Saturday, November 26, 2011

Adventures in Spinning

Every yarn-a-holic loves a good warm spot to sit and knit/crochet.

I've wanted a spinning wheel for a while now. I had no idea how to use one. All I knew is that you made yarn with it.

Then I got handed 2 large bags of raw Merino Wool from the finest of animals from down under (Australia). So I started researching, first how to wash it and then how to spin it.

Everything I read for beginners said to try a drop spindle. So my friend gave me an extra she had and another friend gave me ready to spin wool to practice with.

So I tried my hand at it and hated it. This took me forever to get a small amount. You have to spin the spindle and then draw out the fibers and stop the spindle, wrap it all up on the stick and then do it all over. This stopping and starting was annoying.

So, then I discovered that my nifty cell phone is an android and apparently, since there are half a million apps I put in a notification for craigslist for a spinning wheel.

for a couple of months, I get getting the same old responses for some truck and/or stationary bike. So everytime that little icon poped up on my phone, I'd ignore it.

Sitting in the coffee shop one night with a friend, I thought, oh what the hell, yet me close out all these rediculous icons and clean the toolbar out. Well, it showed that I had a spinning wheel notification and so I checked it expecting to see another stupid ad for something completely the opposite of what I wanted.

Someone posted an actual spinning wheel and so I responded. About 4 times actually. And the lady called back in minutes!

I ended up getting it and now I'm trying to finish all my hat orders ( My Handmade items can be found here )so that I can wash and spin all my nice Merino wool. Which, I hear I'm getting more of soon! So I've got to be ready!

I'm also trying to figure out what to make for the very generous people that are giving me this nice wool!

So begins, my adventures in spinning!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

5 Minute Recycled T Shirt

Here is a simple 2 step, 5 minute t shirt that you can "make" to reuse baby onesies.

My babies no longer use the onesies. Mainly because we cloth diaper and they're a pain and their diaper covers are way too cute to cover up!

Supplies are basic.

Sewing machine

Thread your sewing machine in the color you'd like to use. Here I used purple and a pink onesie. This was to coordinate with one of my daugthers diaper skirts.

                                                              Cut off just above the leg holes.

TA DA! It's a shirt. Now you can leave it like this if you want. It won't fray and will still be somewhat stylish since this is the new "look". You can just simply sew a running stitch along this edge if you wish, using a rather long stitch and do not stretch the fabric as you sew.


                                                               You can add ruffles.

Just simply put the shirt under the machine and put the needle down. Here I used an overcast stitch since i have the option on my machine. (See previous post if you don't know if you do!) With the needle down through the shirt, pull on the fabric infront of the machine just enough to stretch it almost all the way. You don't want to pull it completely because then it won't move under the needle as your sewing and it will stay in one spot. You have to keep it stretched as your sewing so that it will ruffle up. :)

You can also do this with the arm holes if they aren't hemmed. It all depends on the brand shirts you buy.

Now is a great time of year to buy these second hand because they are "short sleeve" and considered summer stuff.

You can add appliques and/or tye dye them if they have stains!

Ruffles with tulle around the bottom is cute too!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Here Comes September!

September is a busy busy time for me! Not only because school just started but because this means I have to start making holiday plans! So far, we don't have anything set in stone for traveling...

I am already getting orders for handmade goods. Be sure to check out and "like" me on facebook at or just search for Sweet N Simple Designs (Local Business)

I run specials and have a benefit/Charity Auction once a month!

I am starting to get the Christmas orders, as well as working on Halloween specials. So be sure to place your order soon!

How Ordering Works:

You can contact me via Facebook, Etsy or email at (Those are zeros not letters)

Make sure when ordering that you are sure to tell me what sizes you need. Most of my hats are very stretchy and will fit child-adults. However, the newborn and infant ones do not.

Not sure what you want? Just send me an email and we'll figure it out!

I do mostly hats, but love mittens, scarves, diaper soakers (for cloth diapering), pillowcase dresses and MORE!

Follw me on Facebook today!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Ruffled Skirt Photo Tutorial

                                Ruffled Skirt Photo Tutorial

Hopefully I can add one tutorial or pattern each month! *BONUS* There are 2 different skirts here!
*Please note that this tutorial makes a newborn size skirt, but I give directions for custom fitting*
Sewing machine
Lace (if you so wish)
coordinating thread
Elastic, non roll is best

To make a newborn sized skirt you will need to cut your skirt bodice(ie, the ballerina fabric in the picture)
23 wide by 10" tall if you have a pattern on your fabric that goes in a specific direction, make sure you're cutting your fabric in the correct position.
Waistband: 23" w x 4"h
Ruffles: Cut as many as you wish, but 2 was enough since I wanted the top fabric to show.
            cut each ruffle band 44"w x 4"h

1" wide elastic

This things first!

