Wednesday, April 16, 2014

How Jeans Are Made

Did you know that jean denim is made from a thread that is too blue?  For this reason, indigo-dyed threads and white threads are blended in the weaving of the denim!  It's usually a mix of 3 blue threads to one white thread. Additionally, it's usually made with a diagonal twill weave--the warp (vertical threads, threaded through the machine) is blue, and the weft (threads which are horizontally woven through the warp to create your fabric) is white, which makes the outer face of the fabric predominantly blue and the underside white.  Take a look at your jeans, and see!

Did you know that the origin of the fabric name, "denim," derives from a blue fabric that was called "serge de Nîmes" ("in/of Nimes," a city in France)?

How about that finished jeans are ground, sanded, sprayed with stains, laser-cut, and washed with volcanic rocks to give you the classic, worn denim looks we know and love?

Check out this neat Youtube video that illustrates "How Jeans Are Made," and a brief History of the American Jean, which was developed by Levi Strauss to replace a chaffing canvas version of his "waist overalls."

Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Danger Dragon and Octopus

Check out Jayne Danger's Dragons and Octopi on Etsy!

These cute plushies are a great example of how you can abstract an animal into a group of geometric shapes, while still having them be recognizable and fun.  And cute!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Liz Makes: A Crochet Monster Pouch!

Liz has a great variety of craft tutorials and recipes on her blog, "Liz Makes."

Check out this fun crocheted monster with a zipper for a toothy mouth.  Liz provides great pictures and clear step-by-step instructions.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

A New Milestone!

Sweater Slippers

In the mood for a cozy project?

I've seen a few links on Facebook and Pinterest for simple DIY slippers made out of sweaters.

Got any soft or unique sweaters with stains or holes in them?  Impulse-bought one at a thrift store?

Why not give it a shot?

Here are two helpful tutorials:

Wednesday, April 2, 2014


Finishing the towel robe!  Here's where it got a little more creative.  I hemmed the bottom and made some tweaks based on my friend's feedback.
When testing out the robe, my friend reported that the longer length was nice for warmth, but got in the way when moving around or bending over to pick things up. 
Making the robe shorter.
I shortened the hem about 4-5", and then folded the edge under a 1/2".  My final robe measured 45 1/4" long when pinned.
It was easiest to pin the hem on the floor.
I stitched the hem down with the matching double row of zig-zag (I should note that I compared the neck seam, which was only folded under once, with the hood and sleeve seams, which were folded under twice, creating a triple row of fabric.  There was not much difference in sturdiness or thickness, so I decided to skip that extra pinning and stitching step for the bottom hem, and only folded it once).
Stitching the hem down.
This was a completely original idea that my friend proposed.  He asked if it would be possible to add a small hole in the robe to pull clothes through when changing.  I ended up stitching some of my hem scraps together to make a panel to go under one sleeve. 
Using scraps to create my inner "pocket."
This is very similar to inner-pocket construction, but without the inner seam you get an armpit tunnel instead of a pocket...
Stitching the panel into place.
Then the robe was tried on.  The armpit access was functional and discreet.  I trimmed down the edges and stitched the panel down again.
Test-panel: tacked in place.  
Pockets can be simple or very complex.  I found this fun blog that gives you beautiful examples of 10 kinds of pockets.  She also provides links to tutorials for each one.
So...Inner vs. Outer Pockets?
I wasn't sure if I should make inner, hidden pockets, or a more visible "patch" pocket.  I figured that patches would allow me more freedom.  I had some scraps of the right size left, so I made two to test out.
I started with two 7" squares, for the pockets, and two 7" x 3" rectangles, for a decorative lapel:
I pinned one rectangle onto the opposite color square.  Then I pinned the other three sides of the rectangle, tucking all edges under to create a finished, slightly rounded lapel.
I stitched the main seam connecting the lapel to the pocket.   I then flipped the lapel over to have both right sides of the fabric face up, and tacked the lapel down using the same finishing techniques I used on the hood--two rows of zig-zag with a variegated (multi-hue) green thread.
One row of zig-zag stitch
Two rows of zig-zag--a well-secured seam, and a matching look.
These patch pockets would be a great way to add some design embellishment.  You can embroider or stitch some shapes onto your patch, and then slap that pocket onto your robe, and voila!  Instant flair! 
For this robe, we chose to stay relatively plain.  We did decide to add Velcro to the pocket opening, for the safe storage of car keys, etc.
I marked the pocket location with pins, and then pinned down and sewed Velcro onto the pocket and robe. I used a double-row of zig-zag around the edges to hold the Velcro strips down.  Note: the Velcro packaging recommended having the hooked strip face away from the body for better function, so I sewed that piece onto the robe.
Positioning the Velcro and pocket.

Sewing Velcro into place.

I inverted the pocket so that it was inside out and upside down, and stitched the bottom seam of the pocket to the robe with two rows of zig-zag.  I then folded it up into place and pinned the sides under.
Pinning the sides of the pocket to the robe.
I sewed around the sides and bottom of the pocket twice with the zig-zag stitch.  I stitched each side of the Velcro opening several more times to reinforce the seam, since they will see extra wear and tear.

The finished pocket.

The finished pocket, close up.
 And there you have it!  The saga of the hoodie towel robe is complete...
The finished product:

 The pocket is in the front right (green) panel when worn, and the clothing access is directly under the left (brown) armpit.

Full front view.
Full back view.

 Good luck with your own!