Thursday, April 26, 2012

Toddler Art Smock

I recently whipped up an art smock for a little family member turning two.  Lately I had been looking for a use for this great oilcloth fabric by Amy Butler.  My mom had given me a few scrap pieces leftover from a highchair cover that she had made.  In theory oilcloth should make art clean-up a breeze, only requiring a simple wipe down, but I can only imagine the kind of mess that can result from a kid with paint!

I based my art smock off of a pattern in "One Yard Wonders", but had to alter it to make it work with the amount of fabric I had.  I also changed the pocket in the front, and made my own bias tape out of a different Amy Butler fabric I had on hand. 

Working with oilcloth turned out to be a bit of a challenge.  I had heard that your sewing foot can stick to certain fabrics, and boy did that turn out to be true!  I didn't have too much time to fuss with getting the stitching just right, but I do have another project to work on - learning how to sew with oilcloth!  Maybe another topic for Sewing Tips? 


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Sewing Tips: Cutting Fabric

Cutting fabric can be such a pain!  Recently I have been working on a project that involved a lot of cutting. .  I actually had been avoiding the project for several months because the amount of fabric I had to cut felt daunting.  By the end I had improved my technique and realized it had been excellent practice.  The process also took way less time than I had imagined.

Everyone has their own way, but I am always a fan of using my rotary cutter when I can.  Here are some cutting tips to hopefully inspire you to start on that new project you've been avoiding. 

Step 1:  Turn on some jams!
Nothing inspires me to get working more than some fun music.  What does your mood tell you?  Calming Bach, jazzy Ella?  Thanks to my childhood, one of my favorite "pump-up"  musicians has to be blues rocker Stevie Ray Vaughan.  

Step 2:  Press the fabric
When I cut fabric, especially large pieces, it is a good idea to press your fabric before cutting.  This is especially true when working with cotton.  Too many wrinkles can really hinder an accurate cut, and just making the job plain annoying.  So do yourself a favor - break out your iron - you'll be happy you did.

Step 3:  Assemble your tools
A cutting mat, a ruler, a rotary cutter, fabric weights, and fabric scissors are all great items to have available.

Step 4:  Line up your fabric
Use the grid-lines on your cutting mat and your fabric weights to keep your fabric in place!

Step 5:  Measure twice - Cut once!
I don't know where I heard this old saying, but it is so true!  Better to take a little extra time lining up your ruler and double checking the measurement, than to waste money and time by making mistakes.

Step 6:  Enjoy a job well-done :)
What is more satisfying than freshly cut stacks of fabric bursting with potential!  Time to create!

 Improvise your own fabric weights using large metal washers wrapped with fabric or glass jars filled with something fun!


Share your cutting tips with us!