Friday, March 20, 2015

Figuring out elastic tightness/tensions

I got an email today that was sent as an MMS and wouldn't allow me to respond via email, SO...

This post is for Caroline!

Her question:
Hello! First, I must say I absolutely love your patterns and tutorials. Thank You for posting them! I just am wondering about the elastics - How do I know how tight I should make them? The pattern itself does not say and I cannot find a post about it.

My answer:
Since every brand is so different, I do it by feel.  When I teach lessons, I can always show people…  but it is hard to explain it on my blog.

I use 3/8” polyester braided elastic.  My favorite brand is Stretchrite personally.

Basically, you run it through and sew down the far end (like I show in my cased elastics tutorial).  Then, for through the legs, you pull it as tight as you can to where the fabric can still stretch all the way flat, but the elastic has no extra stretch.  Then you just release it a TINY bit and sew down on the other end of the casing and then cut the elastic about 1/2” after your sewing line.  Then repeat on the other side.  With practice, it becomes very easy to keep them even *by-feel* like this.  If you pull it too tight, the fabric won’t be able to fully stretch out.  Then you know it is too tight and to let out a little slack.  For the back elastics, I only pull about half that tight.  To where it EASILY stretches out with no resistance but still gathers when released.

It can help to sew some practice casings in scrap fabric and just play around with the feel of different elastic tensions.

Happy sewing!
- Arfy

I know this sounds a little wishy-washy, but I just don't know another way to describe what I do.  Measuring just doesn't work well because for some elastic, they'll end up too tight or too slack because every elastic just has a different amount of *give.*

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Wool or Fleece Longies, Shorties, and Soaker covers.

This is basically a tribute post to Katrina.  When I make her patterns, I dip the front a little extra, and I add a bit more in the back.  I also make thicker waistbands and leg cuffs.  I sometimes use sweater arms and just cut the tops of them to her pattern so they sew together nicely, and/or use the sweater sleeve ends for soaker cuffs, and the stretchy waist portion for the waistband of soakers or longies.

If I am using very thin wool, I do a full second body piece rather than just the wetzone piece.

There are so many ways to sew up her patterns.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Keychain Diaper and Turned Doll Diaper

These two templates have been up on my blog for a long time, but I've never spent the effort to produce a sewing tutorial for them.  I made this a combined tutorial because these two patterns are sewn up the exact same way.

 Cut out your inner and outer fabrics.
I leave a little more extra in the middle of the front to make closing the turning hole easier.
Clip or pin your fabrics together with faces inward.
 Sew around the outsides leaving the turning holes in the front.
Trim off the excess around the sharper curves only.
 Get ready to zig-zag on your elastics!
 Zig-Zag stitch your elastic into the seam allowance while stretching tightly.
 What they should all look like when sewn in.
 Elastic through the legs and across the back.
The same for the doll diaper.
 Invert through the turning hole and get ready to close up the front.

 Now back to the straight stitch to close up and do all your top-stitching.
Make sure you sew far enough in when going around the elastic areas.
You don't want to catch your elastic anywhere but on the very end of them.
 All closed up and ready to add snaps or velcro.
 I used black thread so you could see my sewing, but using matching thread colors will make for a much nicer and more-finished looking product.
 Then just sew a little loop of ribbon to the inside of the keychain diaper to attach your keychain ring to. I don't have one on-hand to show right now.  :)

Hey look!  My daughter discovered that the keychain diaper fits her Barbie dolls!

All my free sewing templates are available for download here: