How to make a reusable giftwrap - Furoshiki Wrapping Cloth

How to make a reusable giftwrap - Furoshiki Wrapping Cloth

I hope you are enjoying some lovely weather where you are. In Rotterdam, the sun is shining brightly for the first time this year and it's warm. Maybe not the perfect weather for indoor crafts (unless you suffer from hayfever ;) so I have a quick sewing project for you. Inspired by furoshiki, a traditional Japanese wrapping cloth you can use as reusable gift wrap or a bag. 

A reusable gift wrap is a great way to reduce waste and I use these wrapping cloths next to the tsuno tie bags to do my part. 

I recently made one that I adorned with a pink sun print. It's quite small 39,5 x 39,5 cm which is about the smallest I would go, but this was the largest I could fit under the glass I have for sun printing. It does fit an A6-sized booklet though and small gift like a bar of soap. 
 
I used a square piece of fabric that I finished with a double fold hem around the edges and mitered corners for a nice detail on the tips. 

You can find the mitered corner explained on the blog; here for narrow seam allowances and here for wider seam allowances. If you have a rolled hem presser foot, that would be a great option, but I have never mastered it even after hours of trying so I'll just keep to a double fold hem. 

What is a good size for a furoshiki wrapping cloth?
The smallest I would go is around 40 x 40 centimeters. which is about 15,75 inches  But I think a larger size is more versatile.

If you have a specific gift you are working with, then the diagonal of the cloth needs to be around three times the length of the gift. You can use a square piece of cloth, a tea towel, or a square scarf to make an educated guess to determine the finished size you need. 

If you are not making a gift wrap for a specific gift...why not make a couple of different sizes. For example:

- 45 x 45 cm / 17,7"x 17,7"
- 50 x 50cm / 19,7 x 19,7
- 60 x 60 cm / 23,6" x 23,6"  
- 80 x 80 cm / 31,5" x 31,5"
- 100 x 100 cm 39,4" x 39,4" 

You get the idea ;) My approach to making these wraps has been to get a good size, but also try and use up the entire width or length of the fabric as efficiently as possible. So reducing waste was a deciding factor for me when determining the size.  

Don't forget to add a seam allowance on top of those finished sizes. So if you were to go for a 1cm (3/8") seam allowance you need to double it for the double fold hem for example:

- cut 47 x 47 cm  to get a finished size of 45 x 45 cm
- cut 18,5" x 18.5"to get a finished size of 17.7" x 17.7"

furoshiki reusable gift wrap

What fabric can you use for reusable gift wraps?
I've had the best success with fairly lightweight fabrics. The fabric with the sun print is a 138 gsm calico. But I've also used a cotton voile, viscose, and I've made a larger size with a thicker fabric...so just experiment, in the end, that's the best way to approach any sewing project. 

Wrapping up
So far I've mentioned fabric and measurements, but of course, there is so much more to it than that. There is history and tradition connected to it. All though all around the world cloth was used to wrap items, in Japan, it evolved from utility into an art and tradition.

For some inspiration here are a few videos with examples of how to use the cloth. 

- A short introduction to Furoshiki with some examples, history and a demonstration by Tomoko Osawa https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2A9YXkbU-6c&t=2s

- A demonstration for 3 different Furoshiki wrapping techniques​​​​​​​
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vDW0bmUe1S4&t=2s

For more on the history and tradition, you can check out the website by Musubi which is a Japanese company that makes furoshiki (since 1937!) with amazing prints...making them a great alternative to sewing them yourself, because that you can something doesn't always have to mean you have to ;)

DIY furoshiki sizing

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Can you learn to sew online? + My favorite sewing classes online

Can you learn to sew online? + My favorite sewing classes online

Can you learn to sew with online sewing classes?

Yes you can learn to sew online. However I think you will advance quicker if you are able to take at least a few in person sewing lessons or a quick demo by a sewing friend, especially when it comes to pattern making, fitting and tailoring techniques.

Let me explain this a bit better, because I think it highly depends on how you like to learn, what you want to learn and how much time you have.

