Showing posts with label technique. Show all posts
Showing posts with label technique. Show all posts

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Pleats tutorial

Hi all
What a rainy weekend it has turned out to be!  I have spent much of my time at work so am hoping it will rain itself out as I head towards some much needed time off!  Though I would take some time this morning to blog my tutorial on pleats.

I love pleats - they are cute and look gorgeous when done right.  I love the shape they add to clothes and as you saw in my last post I've started to use them in bags as well.  They can be adapted to any style you like and any shape or size so for me it is a must in your stash of sewing skills.

So what will you need - your fabric of choice, dress pins, a tape measure, tailors chalk, iron and a needle/sewing machine and thread.

1.  You need to measure the length of your fabric and decide how big your pleats will be.  I chose 2cm pleats to be every 4cms.  This means that in total I will need 10cm per pleat because the fold uses 3x2cm of fabric.  To work this out for your pleats take the size you chose for your pleat, times it by 3 and then add this figure to the gap you want between pleats.  I marked this out along the top of the fabric using pen so you can see it but you will want to use tailors chalk that won't mark or run ink over your fabric.
So I have marked 0cm then 4cm then 8cm then 10cm.  Then I repeat this again until I reach the end of the fabric.

2. You now want to start folding the fabric to create the pleats.  You want to take the 8cm marking and bring it over the the 4cm marking
This should mean that the 10 cm marking sits just on the fold leaving you with a neat 2cm pleat.  Pin this with the pin pointing up towards the edge of your fabric.  Then you repeat the step taking the 8cm back to the 4cm and pinning until you reach the end of your fabric. You should be left with something a little like this.
As you can see it creates a nice curve to the fabric which is why pleating is often used for skirts - it perfectly sets up the waist band.

3. Now you want to press this out.  This is a really important step if you want your pleats to sit nicely.  The fabric should naturally show you how long the pleats fall - if you want a full pleat all the way to the bottom of your fabric you need to ensure you measure the pleats all the way down otherwise they will loose some of their shape.

4. Finally you run a straight stitch along the top of the fabric and remove your pins.  While you are sewing check that the pleats aren't folding up under your machine foot (if your using a machine) and adjust as you got to ensure they are going through the machine perfectly flat.

Now you add this to your skirt or bag or whatever it is that you are using it for.  This is a skirt that I made a year of so ago out of round table cloth.  I used pleats to bring it in to fit me at the waist and it gives the skirt such  a full feel - perfect for twirling I have to say :)

If you decide you want to do box pleats you follow the same idea except you turn the folds round.  SO the first fold you would bring the 8cm to the 4cm mark.  Then you would swap and bring the 4cm to the 8cm and continue alternating to create a boxed look on your product.

Have fun experimenting and as always give me a post of anything you produce!

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Getting my applique on!

So I've been sewing for quite a while now and in a more focused way for a number of months.  It is easy to get stuck in a bit of a rut and just do the same things over and over again with different fabric.  So I'm trying to make myself practice different techniques and maybe make some more interesting projects rather than just rely on finding fabulous fabrics to make things fun! (although I will always love beautiful fabrics)

Today it was all about applique.  I've done it before but never quite gotten the neatness that I want in a finished product.  I sat down and have had a good play around - practice session over and I set to work.

I found that choosing a stitch length just above zero worked best for me and then selecting the narrowest zig zag stitch that my machine offered.  I don't have a special foot for my machine to do applique so just used a standard one.  Once I got going my best advice would be to take it slow and steady.

I had bought some great fabric at a charity shop last week so decided to use some of it to make an apron and to incorporate in one of my favourite shapes - a star!  So here was how it went.

I printed out a template of a star to make sure it was completely the shape I wanted and then cut the fabric to this template. I prepared the pocket out of plain fabric so that it was ready to go onto the apron and then placed my star on and ironed.
  A slow and steady zig zag round all the edges of the star sealed in the raw edges of the star and gives it a really neat look.  

This is such a simple sewing technique and if you take time to do it well it can look really effective.  This is my finished product and you can see how just adding the star adds something more to the apron.  
It is also such a good technique that uses up small scraps of fabric and turns them into something beautiful.

I'll keep working on improving my applique and let you know about how it goes.  I'm trying to decide what stitching technique to try out next - have you got any suggestions?  I'm willing to give anything to go and blog about it - even if my attempts don't go as planned :)

I hope you all have a wonderful week and as always if you give this a go then please do share photos!