Craft Book Excerpts at Canadian Living

In case you don’t already own Lotta Jansdotter’s Simple Sewing book or Amy Butler’s In Stitches book, you can visit the Canadian Living site to see a couple of projects excerpted from each book. This way you can try out a project (or two) before committing to buy the book.
The site is also great for browsing other DIY projects, including excerpts from other books.

Picnic Placemat from Lotta Jansdotter’s Simple Sewing

Tote Bag from Lotta Jansdotter’s Simple Sewing

Kitty Tunnel from Amy Butler’s In Stitches

Floor Cushions from Amy Butler’s In Stitches

How to Make a Headband, Version 2: The Wide Headband

Wide Headband with Covered Elastic - 1
Wide Headband with Covered Elastic - 2

Cotton voile headband measuring 3.5" (89 mm) wide by 15.5" (39 cm) long with covered elastic measuring 0.5" (13 mm) wide by 4" (10 cm) long.

Materials

  • Woven fabric, like lightweight cotton or silk
  • 0.5" (13 mm) wide elastic–you’ll need a length of about 4.5" (11 cm), but you can wait to cut it until the fitting stage
  • Safety pin or loop turner

Instructions

Measuring and Cutting

  • Main Piece: Cut 1 rectangle from your fabric as shown in Diagram 1. The width range of 4.5" (11 cm) to 12.5" (32 cm) results in finished headband widths ranging from 2" (51 mm) to 6" (15 cm), respectively. Multiply your desired finished headband width by two and add 0.5" (13 mm) to determine the exact fabric width to cut.
  • Connector Piece: Cut 1 rectangle from your fabric as shown in Diagram 1.
  • Note: Any grainline orientation should be fine, but laying the long sides of the rectangles crosswise (i.e., perpendicular to the selvage) will use the least fabric yardage.

    Diagram 1

    Diagram 1

Sewing

  1. Fold the short sides of the main piece in half with right sides together and, using a 0.25" (6 mm) seam allowance, sew the long raw edges together to create a tube as shown in Diagram 2. Repeat with the connector piece.
  2. Diagram 2

    Diagram 2
  3. Turn the main piece right side out and press so that the seam is positioned at center back (CB). Repeat with the connector piece. Use a safety pin or loop turner to turn the pieces right side out if needed.
  4. Insert the elastic inside the connector piece using a safety pin or loop turner.
  5. Sew the elastic and connector piece together at one end with a 0.25" (6 mm) seam allowance as shown in Diagram 3. (On the other end, just leave the end of the elastic sticking out for now; you can pin the end of the connector piece to the elastic to keep it in place if needed).
  6. Diagram 3

    Diagram 3
  7. Mark the short ends of the main piece about 0.375" (10 mm) away from each long (folded) edge as shown in Diagram 4. In between the markings on each end, make pleats as needed so that the width in between the markings matches the width of the connector piece, which in this case is 0.625" (16 mm). If your main piece is on the narrow side, try one knife pleat in the center; if it’s on the wide side, try multiple knife pleats. You can also try an inverted or box pleat as shown in Diagram 4. Pin or baste stitch the pleats to secure them.
  8. Diagram 4

    Diagram 4
  9. Lay the main piece down with the front side facing up (i.e., CB seam facing down). On top of the main piece, lay the connector piece down with the back side facing up (i.e., CB seam facing up), aligning the edge of the connector piece that is sewn to the elastic with one of the ends of the main piece. The connector piece should be laying on top of the pleated portion of the main piece and should fit just within the markings you made on the main piece. Fold the short sides of the main piece 0.375" over the connector piece (the folded sides will overlap), and sew all layers together with a 0.25" (6 mm) seam allowance as shown in Diagram 5.
  10. Diagram 5

    Diagram 5
  11. Turn the headband right side out and test the fit by trying on the headband while stretching the elastic to the unattached end of the main piece. Cut elastic to desired length.
  12. Repeat Step 4 with the other ends of the elastic and connector piece.
  13. Repeat Step 6 with the other ends of the connector piece and main piece.
  14. Turn the headband right side out.

