I just discovered CreativeBug.com. It’s basically a website dedicated to online videos for Knitting, Crochet, Sewing, and other crafts. From short how-to videos and projects to full craft classes and workshops. But it’s also kind of an online school for knitting and crochet. I love the idea!
What makes Creative Bug unique is that a project is taught entirely through video. Also, you will recognize many famous knitters and crocheters in these videos. Many of whom you may be a fan of already ! They are taught by expert instructors many of whom are well-known designers and crafters with decades of experience. And all in a very easy to follow and enjoyable way.
Each class, workshop, or project features a series of step-by-step videos. The first one I checked out was Norah Gaughan’s Knit Cabled Hat. Loved the way the project was broken up into different smaller videos for each step. The videos looked wonderful and I really enjoyed hearing about Norah’s love of cables too.
It sure beats you-tubing for random how-to videos!
How It Works
CreativeBug.com is not free. However, the monthly subscription is $4.95 and can be cancelled at any time. This subscription gives you unlimited access to videos each month. That’s not bad! Even if I signed up for a month just to take one class, it is well worth it! Also, a very affordable way to take classes for people who’d like to try out Knitting for the first time or people on a budget! There is a free section too that includes classes like How To Thread A Serger and other basic fun stuff.
Check it out! There is a 2-week trial available for new members too.
Every single quilt pattern below is FREE from Art Gallery Fabrics. And is just a few of many other free quilt patterns they have. The skill level varies greatly but the patterns aren’t really marked. So if you’re a beginner quilter, try gauging how difficult a pattern is by looking at the intricacy of the pattern. Does it contain a lot of complex shapes? How many different shape variations are contained in the one quilt? Some easy ones are “Dream of a Garden” and “Posh Flowers”.
This pattern is available for FREE from Art Gallery Fabrics. I found it while browsing all their lovely fabrics. It’s a really cute bag and the pattern is pretty simple! Available for download in PDF format, the pattern includes easy to follow illustrated instructions and real size templates that you can use to cut your pattern out.
Saddle Bag Pattern by Pat Bravo
Finished Size: 9.5″ x 6.5” not including straps
They also have a whole page of other really cute free sewing patterns that they designed! And also a ton of FREE QUILT PATTERNS that are really good ones! Post about free quilting patterns from Art Gallery Fabrics coming soon.
Switch out the above fabric combination for something more subtle and versatile. Perhaps try a corduroy.
I plan to make this bag out of denim! I have a lot of old denim sitting around that I’ll probably never wear (or fit in) again! Le sigh. So in an effort to make lemonade out of a sour situation I plan to re-purpose that denim for pieces to make this bag. Possibly in a patchwork denim style. The strap will definitely include patches of different kinds of denim. Perhaps the body of the bag too. Great for odd shaped pieces too. Stitch those together free-form quilt-style to make a larger piece of fabric to work with. Then use this fabric to cut the pattern out as is to form some great irregular designs!
If using a heavy weight fabric like denim, skip the interfacing and just follow the directions as is.
Recycle your old clothing, linens, scrap materials etc. This is the perfect project for it. It doesn’t need large swaths of fabric, so it can be a great way to make use of scrap fabric.
I also like this pattern because I wanted to make a toddler or baby purse and was hoping to translate the pattern to a smaller scale for a cute little girlie purse! Or perhaps enlarge the pattern for a larger adult messenger-style purse.
I got a new sewing machine for christmas!! Wahoooo! Here was my first little test project on it. I tried a few stitches out on some Quilt Weight Cotton, some Home Dec Weight Cotton, and … denim!
It all started out when the Treasure Hunter asked me to fix a pair of his fave denim jeans which had an awkward tear in the crotch area! After fixing that up, we decided to do a little denim customization and added a fabric detail to the cuff on a pair of denim jeans. I used some scrap material from a beautiful fabric with wood grain print.
I didn’t do much measuring and just eyeballed everything. There wasn’t much need to true up the fabric or precise measuring. I did not even break out the iron or pre-wash the fabric. All bad habits but for a simple experiment it was fine. I marked about 4 inches from the edge of the jean cuff (see below pic) and cut out a strip of fabric 4 inches wide and long enough to wrap around the entire pant leg. Pinned and sewed! Making sure to pre-fold in the edges where I could. I also made sure to sew as invisibly as possibly by making all my stitches near the seams.
- Cut a 4 inch wide strip (add some extra width for folding down). Long enough to wrap around the entire cuff with some extra for folding in.
- Fold in the lower edge. I folded down about 1/2 inch. This edge will be attached to the bottom of the cuff. Pin down the fold.