Here are a few examples and my thoughts on:

  • Want to learn basic sewing skills and techniques? I'd say, yes! You can learn this online. You can learn to sew simple bags, zippered pouches, pillows, bedding, aprons, Tsuno tie bags, reusable gift wraps. There are many step by step video tutorials for all these projects. There is probably a video out there explaining how to set up your specific sewing machine. If you buy your machine at a local shop they can often do a quick demo too. To get to know your sewing machine and slowly build your skills, these projects are great. If you are up for a challenge this can be a fun challenge! 

  • Want to learn how to sew simple garments, loose fitting garments, or garments for kids? These are a wonderful step up once you've mastered the basics. You might have to learn to do some simple alterations like, lengthening or shortening a pattern for a better fit. For most of these you'll be able to find free and step by step videos out there. Grainline Studios is an indie pattern company with great video tutorials to accompany many their patterns!

  • Want to learn how to make garments from patterns fit your body perfectly? Now we are getting into the more intermediate / advanced skills. Many sewers do make it work by photographing and filming themselves to check the fit of their garments, however someone with a keen eye for fit and knowledge of pattern alterations is gold! I find this is the hardest to learn from videos, books and photos. 

  • Want to learn how to draft your own patterns with your own measurements? I would say doing an in person course or a few classes would be the way to go. This will give you a great foundation to build on. When I studied fashion we had to make a tailored jacket to with our own measurements, but you were paired up with another student to measure and do the fitting, because it's so hard to do it correctly on your own body. I still have the jacket and the pattern :)

So yes you can probably learn everything online, but in person classes can speed up the learning proces and make it less frustrating. You often work alongside people who are working on the same or similar projects so you get to see a different technique or different materials in action. You get help immediately when you run into a problem, it's fun and I think in person classes just work better for certain people. Even of you live in a small town, there's probably someone offering affordable sewing lessons so you can skip the overwhelm and just get started on the good stuff.

Personally I like to mix online and offline learning, but when it comes to sewing skills I learned the foundation of sewing and patternmaking during my time at the Willem de Kooning Academy where I studied fashion. 

Can you learn to sew for free online?

Yes, you can definitely learn basic sewing skills for free online. There is lots of fantastic content freely available on YouTube. However, it can be very time consuming to find relevant and quality classes online. Plus I often find a lot of YouTube videos will skip over details that are important for total beginners. But it is possible to piece together a complete sewing course from free content, you'll just have to invest time to find the right videos.

If you are reading this and have a tip for a channel with solid beginner videos? please leave a comment below with a link and why we should check out that channel!

What is a good place to find paid sewing classes online? 

So what if you don't have time to piece together all the information and don't mind investing some money in an online course? Online sewing courses are a great option! I've learnt so much online and I still learn something new regularly. I often take online classes because there are some great options out there. I've only had experience with Craftsy, Domestika and Skillshare.

Online courses are often project based, so you'll learn to make a bag, a dress or a jacket and pick up a few handy skills along the way for each project that you do. But there are foundational courses out there too.

If you are like me and like to do on demand classes, then I would suggest looking at Craftsy, Domestika and Skillshare. I have bought several single classes from Domestika (around $10 per class) and Craftsy. With Skillshare I pay for a yearly subscription. I'm also a teacher on Skillshare. Sadly, being a teacher doesn't earn me a free subscription, but I think it's worth the subscription fee​​​​​​​!

Domestika let's you pay per class, and then it's yours. There is a plus membership available with a monthly credit, a discount on all classes + a selection of classes you can freely watch during limited time.

Their sewing video catalogue is limited, but there are a few that look great, like this one by Elisalex from By Hand London. I haven't taken any of their sewing classes, but I've done a few fantastic embroidery classes and water color classes.

Domestika is a curated platform with classes produced by a professional team. The platform works well and they often have nice deals on single classes or bundles where you can save considerably. Many classes are in Spanish some in English, but all have subtitles. I've watched a few Spanish classes and have to rely on the subtitles, which are not always easy to follow since they seem to be automatically generated.

Craftsy has many quality classes and you can buy a single class or use their affordable membership option (in 2022 $7,99 p//m). I just saw they have a cool feature that allows you to share your subscription with 3 friends or family members.

