Thursday, 18 August 2016

Making a Nick Cage Skirt

Summer is here and now is the season for skirts, flowers and twirling around.  I just wanted to share a skirt that I made in March as a break from projects and school work towards the end of the semester. Sorry it took this long to share with you, I’ve been trying to spend as much time outside as possible before the cooler weather hits again.

About the fabric:

I have a friend that can do graphic design stuff, she’s extremely talented and I’m jealous of her. She made this pattern when she was bored one day, she posted the design of Facebook as a joke and people were telling her that they would totally buy the design as a fabric if she found a way to do it, which she did.  She uploaded the design to Spoonflower and told us that if we wanted any fabric to let her know.  So I’m part of a small group of people in the world that has this fantastic fabric. It is not on the site anymore, but she does have a shop that sells stickers and bags with the design on it (Link Here).

About the skirt:

When I first got the fabric I was planning on making a circle skirt.  Since it’s a relatively easy way to make a skirt and it would allow for nice twirling when I was wearing it.  When I went to start the skirt, I noticed that I would not have enough fabric. Since circle skirts require a lot of fabric unless I wanted the skirt to be really short, which I didn’t. So I had to reevaluate.  I looked on Pinterest to find what kind of knee length skirts that were out there.

From my Instagram  (@ChipkeyCreations)

I came up with three different ways I could make the skirt that I would have to decide on.
A skirt where I bunch up the top and have it kind puff out from there, which would probably have been the easiest skirt to make. A baste stitch to bunch the fabric, a waistband, or elastic and then some hemming.   But I didn’t like the idea of so much of the pattern being unrecognizable because of the bunching.
Photo source:
The second idea was a A-line pencil skirt, where I would cut the fabric into the trapezoid and sew down the edges but I didn’t want waste the fabric by cutting some of it off. Also I didn’t think the seam on the side would look nice since it would cut off half of the flowers and made odd looking seems.    
So I decided to go with a pleated top, midi skirt.  I found midi skirts on Pinterest really pretty and I thought the pattern of the fabric would really shine with this style of skirt as the flowers peak pass the pleats as I walked.  It’s a rectangular piece of fabric that is pleated at the top so I would not have to worry about the sides of the fabric patterns being awkwardly cut up.

About the process:

So I got two yards of the fabric, and the first thing I had to do was figure out how to cut the fabric. I had to figure out how long I wanted the skirt to be and line it up with a repeats in the skirt so the pattern would be consistent on all the pieces of fabric.  

After some measuring and double checking everything, I figured out that I would need my skirt to be three flowers long.  I used a T-square and chalk to mark out where I was going to cut, then took a deep breath and cut the fabric.

The First Cut is the Deepest
The fabric was 40 inches wide. I was able to take my hip measurement and divide it by two. Because that 40 inches piece would be used to cover half of my body. With that difference, I figured out how much extra fabric I would have to make the pleats. 

The way the fabric pattern repeats itself I was able to line it up on the sides and the back of the skirt so that it looked pretty seamless. I had to keep this in mind while actually sewing the skirt to make sure that the pattern would match up.

After I figured out all of my pleats, I pinned it all down and ironed.  After that I did a baste stitch across the top.  This is when you have really long stitches that you don’t backstitch so that you can easily remove the thread later.  I did this so the pleats won’t move around on me and I can remove the pins and not stab myself.  

When I was planning on skirt, I really wanted it to have pockets and I wanted it to be lined since the fabric was a little too see through for my taste.  Before sewing the sides together, I needed to have my pocket pieces ready.  I had a dress that had pockets and I used it as a guide to figure out the shape of the pockets for this project.  

I used skirt pieces that I already figured out as a pattern for the lining pieces. I just laid the patterned fabric onto lining fabric and cut around making the lining piece a little shorter then my patterned fabric piece.

The next part was the hard part, which if I ever make this skirt again I would figure out a better way to do it.  I needed to put the zipper in. It would be going through the waist band, the skirt part and the lining at the same time. It was kinda hard to do and took a couple tries to get.  

Next I sewed down the sides to connect the front and back of the skirt, being careful to sew around the pocket and not sew them shut. Then I did the same for the lining pieces minus the pocket since the pocket would be between the wrong side of the fabric and lining, like a sandwich. Next I sewed the waistband over the top of the skirt and removed the baste stitch.

Lastly I hemmed the lining and the bottom of the skirt.  Ironed everything to make it look really nice and then it was done.
I wore this skirt for a group presentation for school and my group members thought the skirt was great.  After class I was waiting for the bus and two people stopped on different occasions to tell me they loved the skirt. Which is one of the compliment a crafter can get about their work.  Over all I’m so impressed with how this skirt came out, I really like the fabric pattern and that it has all the things I like in the skirt, pockets, lining, crazy patterns.