You are going to need to overcast or serge the edges of your fabrics. Now don't get scared, run away and assume you can't do this if you don't have the ability to do this. Most basic sewing machines come with at least one piece that will alllow you to do this! Believe it or not! In the picture above, the piece on the left is a basic machine foot for my sewing machine. I use this one for everything basic. The one in the middle is also overcasting or "finishing" edges of fabric similar to how a serger would do it. (This one is actually broken, there should be a little piece in the middle (big hole) sticking up dividing that hole into 2, but I wasn't careful and forgot to change the setting on my machine and the needle broke it off! Lesson learned...)The piece on the right I believe is for faggoting (joining two pieces of fabric together, I believe) but it's working for my make shift overcasting. *IF* you do have these pieces great!!!! here is the stitch that you need to use for that. See picture, #6 is what I use.

Alright! Let's get started, Now I always wash, dry and iron my fabrics before sewing. I don't like goof ups so I don't want any fabric shifting after the first wash due to shrinkage if I don't prewash.

So, assuming you have it all prewashed, dried and ironed, you need to start with the fabric that will be the skirt bodice. (Ballerina in the picture)

Cut out all fabric pieces indicated above and serge all edges. (These were done on a regular sewing machine with the foot attachment pictured above!)

*******Additional Sizes********
If you want to make bigger sizes the best thing to do it to measure your little person. You'll want to measure the waist. Or if that person isn't available you can measure a skirt or shorts that fit well and go from there. Add at least 5" to the width of the bodice and wasitband and an additional 8-10" of width to the ruffles.

(On the other skirt I will share the tutorial for, the width was 42" and that would definatly fit a 3-8 yr old. Actually, I think *I* can fit in it, but um, it'd be kinda short. lol)

So, after you serge or overcast all the edges.

With the print side/RS of the fabric of the skirt bodice facing up, lay your skirt wasitband down along the top edge of the bodice. Match up the short sides. If the waistband has a print side to it or a Right Side then you have to lay the print sides together or Right Sides Together. Pin in place.  (I took this picture before ironing and overcasting...)

Next you'll need to sew along the top edge to attach the wasitband to the skirt. I sew two times really close together for extra strength as I know kids are tough on clothing!

Then you need to fold down the little flap that will be sticking up towards the skirt bodice fabric. And stitch down ontop of it.

You will end up with this. Can you see the stitching?

Time to make ruffles!!!!!
Take one piece of your ruffles fabric and fold in half shortways. Sew with the longest stitch setting you have along the serged/overcast edge. Do not tie off thread. Instead you'll need to loosen up the last stitch and pull it through the fabric as if you're going to undo the stitching. Only take one stitch out though. Then you'll need to pull on ONE thread and gently tug, sliding the fabric away from the direction you're pulling in.
Keep doing this, gently gathering up all the fabric. Usually I get it about halfway and then do the same on the other end of the fabric. After it's all cinched up together I lay it down ontop of the skirt bodice and see how it looks. If it's too short I will gently undo the ruffles by sliding them towards the end of the thread. You can arrange the ruffles however you wish at this point. Some people like them evenly spaced or varied. here I just 'went for it' and left it just enough to match up to the sides of the skirt bodice.


Once you lay out the ruffle and match up the sides to the bodice, pin it in place. Then repeat with the other ruffles, slightly overlapping the top edge seam so it won't show after you stitch it down. Once you have them where you want them, Stitch them down. Go slow and remove all the pins! Sometimes they can hide under the ruffles!
You can now place your lace over the top edge of the ruffle that's on the top. It will hide all the stitching! :) Sew this down in place, going slowly as well, lace is delicate under a machine!

Next you'll want to sew up the very bottom of the bodice. This is the bottom edge. Just turn it over, fold it under, then again to hide the raw edges and sew it down in place.

Top Wasitband:
Flip it over so you're looking at the back. Fold the top edge down just overtop of the stitching where you attached it to the bodice. You want to fold the top over twice like you did with the bottom so you're encasing the raw edge. Sew this down.

You're also done! you just need to fold the whole thing in half so it will form a skirt, matching the short sides up, right sides (print sides) together. Sew from the bottom up. When you get to the bottom of the wasitband, stop. You'll want to insert the elastic with a safety pin attached to the end for ease of threading and then pull it out the other side. Sew the two elastic ends together and sew up the wasitband seam!


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Dolls on the brain

Ever since my friend introduced me to her favorite "style" of doll, I've been dying to make one! I've done a test run on a pattern that I had that I was wanting to make anyhow.

It came out pretty cute if I do say so myself.