I have only taken embroidery classes on Craftsy, but they were well produced and inspiring, so I expect the same to be true for the sewing classes. They have some classes on fitting that have gotten praise in some of the sewing groups I'm in on Facebook.

I think Craftsy is a great and affordable option if you want access to lots of online sewing classes.

Skillshare only works with an subscription fee, you can't buy single classes. Their catalogue is a mix of Skillshare Originals, Staff Picks and regular classes. Skillshare Originals are produced by Skillshare and are well produced, high quality classes.

The rest of the classes are uploaded and filmed by the teachers, so the quality can differ, however many are good quality and the best get awarded with a Staff Pick badge. Since I have a Skillshare subscription I've watched a few sewing classes and I even uploaded my own class to Skillshare. 

My favorite sewing classes on Skillshare 

To be clear the Skillshare links below are affiliate links and will give you a free 30-day trial, If you decide to sign up after the trial I receive a small commission, it doesn't cost you anything extra, but it does help me make educational content, tutorials and future classes. Plus you get to watch thousands of Skillshare classes not just the sewing classes. I hope the classes I mention will help you to decide if a Skillshare membership is worth it for you.

I've made a list of a couple of my favourite Skillshare classes.  

1. Sewing Basics: Make Your Own Clothing by Denise Bayron 

Denise is a wonderful teacher and the class is focused on total beginners. I don't think the title is completely correct for the class. The class focuses on garment making techniques, but you will not learn to sew a garment from beginning to end in this class.

However Denise breaks down the techniques in understandable chunks so it's easy to follow along as a beginner. She's also good at mentioning the tiny details that beginners need to hear and are often skipped over in random YouTube tutorials.

The sewing techniques covered in this class will give you a decent basic knowledge of techniques you'll definitely come across in garment making. Great practice if you follow along during the class.

The total class duration is 1h 55min and includes a pdf with some additional resources. ​​​​​​​Check out the Beginner sewing class by Denise Bayron.

 

2. Hand Sewing Basics: Work Wonders with Fabric, Needle & Thread by Bernadette Banner, Dress Historian & Filmmaker

Join dress historian and YouTube star Bernadette Banner and go back to hand sewing basics.

My first ever sewing project was a pair of pyjama pants I sewed by hand and I made sooo many mistakes. I wish I had seen Bernadette's class then, but alas my pant sewing was pre internet era. She shares a wealth of knowledge without it getting overwhelming. 

She teaches hand sewing basics for sewing fabric, how to sew on a button by hand and shares many tips and tricks along the way. Hand sewing is such a useful skill even if you have a sewing machine, sometimes you just can't get around it. 

The total class duration is 1h 9m ​​​​​​​Check out Bernadette's class and a 30-day trial.

 

3. Sewing Fundamentals: Your First Zippered Project Made Easy
Dylan Mierzwinski, Illustrator & Lover of Flowers

Dylan is such a fun teacher! The class covers working with the dreaded zipper, which is not as difficult as it sounds. Making a zippered pouch is the perfect place to start and Dylan will take you by the hand and keep you engaged.  

The total class duration is 1h 9m. The class includes a pdf with all the materials needed, doesn't include a PDF pattern because you'll make that in class. Click here for the class and a free 30 day trial to watch ALL Skillshare classes

 

4. Learn to Sew a Crossbody Bag With Cork Fabric a.k.a Cork Leather (Pattern Included) Charlotte Kan, Embroidery / Sewing 

And lastly I'm sharing my own class. In this class by  you'll learn how to sew with cork fabric to make a simple crossbody bag. If you call yourself an adventurous beginner then you should be able to handle this class, but it is more challenging because cork is different to work with compared to regular fabric. But If you are curious about how to sew with cork fabric a.k.a cork leather or vegan leather and you want to learn some basic bag making skills, this is the class for you!

When I first got interested in cork fabric, I had no idea if you could sew the material with a normal home sewing machine, what needle to use or where to find it. Turns out...yes! You can sew cork leather on a regular sewing machine and with a few handy tools it's not as hard as it looks.

 The total class duration is 1h 47m. The class includes a basic PDF pattern. Click here for the class and a 30 day trial to watch ALL Skillshare classes.

"Thanks! I made it myself."
You a year from now.