Sunday, 29 May 2016

Pillow Cover - Tutorial

Two of my old roommates have moved out of our house (since the lease is up) and into their own apartment.  The place is super cute and they’ve been making it look really nice.  They’ve got art and accent pieces all in blues in their living room and it looks like an adult apartment.  They got a new couch and asked me if I could make pillow cases for the pillows they wanted to throw onto it. They were thinking of buying some cases but they are crazy expensive, it’s un-proportionally high for the amount of fabric you’re getting.  When we were shopping together there was a small case, no pillow on sale for $40! It wasn’t even cute looking, I don’t understand these prices.  So my roommates decided that buying the fabric and letting me make them cases would be better since they can pick a fabric they like and not be restricted by what is in the stores.  The pillows I made were super fun to make and a great beginner project, the cases don’t come off the pillows so there is no need to worry about zippers.  

Things you need:
- A metre of fabric of your choice, this cotton fabric is from Fabricland
- A pillow, for this project I’m using the 50cm x 50 cm (20” x 20”) pillows from Ikea
- Newspaper for a template
- Sewing machine
- Needle and thread
- Pins

1) Use the newspaper to make a template of the pillow, mine was just a square and probably could have gotten away with skipping this step but I wanted all of my sides to be straight and really ensure that each fabric piece would be the same size. I added a centimeter of seam allowance on to each side and cut the newspaper down to the size I needed.

2) After washing and ironing your fabric, place it on a flat clean surface and fold in half, having the patterned sides of the fabric facing each other.

3) Place you template on your fabric and pin into place, and cut.  I am making two pillows with this piece and I ended up with 4 pieces of fabric.

4) Place two pieces together, rights facing each other.  If your fabric is patterned ensure the patterns are going to the same directions. Pin the pieces together and leave a space on one side that will be big enough to put your pillow into.

5) Sew around making sure that you don’t sew the whole thing closed.  With scrap fabric do some test stitches to make sure the stitches are tensioned properly for the fabric you’re using.

6) After you’re done sewing, cut the extra fabric off the corners of the case, this will make for sharper corners to your work. Make sure you don’t cut the stitches themselves.  Also if you had a really big seam allowance you can trim off any extra fabric.

7) Put as much of your hand in the hole you created and pull the fabric through the hole.  This will turn the pillow inside out. After that use a pencil to push the fabric in the corners more to really make them pointy.

The pillow after the corners are pushed out

8) If you want to, you can iron the case.

9) Put the pillow into the case.  With the first pillow I took it out of the plastic and then spent an hour trying to stuff the pillow in to the case because I made the hole too small. With the second pillow I measured the circumference of the pillow in its packaging and made sure that the hole I left would be bigger.  Then I cut the top of the pillow packaging and put the whole thing in the hole I made and held the pillow in place as I pulled the plastic off.  The pillow then just unfolded itself into the case.  This took less than 30 seconds.  
The first pillow, mid stuffing

Second pillow, which was faster

10) Make a blind stitch to close up the hole.
Take your needle and thread and double your thread and knot. Make sure your thread is long enough to close up your hole, but if it is too long there is more of a chance that the thread will knot as you’re working.

You should also pin your hole closed so that you do not get fabric moving around on you.
From the inside of the fold, poke your needle and poke it back through a few millimeters on the inside fold of your fabric and pull through.


You will be sewing the fabric on the inside of the fold of the hole to bring the two pieces of fabric together while trying to hide the thread.

You can't tell where the blind stitch is 

11) Fluff up the pillow, I was told that if you leave the pillows in the sun they will fluff up on their own. I left the pillows in a room with sunlight for a day and they did seem to have fluffed up a little bit, but I can’t tell if it was because of the sun or not.  

When I was done I took the pillows to my friends house and was trying to take photos of the pillows, but my friend kept jumping into all of the photos I was trying to take. So I am including some of the photos I have of her and the pillows. 

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Too Good Not to Share

Last week was the Tulip Festival in Ottawa.  I went and looked at all the flowers. As I was walking, there was this family that had just gotten three ice creams for their kids.  It looked really good, so good I turned back to the ice cream truck that was at the event and got myself an ice cream too. I took this picture then promptly ate the whole thing.  It was great.  

And in case you wanted to see some tulip photos:

That's it for now. 

Monday, 25 April 2016

Crochets I've recently done

I'm in my last month of university.  As a stress relief I've been crocheting a lot and just want to share some photos of what I've been up to. Some have already been posted to my Instagram, but I want to add a few more photos.

