trimmed the seam allowance to the required measurement as I stitched the applique on the background fabric. That was the first time I used this way to finish a needle-turn applique. Luckily, the outcome isn't as bad as I thought.

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Hand Applique

Applique is a needlework technique to attach patches of fabric onto a background fabric to form the design or embellishment pattern. We can sew the patches of fabric in place by hand or machine. If you are using sewing machine, set your sewing machine to a desired stitch and test the stitch on the scrap of fabric before you start stitching. If you are sewing by hand, you must know at least some basic hand sewing stitches like running stitch, backstitch, blanket stitch and blind stitch.

Before you begin stitching, you may have to pin or adhere the appliques in place, some of the tools like bead-needle, fusible interfacing, and fabric glue are popular choices that used to attached the appliques to the background fabric. Anyway, some people might not use any tools to help them in guiding their works.

There is a variety of methods to do applique, the methods shown below are my favorite hand sew applique methods.

1. raw edge applique
2. finished edge applique
3. needle-turn applique ( turned edge applique)

Raw edge applique

This is the simplest way to sew on an applique. The raw edge of the applique fabric is left exposed. From the photo above, you can see the edge become frayed, don't you think the frayed edge bring you a natural look? Usually, I will use the backstitch in this method. Of course, you can use other stitches as long as you are satisfied with the outcome.  Apart from the cotton fabric, you can see many people like to use this method on a felt applique. The edge of the felt applique won't become frayed, it will bring you a different look and feeling.

Finished edge applique

In this method, you have to place two applique pattern pieces right side together and stitch completely around the edges. First, place two applique fabric pieces right side together and start preparing your applique pattern pieces by tracing around your prepared template onto the wrong side of the fabric. Then stitch completely around the edge and cut a hole in the middle on one side of the applique, then turn the the applique right side out. Now, pin or baste your finished edge applique on the background fabric and stitch it down with blind stitch. If your applique involve a convex curve shape, and the seam allowance is more than 0.5cm then you have to make a few small notches on the curve edge so the shape can lay flat when you turn it to the right side. The photo shown above is a semi-circle applique, although it has a convex curve shape, I don't make any notch on the convex curve edge because the seam allowance is narrow enough to create a flat surface.

If you are using fusible interfacing, trace the pattern ( mirror image) on the dull side of the fusible interfacing. Place the fusible side (shiny side) on the right side of your fabric and sew the fusible interfacing onto the right side of the fabric along the line you traced. Then, cut out the pattern piece, leaving a 0.5cm seam allowance. Notch the convex curve edge if necessary and cut a hole in the middle of the fusible interfacing. Turn the applique right side out, press your applique in a nice shape, place it on the background fabric and hold it in place using a warm iron. The fusible interfacing will bond with the background fabric. Now, you can easily stitch it down.

needle-turn applique ( turned edge applique)

This is a traditional method, what we have to do is to turn under the seam allowance with a needle before the applique is stitched to the background fabric. First, prepare your applique pattern piece by tracing around your prepared template onto the right side of the fabric. Cut out the pattern piece and leaving a 1cm seam allowance around the edge of the shape. Before you start sewing, make a few small notches on the convex curve edge ( only if your design involve a convex curve shape) and finger press around the stitching line that you have drawn onto the applique piece so you can easily turn the edge under when you are sewing it down. Usually, I will pin it in place and sew it down with blind stitch.

If you find it is not easy to turn under the edge and press the edge with your fingers, there is an alternative method that you can try out. Place your template (mirror image) on the wrong side of your applique fabric, fold the seam allowance up against the template and press with a warm iron. Remove the template when you have finished pressing. Then, you can place and hold your applique on the background fabric with pins, fabric glue or the basting stitch and stitch it down with blind stitch.

Saturday, 1 August 2015

Applique Stitch

The applique stitch is a popular and easy stitch for sewing all applique designs or shapes. We use applique stitch to attach patches on the right side of the background fabric. It can be worked from right to left or left to right and it is always used in the turned edge (needle-turn) applique. It creates small vertical stitches on the edge. Usually, we use a matching or neutral color to sew the patches on and works with single-strand thread. Much of the time we want to make an invisible applique stitch, then we have to match the thread color to the applique piece and use a tiny applique stitch. Sometimes, we want the stitches to be noticed and stand out, then choose a contrasting color and sew around the edge using either a small or a large applique stitch.

1. Thread the needle and knot the thread end. Insert the needle through the edge of the applique from the wrong side.

2. Insert the needle into the background right next to where the needle came out of the applique and bring the needle up through the edge of the applique about 2mm (or 1/16") away from the first stitch. Pull the thread through, a vertical stitch is formed.

3. Again, insert the needle into the background right next to where the needle came out of the applique and bring the needle up through the edge of the applique about 2mm (or 1/16") away from the previous stitch. Pull the thread through and repeat the step.

4. The last photo shown is a few applique stitches that sewn on the edge of a round applique.

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