Retail Roundup: Head Scarves

Head Scarf with Covered Elastic - 1

Links to Retail Examples of the DIY Head Scarf

Juicy Couture cherry print head wrap, 13" wide by 15.5" long; gathered at the ends and attached to 1.5" wide by 6.5" long elastic; in printed voile.

J. Crew No-Hassle head scarf, 9.5" wide by 16" long; pleated at the ends and attached to 1.25" wide by 6" long covered elastic; in lightweight printed cotton.

Plus, several from Anthropologie: Blocks & Blooms headband, Cafe Au Lait headband, and Links headwrap, all in either silk or cotton, ranging from 6-7.5" wide and attached to covered elastic.

And finally, Intuition’s multi-print elastic back headband (no details given but you can see some photos).

How to Make a Headband, Version 1: The Head Scarf

Head Scarf with Covered Elastic - 1
Head Scarf with Covered Elastic - 2

Silk head scarf measuring 10" (25 cm) wide by 15.5" (39 cm) long with covered elastic measuring 1" (25 mm) wide by 6" (15 cm) long.

Materials

  • Woven fabric, like lightweight cotton, linen, silk chiffon, or silk charmeuse
  • 1" (25 mm) wide elastic–you’ll need a length of about 6" (15 cm), but you can wait to cut it until the fitting stage
  • Safety pin or loop turner

Instructions

Measuring and Cutting

  • Main Piece: Cut 1 rectangle from your fabric as shown in Diagram 1. You can vary the width quite a bit depending on how much of your head you want covered; I’d say 6" (15 cm) to 13" (33 cm) is the general range for this style.
  • Connector Piece: Cut 1 rectangle from your fabric as shown in Diagram 1. The 2.75" (70 mm) dimension is sized for 1" (25 mm) wide elastic. If you choose a different width for your elastic, update this dimension by multiplying the width of your elastic by 2 and adding 0.75" (19 mm).
  • Note: Any grainline orientation should be fine, but laying the long sides of the rectangles crosswise (i.e., perpendicular to the selvage) will use the least fabric yardage.

    Diagram 1

    Diagram 1

Sewing

  1. Hem the long raw edges of the main piece by folding each raw edge 0.25" (6 mm) to the wrong side twice, as shown in Diagram 2. Sew along the upper edge of the hem. If you are using a very lightweight material like chiffon and/or using a rolled hem presser foot, you can sew a narrower 0.125" (3 mm) hem.
  2. Diagram 2

    Diagram 2
  3. Pleat or gather the short, raw edges of the main piece so that they are the same width as the elastic, 1" (25 mm) in this case. See Diagram 3. To gather, sew a gathering stitch (i.e., a long, straight stitch with the tension loosened) within the 0.5" (13 mm) seam allowance, leaving long thread ends; pull the thread ends to gather the edge to the width of the elastic and then tie the threads. To pleat, try using overlapping knife pleats and sew a basting stitch within the 0.5" (13 mm) seam allowance to hold down the pleats.
  4. Diagram 3

    Diagram 3
  5. Fold the short sides of the connector piece in half with right sides together and, using a 0.25" (6 mm) seam allowance, sew the long raw edges together to create a tube as shown in Diagram 4.
  6. Diagram 4

    Diagram 4
  7. Turn the connector piece right side out with a safety pin or loop turner and press so that the seam is positioned at center back (CB).
  8. Fold and press the raw edges of the connector piece 0.25" (6 mm) to the inside of the tube.
  9. Insert the elastic inside the connector piece tube and pin the connector piece onto the elastic so that the elastic sticks out on both ends.
  10. Overlap one end of the elastic 0.5" (13 mm) onto one of the raw ends of the main piece and sew them together as shown in Diagram 5. Test the fit by trying on the headband while stretching the elastic to the unattached end of the main piece. Cut elastic to desired length. Overlap and sew the unattached ends of the elastic and main piece like you did on the other side.
  11. Diagram 5

    Diagram 5
  12. Slide the ends of the connector piece just past the elastic ends, keeping the raw edges of the connector piece folded inside the tube. Topstitch next to the folded edge of one of the connector pieces. Topstitch again about 0.25" (6 mm) further down the connector piece. See Diagram 6. Repeat the topstitching on the other side.
  13. Diagram 6

    Diagram 6

whipup

Retail Roundup: Summer Scarves

Wide Fringed Scarf - 1

Links to Retail Examples of the DIY Wide Fringed Scarf

Urban Outfitters striated crinkled linen scarf , 70" by 25" in linen gauze with fringe.
Faliero Sarti Ombre Scarf, in crinkled lightweight cotton with short fringe.
Extra-wide linen-viscose scarves from SCOOP (76" by 38") and Intuition (74" by 39"), both with fringe and in several solid colors.
Plus, Coquette explores Jessica Alba’s summer scarf collection.

Retail Roundup: Gathered Skirt with Knit Waistband

Gathered Skirt with Knit Waistband - Front

Links to Retail Examples of the DIY Gathered Skirt with Knit Waistband

J. Crew airy cotton skirt, knee-length extra-fine cotton lawn with a 4.75" thick knit waistband, in several solid colors.
Anthropologie Reversible Busy Bee skirt, knee-length silk skirt with a thick knit waistband, in a navy and yellow print which reverses to solid navy.
Anthropologie Blackleaf skirt, calf-length cotton batiste with a thick knit waistband, in white with black appliques on the skirt body.
And, featured at Shopaholics Anonymous, an American Eagle Outfitters skirt in white with a drawstring at the top of the knit waistband.

How to Make a Gathered Skirt with Knit Waistband

Gathered Skirt with Knit Waistband - Front
Gathered Skirt with Knit Waistband - Back

Knee-length skirt with 4" (10 cm) knit waistband (shown folded over) and gathered cotton voile skirt body. The circumference of the finished skirt body (ungathered) is twice the hip circumference, and the length of the finished skirt body is 18" (46 cm).

Materials

  • Knit fabric with at least 40% stretch for waistband
  • Lightweight woven fabric, like cotton lawn or voile, for skirt body
  • Optional lightweight woven fabric for lining

Instructions

Measuring and Cutting

  • Waistband: Cut 1 rectangle from your knit fabric as shown in Diagram 1.
  • Note for the Length (L): The waistband length of 9" (23 cm) used in Diagram 1 creates a finished waistband that is 4" (10 cm) thick. For a different waistband thickness, multiply the desired thickness by 2 and add 1" (25 mm) for seam allowances. For example, for a 3" (76 mm) thick finished waistband, cut a length of 7" (18 cm), and, for a 5" (13 cm) thick finished waistband, cut a length of 11" (28 cm).

    Note for the Width (W): For the best fit, you can figure out exactly how wide to cut the fabric for your waistband. Wrap a folded piece of your knit fabric crosswise around your waist where you want the waistband to be, stretching it for a snug fit. Mark the width and add 1" (25 mm) for seam allowances.

  • Skirt Body: Cut 2 rectangles from your woven fabric as shown in Diagram 1. To determine the skirt body length, measure from where you want the bottom edge of the waistband to hit on you hips down to your desired hemline, and add 1" (25 mm) for seam allowances.
    For example, I cut the skirt body 19" (48 cm) long for a knee-length skirt.
  • Skirt Lining (optional): Cut 2 rectangles from your lining fabric as shown in Diagram 1. For a very long skirt, this lining won’t be suitable; you’ll need an A-line version for greater hemline sweep.
  • Diagram 1

    Diagram 1

Sewing the Knit Waistband

  1. First we’re going to sew the waistband into a tube that will fit around your waist; it will have only one seam, which will be at the center back (CB). To do this, fold the width of the waistband in half with right sides together and sew the lengthwise raw edges (i.e., the edges that are 9" in length) together, as shown in Diagram 2.
  2. Diagram 2

    Diagram 2
  3. Now fold the waistband in half lengthwise with the wrong sides together, as shown in Diagram 3, and pin in place.
  4. Diagram 3

    Diagram 3
  5. Divide the waistband into quarters by marking the raw edges at center front (CF) and at each side.

