Monday, February 21, 2011

Are you Expanding Your Crafty Horizon?

I love learning something new! I remember when I first learned to shirr fabric I was so excited, my daughter had an entire wardrobe of stretchy tops and dresses. It was so easy and I wondered why I hadn't tried it sooner. Same with knit fabric, same with zippers. When I design a new sewing pattern I am sometimes hesitant to introduce anything that might seem scary to a beginning sewer. But I have had such wonderful feedback on the Peas in a Pod Sewing Pattern from people who never sewed a zipper before, now I am proud and happy to help new sewers expand their crafty horizon!

My newest pattern, the Sweet Summer Halter Dress (a Monkey Doodle for Tie Dye Diva pattern), features darling and unique curved straps that form a contrast trim for the bodice. This means sewing a convex curve (the strap) to a concave curve (the armhole), very much like a princess seam.

With my tips and tricks even a beginning sewer will be able to complete this pretty seam with professional results. And learn something new to carry on to future projects. Check out the Sweet Summer Halter Dress in my etsy shop!

Birdsong Bows Funky Loopy Bow

So what else can I try that is new? How about something non-sewing (gasp!)? I have never made a bow, and I am so inspired by this post by on The Cottage Home blog - she tried bow making for the very first time using a Birdsong Bows PDF pattern and it came out amazing! I am not surprised because Deanna at Birdsong writes a great pattern book; I have one in my stash that I have not yet made, sounds like it is time to gather up my ribbons and try something new! The Cottage Home blog includes a Birdsong Bows PDF pattern giveaway too - so don't miss your chance to win, you can learn something new too!

What are you going to try that is new?

Sunday, February 13, 2011

New Fan Page for Tie Dye Diva Patterns and our 3 Giveaway Winners!

Tie Dye Diva moved to a brand new Facebook fan page just for Tie Dye Diva patterns, and is having a giveaway for every 50 fans that enter! Plus a sneak peek at the next new pattern, something for big girls! Come over and Like the new page to enter and to check out the fun and fans!

And... we have our first 50 comments on the Giveaway Note and I've drawn the first winning number via
Comment #24 corresponds to Rmenda C. - congratulations! Choose any single PDF pattern from and contact me through my etsy shop with your choice!

I'll be choosing the next winner when 100 comments have been made! Come join the fun!

Update 2/16/11: Here is our second winner:
Comment #87 was made by Barbara G, who wins a free Tie Dye Diva PDF pattern of her choice, congrats Barbara! 

Update 2/20//11: Here is our third and final winner!

Comment #130 was made by Julie T. H.  who said "ME ME!" - Congrats Julie!
That wraps up this giveaway, thanks to all my new Facebook fans who entered! Watch for some new fun coming up soon ... details tomorrow ...

Monday, February 7, 2011

Giveaway Time!

Time for a great giveaway! You can not only win Tie Dye Diva PDF sewing patterns, I'm joined by Birdsong Bows and Patterns, Goosie Girl Boutique, Boutique By Design, The Ribbon Retreat and Fabric (did someone say fabric??), Melissa Caron jewelry and Painted Butterfly Studio, all giving really posh prizes, over $500 in prizes in all!

Click the link or logo to go to our giveaway page for details!

Free Knit Fabric Sewing Tutorials - Armwarmers and Baby Knot Hat

 I have had so much fun participating in the Great Knit Fabric Experiment sponsored by Stitch Simple and Harmony Art Fabrics, and so honored to be one of the patternakers chosen to create a free tutorial for sewing the luscious knit fabric they provided. Working with the organic knit cotton has been a dream, and ... the best part, because they came from Stitch Simple, they arrived prewashed and ready to sew, as do all their fabrics. No guessing how much your fabric might shrink - when you order a yard, you get a yard to sew with. Open the box! Run to the machine! Cut and pin! Sew sew sew! And voila, armwarmers for me and a lil' knot hat for baby. My kind of sewing. Click on the I Heart Knit Fabrics logo or the link to go to all the free tutorials in the Great Knit Fabric Experiment!

And so without further ado, let me share my free sewing tutorials with you! I loved sewing with this beautiful knit so much, I couldn't create only one free tutorial.

First up, armwarmers! They keep your arms warm and leave your fingers free to do all the other crafty stuff you love.  I'm calling my version Perfectly Polished Armwarmers, with finished hems and a self-binding thumbhole. Go to the free armwarmers tutorial!
Free Armwarmers Tutorial - Perfectly Polished!
After your arms are warm and your fingers are still free for sewing, continue on to my free Baby Knot Hat tutorial and downloadable pattern! This one is size newborn in a sweet little beanie style. It was a natural match for the lovely organic cotton knits from Harmony Arts, don't we all want our little ones to spend their first days warm and cuddly and organic, and wearing sweet little whispers of "Mom" and "Dad" and "Love"?

Free Baby Knot Hat Pattern and Tutorial

Free Sewing Tutorial - Perfectly Polished Armwarmers

This free tutorial is part of The Great Knit Fabric Experiment sponsored by Harmony Art Fabrics and Stitch Simple, where you can buy your fabric prewashed and ready to sew. More great free tutorials for sewing with knits at the link or click the logo!
Don't we all love armwarmers? Now, an armwarmer is basically a tube, and you could cut a rectangle of fabric, sew up one edge, stab a hole for the thumb, and call it day. Because knit doesn't ravel, that's actually a pretty acceptable way to create some quick armwarmers. However ... I'm calling these Perfectly Polished Armwarmers, with finished hems and a beautifully bound thumbhole, I think you'll find the difference is worth your time, and you'll learn to create a self-binding for knit fabrics.

You'll need:

About 1/2 yard knit fabric with at least 25% stretch and some standard sewing supplies.  I'm using the beautiful Solstice organic cotton interlock from Harmony Art Fabrics, provided prewashed and ready to sew by Stitch Simple.
Standard spool of thread or other circle roughly 1-3/8" in diameter
Large piece of paper for making your pattern - wrapping paper, tissue paper, etc.
Standard sewing tools and supplies

First, create your pattern. Measure around your palm at the widest part, not including your thumb, that = Palm measurement. Now measure the around your arm where you'd like them to end, that = Arm measurement. Next, measure from that point on your arm down to your knuckles, or wherever on your hand you want them to reach and ADD 1". That = Length. The seam allowance will take care of making the width just a bit smaller than the actual width of your arm so they'll be just snug enough. My fabric has about 25% stretch. If you are working with an especially stretchy fabric, you may need to subtract 1/2" from your palm and arm measurements.

So as an example, my Palm = 7.5", my Arm = 9", and my Length = (13.5 +1) = 14.5".

Draw a vertical line = to your Length line on a large piece of paper, like wrapping paper or tissue paper. I'm using the pretty unbleached tissue paper that came with my Stitch Simple order! Now center a horizontal line the length of your Palm measurement across the top. To do this, divide by 2 and make that the point that intersects the Length line. In my example, 7.5/2 = 3.75. Do the same for your Arm measurement at the bottom, which for me is 9"/2 = 4.5. Connect the side lines. Above is a not-to-scale example.

Cut around your pattern piece, and fold it in half along the length line. Now draw a cutout for the thumb hole. For an average hand, the top of this cutout should be 2.5" from the Palm line. Centering a standard spool of thread (which measures about 1-3/8" across) on the edge makes a perfect size. You can even look through the hole of the spool to be sure it's perfectly centered on the edge. If you can't find a circle the right size, use a ruler and sketch a half circle roughly 2/3" wide and deep.

Now cut 2 of these shapes from your chosen knit fabric, being sure you are cutting so the stretch goes across the width of the pattern. Also cut 2 strips from the same or a coordinating fabric 5" wide (stretch direction) by 1" long. These are your binding strips.

Hem the top and bottom of the armwarmers by pressing under 1/2" and sewing with a narrow zigzag that goes just off the raw edges of the fabric.

Fold the armwarmer right sides together and sew a 1/4 seam with a zigzag or stretch stitch, or serger from the arm edge up to the thumbhole and stop.

Turn the armwarmer right side out.

You should be able to open up the thumbhole so that it's fairly straight and accessible for sewing. Pin a binding strip, right sides together, along the entire length (or "around") the thumbhole. Sew using a longer-length straight stitch, about 1/4" from the edge of the hole.

Press the binding first toward the hole, then wrap it all the way around the raw edges to the inside of the armwarmer and press again, and pin in place.

"Stitch in the ditch" from the right side of the fabric, using a longer length straight stitch. I didn't mark the stitching line in this photo because I want to to be clear that the 'ditch' where the binding meets the main part of the armwarmer is the sewing line. Trim any excess binding from inside the thumbhole to 1/8", and any excess over the side seam.

Turn the armwarmer inside out once more to finish the side seam with a zigzag or serger, again using a 1/4 seam.