- Turn pants inside out. Line up the folded edge to the edge of the cuff. See here. Pin it down. Leaving the leftover length by the inseam. Line up the fabric pattern or nap in the way you find most appealing. Try folding the cuff up to see how the pattern shows.
- Sew as flush along the bottom edge of the cuff (near the original cuff seam) as possible from inseam to inseam. Fold down one flap to overlap the other. Try to make sure the flap meets at the inseam. This is where you will sew to seal it. Trim excess.
- Then sew along the other end of the fabric from inseam to inseam. Sew right over the overlapping flaps to seal. Make sure fabric is smooth and flat against the jean.
- Finally sew along the inseam where the flaps overlap. Sew as close to the original seam as possible! Done!
Choose any fabric you desire for your denim cuff accents! Great for fabric scraps. Fold the cuffs back down for normal style jeans.
I chose this beautiful fabric on the left.
Brazilian Rose Wood
Graphic Design BNP by Bold Inc.
Woodworking Landscape Products
❤ Thanks to the Treasure Hunter for the beautiful fabric!!
After finding a great inspiration in these IKEA fabrics and some encouragement from Twitter friends, I took a look into making my first quilt. I figure it will make a lovely dead-of-winter project for January and a lovely post-holiday present for myself for once. Plus, it would be great to make use of scrap fabrics. Plus, I need a blanket!
First stop, here are a few free ones from Quilting.about.com ranging from easier to harder. I figure I may try my hand at a few quilt blocks first to see if I can tackle making a whole (Queen-sized) quilt for myself this winter season. I may mix them with solid fabric blocks and work on a nice embroidery pattern too to mix it up while keeping the skill-level at Easy! We shall see.
I liked the simple design pattern. Great for a monochromatic color scheme (I’d like my quilt to be cream/ivory/white tones) and also a good learner pattern to get my feet wet with quilting techniques. No triangular shapes or too many little pieces and the square shapes make less waste fabric and a more efficient use of fabric. Makes an 8-inch quilt block. [pattern]
I do want to try a star pattern with triangular pieces too. This pattern was one of the simpler ones I found that was still appealing and that had a star pattern. I liked this pattern also for a monochrome quilt. It’s more intricate than the Log Cabin, having more little pieces per block and a more complex design pattern. Makes a 12-inch quilt block. [pattern]
This was my third fave of the bunch also because I felt it would look cute in a cream monochrome too. Less complex than the star one above yet the design pattern still had some meat to it and also it has a good mix of small pieces rectangular and triangular pieces. Perhaps a great “second block” to try. So a good alternative if the Evening Star is too hard as a first foray is too ambitious. Makes a 9-inch quilt block. [pattern]
My favorite star design of the bunch. And probably the hardest. Some points on the star are made up of a myriad of smaller triangles, 17 to be exact. So probably much harder to work with for a newbie quilter. At least the pattern design itself is not as complex as say the Evening Star one shown above. Another benefit is this quilt block pattern is an especially great use of tiny scrap fabric because it contains so many extra small triangle pieces. Makes a 12-inch quilt block. [pattern]
If you’re in New York, then we have a shop for you! I also stopped into City Quilter over the weekend to check out this wonderful shop all dedicated to quilting! They have a huge selection of beautiful fabrics and also everything you need to make your quilt from Cotton Batting and Embroidery Stencils, to tools, books, and magazines, to a lovely display of many beautiful quilts and quilt art!! They also teach classes in their back room which looks like it got a face-lift since last time I visited.
Diary of a Quilter
This cute blog is filled with great tips and tutorials and it’s of course dedicated to quilting mania! Check it out here http://www.diaryofaquilter.com/
Note: Quilting will require a few special tools that a home-sewer may not already have including a rotary cutter, self-healing mat, and non-slip grid ruler like an Olfa or OmniGrid. My first sewing class was taught by a quilter so these were the first tools I learned with!
Constructing a quilt will also help demonstrate a lot of great sewing techniques like Top-Stitching for embellishment or Embroidery, fabric grain, measuring and cutting, and color values. So it will be a fun and easy-going project to tackle and in the end I’ll get a lovely present made by me for me!
Some other nice free resources for quilt block patterns and some basic info on how to construct a quilt:
12.5″ x 7″ Med-Heavy Weight Cotton Fabric (2 pieces)
9″ Zipper (1)
Finished Dimensions: 11in x 5in
Duration: 2 hours
Dressmaker Shears (or Rotary Cutter + Quilting Ruler + Self-Healing Mat)
Embroidery Scissors (or Thread Cutter)
Pins, Tailor’s Chalk, Iron
Pinking Shears (optional)
Seam Ripper (optional)
Skill Level: Beginner
I’m using Black Quiet from the Echino Collection by Etsuko Furuya for Kokka Fabrics Japan, 45% Linen, 55% Cotton, Home Dec Weight
Zigzag Stitch Method – Set sewing machine to Zigzag. Zigzag Stitch on and off the very edge around the entire border of the fabric to “seal” it. Run off the edge of the fabric at each corner to keep the corners crisp. Continue until all four borders are sealed.