Sewing the Skirt

  1. With right sides together, sew the side seams of the skirt body. Repeat with the lining.
  2. Divide the skirt into quarters by marking the top edge of the skirt body at CF and CB. Repeat with the lining.
  3. Sew a gathering stitch (i.e., a long, straight stitch with the tension loosened) with contrasting thread 0.375" (10 mm) from the top edge of the skirt body, starting and stopping with each quarter section of the skirt body and leaving long thread ends. Sew a second row of gathering stitches in the same manner 0.25" (6 mm) from the top edge of the skirt body. Repeat with the lining.
  4. Pull the thread ends on each row of gathering stitches to gather the skirt body to the width of the waistband, distributing the gathering evenly across each quarter section of the skirt body. Repeat with the lining.
  5. Place the skirt body around the lining with wrong sides facing, matching quarter markings. Pin in place.

Attaching the Waistband to the Skirt Body

  1. Pin the top of the skirt body to the (raw-edged) bottom of the folded waistband, with the right side of the skirt body facing the waistband and with quarter markings aligned. With the skirt body on top, sew the skirt to the waistband using a stretch stitch, as shown in Diagram 4 (if you have a lining, the lining will be on top with the skirt body directly underneath it and the waistband on the bottom).
  2. Diagram 4

    Diagram 4
  3. Remove the gathering stitches from the skirt body and the lining.

Finishing Up

    Hem the skirt by folding the hem edge 0.25" (6 mm) to the wrong side twice, as shown in Diagram 5. Sew along the upper edge of the hem. Repeat with the lining, making sure the lining is about 1" (25 mm) shorter than the skirt.

    Diagram 5

    Diagram 5

Retail Roundup: Sarongs

Sarong 2

Links to Retail Examples of the DIY Sarong and the DIY No-Sew Sarong

Lotta Stensson sarong, 67" by 38" printed silk chiffon in plum with a border print.
Calypso Mirabel sarong, 76" by 37.5" sand-colored linen blend with tassels.
Scoop Ikat sarong in a blue or orange cotton blend with a border print and tassels.
Calypso Kailash sarong in turquoise or peach printed silk with fringe.
Calypso Island Batik sarong in turquoise silk.

How to Make a No-Sew Sarong

No-Sew Sarong

Close-up of a no-sew sarong made from cotton voile. The sarong has selvage edges along its length and fringed edges along its width.

You can easily avoid all the hemming involved with the DIY Sarong by selecting the right fabric and doing a little fringing.

Start with 2 yd (1.8 m) of a lightweight woven fabric that is 36-45" (91-114 cm) wide and has nice-looking selvages (the selvages will end up as the finished lengthwise edges of your sarong). See Diagram 1.

Diagram 1

Diagram 1

Fringe the short, raw edges of the sarong by pulling out the crosswise threads until you have 1-3" (3-8 cm) of fringe on each edge. A seam ripper is helpful to grab individual threads. You can leave the fringe as-is or create tassels by knotting it as shown in the DIY Wide Fringed Scarf.

Free Patterns: Belle Epoque Tank Top Tutorial

Belle Epoque Top-Front
Belle Epoque Top-Back

Cotton jersey knit tank top based on belle epoque’s tutorial. The straps are made from self-fabric, each one cut lengthwise in a 2" (5 cm) wide strip with the raw edges left to curl up.

I found a tie top tank tutorial at belle epoque (via Craft) a couple of weeks ago and tried it out for myself. My version seems to be a much drearier take on it than the summery printed ones I saw in the belle epoque tutorial Flickr group, but I figure it’s a great addition to the basic tank either way. Thanks, belle epoque!