Right it once more, and repeat for the other side - now go enjoy your warm, crafty arms!

I hope you've enjoyed this free tutorial - please link to it, Facebook it, Tweet it! There are easy-share buttons up at the top. I offer PDF sewing patterns for clothing, accessories, home goods and toys in my etsy shop, You might enjoy my Convertible Fingerless Gloves/Mittens PDF sewing pattern - come browse my shop any time! 

Free Baby Knot Hat Pattern and Tutorial

This free tutorial is part of The Great Knit Fabric Experiment sponsored by Harmony Art Fabrics and Stitch Simple, where you can buy your fabric prewashed and ready to sew. More great free tutorials for sewing with knits at the link, or click the logo!

Knit fabric is a necessity when sewing for baby - soft, stretchy, just cool and warm enough. Don't be afraid to sew with knit, you can follow this easy tutorial even as a first project. This tutorial makes a size newborn hat for babies up to about 9 pounds.

  • 1/4 yard cotton knit with at least 25% stretch; this will make several hats, but you  need this yardage because the stretch needs to go across the hat's width and the main hat piece is almost 12" long.  I used the darling Alphabet Soup print and Lime Green organic cotton interlocks from Harmony Art Fabrics, provided prewashed and ready to sew by Stitch Simple!
  • Cotton knit for the band (contrasting or matching):  2.5" x 14" piece.
[edited to add: after I created the samples and drafted the tutorial, I decided I liked the look of a slightly narrower band. The instructions result in a hat with a 1" band. If you want it to look more like the picture, cut your band up to 4" wide and follow the same instructions.]
(Click File in the upper left, then Download.)
1. Print out the free baby hat pattern from Tie Dye Diva. Wait for your husband/significant other to make jokes about it, like "are you sure that's a hat pattern?" Cut around the solid line, the 1/4" seam allowance is already included.

2. Cut 2 of the hat pieces from your main fabric. Cut 2 strips of your band fabric, each 2.5" long x 7" wide (the stretchy direction).

3. Place the hat pieces right sides together and sew around the edges as shown, using a 1/4" seam allowance. When sewing knit, a stretch stitch or narrow zigzag is recommended to ensure that your seam will stretch along with the stretchy fabric.  Also place your band pieces right sides together, and sew the short edges.

 4. Make a little clip into your seam allowance where the long "tail" that you will be knotting meets the main part of the hat. Don't clip through your seam! (Like how I used my third hand to take the photo? When my husband stopped with the jokes about the pattern shape, he helped me out.)

5. Turn the main portion of the hat right side out. Fold the band in half lengthwise, wrong sides together. Finger press the seams open.

6. Place the band around the main portion of the hat, raw edges aligned, and matching up the side seams. Pin all around, then sew this seam using a stretch stitch.

 If you have a free arm on your sewing machine and can slip the hat over it without stretching the hat, it makes this part a breeze.

7. Flip the band down into place, give the tail a single overhand knot, and enjoy!

If you've enjoyed my tutorial, there are easy-share buttons up at the top, and please visit my instant-download pattern shop, for dozens more PDF sewing patterns for baby, children, home and more.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

What I've been up to, and a hint about something FREE on the way!

I last blogged less than a month ago, and am so pleased to have a few new patterns in my shop since then! Let's catch up.

I found a match made in sewing pattern heaven when my friend MonkeyDoodle, who has more pattern ideas than she has time for, and I, who has patternmaking down to a beloved art and science, put our heads together! I've just listed this adorable Peek a Boo pleated skirt pattern in my etsy shop, newly updated and chock full of the photos, diagrams and extra sewing tips and tricks my PDF patterns are known for. You'll love the lace-up pleats option, check out the listing for additional photos.

Also collaborated with MonkeyDoodle is this new one on the way very soon - it's a blanket, it's a pillow, it's a buddy, it's a great gift for a new baby, a beloved grandchild, or really, just about anyone. They're quick to make and super cuddly, especially in flannel. You can make them in animal/monster styles or as a regular pillow. I was feeling especially kitschy when I made this one with Obama on one side and peace signs on the other. Presidential pillow panels? Who knew they made them.

And just today I listed this one, that I've been so excited about launching - a new baby dress pattern in the style of a vintage baby swing dress that I'm calling the Pat A Cake Baby Dress. Go to the listing to check out out the ruffly, open back! Great for showing off ruffled diaper covers or little baby bums dressed in just about anything.

Now, a little hint about what's to come ... watch this blog for something wonderful and FREE posting on Monday!