Mini Charmander:
I've been crochet a lot of Pokemon recently and I wanted to explore different sizes and yarns.  This guy was made with friendship bracelet thread (pearl cotton embroidery floss).  A friend of mine pointed out that it was "literally made from friendship". This guy is under 2 inches tall and made with pretty much the smallest crochet hook I could get at the store.  I actually have this crochet for sale in my etsy shop

Rick Crochet: 

I made Rick for my friend that is a huge fan of the TV show Rick and Morty. He's about a foot tall and has a crazy case of anime hair.  I had to do a bunch of research and compare different crochet patterns to figure out the shape of his body, since I don't have that much experience crocheting humans.  I also added a bit of drool to get the full effect of the character.  I have this guy available for made to order in my shop (link here)


The same friend also wanted Morty to have the set.  He is a bit shorter than Rick, like he is in the show.  Morty is also available in my shop (Link Here)

Little Squirtle:  

I really enjoy crocheting small pokemons and decided to make a Squirtle. I'm still working on the face since I don't think the month is right yet, but I really like the shell and tail. 

That's all the crochets that I have finished right now.  I'm working on some other projects right now and I'll share photos as I finish them. 

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

How to sew patches

There are a few things that you will need before you start:

Needles: Your best option is to get needles designed for heavy materials like leather. They are stronger and the tip is pointier. This will make it easier to sew your patch without much overexertion.

Thread: Usually you can get needles and thread as part of a sewing kit. However, that thread may not be the strongest.  If you can, try to get some nylon thread since it is stronger than cotton thread.  Regardless, you should try to get it in the colors of your patches that way it will look as seamless as possible.    

Sewing or Safety Pins: This helps to make sure that nothing moves around as your sewing.

Thimble (optional): Yeah, that thing in your Monopoly set actually has a purpose.  It is so you can push your needle through your fabric without hurting or stabbing your fingers. 

Step one:  Figure out where you want your patch to go. I have a patch blanket that I've sewn all of my patches too.  My roommate got me this awesome pizza patch and decided that it fits nicely beside the slope of an old girl guides patch.  If you have an iron on patch (if it has a plastic shinny back its most likely a iron on), iron it into place. Most iron on patches are not very permanent and they will start to peel off in no time. That's why you want to sew it in to place as well.  This also depends on what type of fabric you want to sew your patch on too.  Some cottons are easy to iron on, but felts or blanket fabrics are not.

If cannot iron your patch, you will have to pin it into place with either safety pins or sewing pins.

Step two: Cut your thread. You do not want to cut it too long or you will get it in knots as your trying to work.  Just over a foot (0.3 m) will be good length.  If you are sewing a really big patch, you will have to sew it on in stages.  If you are using really flimsy thread, I recommend doubling up to give it some extra strength, so it does not break on you.

Step Three: Tie a knot on the end. It seems really obvious but a friend of mine sewed a bunch of patches and forgot to knot them and they fell off.  Also make sure that the know is bigger when the thickness of your needle or it will pop through your fabric when you try to sew it.

Step Four: Now the fun begins. With the right side facing you, poke your needle into the edge of were your patch will sit. You'll want to make sure your know will be hidden by the patch.
From the wrong side of the fabric, poke the needle back into the fabric and into the edge of the patch and pull.  The knot you made will be on the right side of the fabric but as you sew, it will be covered by your patch making the wrong side of your fabric look nicer. 

Step Five: Poke your needle through the patch, a few millimeters from where you poked through, bring your needle back through the patch and fabric. Bam! You've made yourself a stitch. On the wrong side of the fabric poke your needle through the fabric and patch a few millimeters from the previous stitch.

Here is a close up of the patch after a few stitches.  I tried to make sure that my stitches were in the brown outline of the pizza to make them as invisible as possible. I also tried to keep my stitches small and even. 

As you pull your thread make sure you do not get knots or bunching like you see here.  You may get caught up in the look of the right side of your fabric but make sure you check on the wrong side of your work to ensure it looks good too. 

Step Six: Now continue with your stitches around the patch until you get back to where you started.  Try to keep your stitches as even and as small as possible.  It will look nicer, but smaller stitches require more time sewing.

Step Seven:  Knot the thread as closely to the fabric on the wrong side as possible and cut off the rest. 

On wrong side of fabric poke you needle as shown above and wrap your thread around it and pull your needle through, making a knot. Cut away the extra thread.

And you done!

Now you know how to sew a patch, do and decorate all of your belongings with patches.

If you have any questions you can put them in the comments below.