Pinking Shears + Straight Stitch Method – Straight Stitch around the entire border of the fabric with a 2cm Seam Allowance. In other words, sew 2cm into the fabric leaving 2cm of border fabric. Pivot fabric at each corner. To Pivot – When you reach 2cm to the end of the fabric, leave the needle in the fabric, lift the presser foot, turn the fabric, lock presser foot back down, and continue until the last corner. Pivot one last time and sew over a few stitches in the first side to finish. Then using Pinking Shears, trim the edge of the fabric as close to the stitches as possible.
Serger Method – This requires a serger machine!
Reclaimed yarn by Magic Pixie Knitter
How much more do-it-yourself can knitting, crocheting, and sewing your own things get? By making your own yarn or fabric! But how without learning a whole new discipline for each? Well think about resurrecting some old yarn or fabric for some truly Do-It-Yourself Do-It-Yourself. A great economical and eco-friendly way to save too!
2 Ways for DIY Fabric
Save all old clothes, linens, curtains, etc. Perhaps these fabrics or textiles can be used for sample garments or muslins, a bunch of small zippered pouches or wallets. Or for quilting. I know I have a sea of denim that would be better put to good use than thrown out or donated.
Shop thrift shops, Good Will, or Salvation Army for large-sized garments that can be cut down to harvest their fabrics. You may find that there are many vintage pattern gems to be found and for beyond cheap to boot! Very economical especially if you are experimenting with ideas and techniques. Also great for making sample garments, just look for garments made out of materials that most closely match the final garment you’d like to create.
2 Ways for DIY Yarn
Make some T-Shirt Yarn from some old t-shirts for some unique projects like braided, knit, or crochet belts, necklaces, and accessories. Great for re-dyeing! New Dress A Day has a nice video tutorial on dyeing fabric.
Buy a sweater at a thrift store to salvage the yarn. Harvesting this yarn will require patient unraveling and soaking in lukewarm water to smooth out the yarn. Drying, then re-winding CraftStylish has a nice write-up on this. With very detailed steps in how to go about unraveling. Neauveau.com also a nice tutorial. More on harvesting yarn here on Re-Nest.com that includes choosing the right sweater and looking for wool rather than synthetics.
Shop it up! Keep your eyes peeled for good thrift shops in your area. The dingier the better because you are looking for cheap prices and large-sized garments less likely to be found in more hipster-style vintage shops. A great way to “shop” without feeling guilty considering you’ll be recycling old garments while supporting your hobby!
Save your scraps! Not for quilting but for swatches. I like to save a swatch of each fabric or yarn in a fabric or yarn book for swatches. Or keep them with your pattern notes. Be sure to include handy information like the manufacturer and pattern or yarn weight and color code. And of course the material or fiber content!
Oliver+S, known for their lovely illustrated childrens patterns, gave away a free skirt pattern not too long ago on their blog: www.oliverands.com/blog. Their cute site and easy to follow patterns are great for the budding sewer.
An easy, no-pattern, sewing pattern for an elastic waist dirndl-style skirt from Oliver + S, The Lazy Days Skirt. http://www.oliverands.com/blog/2008/08/lazy-days-skirt-free-pattern.html [pdf] Easily modified to make an adult garment!
Get your rotary cutters out for some rotary cutting practice! I saw this nifty posting on how to turn an old t-shirt into some unique yarn! From Fuck Yeah Craft!
Visit the Fuck Yeah Craft! website for a step-by-step tutorial on how to create approx. 20-30 yards of “yarn” from an old t-shirt, a rotary cutter, quilting ruler, and a self-healing mat. It’s a great way to re-use old t-shirts. Perhaps even re-dye them to suit your needs.
Note: I started saving all my old clothes, linens, etc ever since I started getting interested in sewing. I have a ton of old denim I’m looking to do something with. Perhaps lots of little zippered pouches for Christmas. So save all your old clothes, linens, etc. to recycle them into new things! Especially, great if you’d like to practice some projects just for fun.
Update: The tutorial linked above seems to be down. But here is another very similar one until I can get my tutorial up. http://hautemacabre.com/2009/10/diy-upcycled-t-shirt-scarf/