Whew! that was quite the list! And I've shared only a fraction of the classes available on Skillshare So is it worth getting Skillshare? I think it's worth to take a yearly subscription it if you can find at least 15 classes in total that you would really like to take. So if you are interested in sewing, embroidery, water color and making illustrations in procreate for example, I'm sure you'll find many fantastic classes to make it worth the investment. I've had a subscription for 5 years now and I still manage to find new classes that interest me on a monthly basis. But using the 30-day free trial to take advantage of all these sewing classes is a no brainer, totally worth it!

Would love to hear about your honest experience with Skillshare, Craftsy, Domestika when it comes to learning how to sew and do chip in if you know a good YouTube channel to follow for free beginner sewing classes.

Happy sewing :)

 

PS: looking for a fun and free sewing project? Sign up to the newsletter for a free copy of the smallest Tsuno Tie Bag and sew up some scraps. If you ​​​​​​​sign up you also get access to the free printable swatch library, sewing project planner and a few other handy templates. You'll receive the files in your welcome mail :)

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10 things I learned trying to stay creative and crafty during stressful times

10 things I learned trying to stay creative and crafty during stressful times

hand embroidery quote Stay Home Stay Safe

Before I dive into how I try to stay creative, let me explain why it is important to me. There is so much bad news and misinformation out there, and It’s everywhere, news sites, Facebook, Instagram, in conversations, on billboards...everywhere.

When Rona first hit I was constantly checking news sites. The first few weeks I kept going in circles. After checking a few sites I would return to the first one to see if there was something new and kept repeating that circle. But when, after a couple of weeks, things seemed to stabilize I seriously needed a (mental) break.

So I decided to set a simple rule for myself: Create and be creative every single day.

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Stash Less September 

Stash Less September 

simple house slipper temple of knit

About a year ago, I started minimizing my fabric stash currently occupying the guest bedroom that I hope to turn into an office/sewing room. I was off to a great start, but then I got off track. 

However, last month I decided to get back at it. Taking cues from Marie Kondo, and Felicia Semple at the Craft Sessions blog. First I started to imagine my ideal workspace. It's a fun, easy, and helpful step to keep me motivated, and stay on track. 

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New Skillshare Class + Giveaway: How to sew with cork and make a crossbody bag

New Skillshare Class + Giveaway: How to sew with cork and make a crossbody bag

In this class you'll learn how to sew with cork fabric to create a simple crossbody bag. 

So if you are curious about how to sew with cork fabric a.k.a cork leather or vegan leather and you want to learn some basic bag making skills, this is the class for you!

When I first got interested in cork fabric, I had no idea if you could sew the material with a normal home sewing machine, what needle to use or where to find it. Turns out...yes! You can sew cork leather on a regular sewing machine and with a few handy toolit's not as hard as it looks.


What will you learn in this class?

  • We’ll go over the specifics of working with cork fabric, like what sewing needles to use and my favorite tools for sewing cork.
  • How to shorten zippers set in exposed zippers (metal and plastic)
  • How to add zipper tabs for a refined look.
  • How to get even topstitching
  • how to sew over thick layers
  • And finally, I’ll show you how to alter the pattern to create a smaller bag with a round bottom which will hopefully inspire you to do your own tweaks and customize the design.

how to sew a cork leather bag, half moon shaped

What's included in this class?

  • The crossbody PDF sewing pattern included in the resource section, so you can sew along and make your own.
  • My support, I'll do my best to answer your questions in the discussion section.
  • A resource list including my favorite online shops that sell cork and notions
  • 20+ lessons explaining all the key techniques, step-by-step.

There is much to love about working with cork leather, but these are my main reasons

 

Cork leather is:

  • A great alternative for leather
  • Lightweight
  • Durable
  • Easy to work with on a regular sewing machine
  • Available in many colors and prints

 

Skill level:

You’ll need to be confident using a sewing machine and have at least a few projects under your belt...however I am going to show the process step-by-step so if you are an ambitious beginner you should be able to follow along.

If you are an experienced sewer you’ll probably find that the construction of this bag is fairly straightforward and a fun project to experiment with new material.

At the end of this class, you'll know how to sew a simple bag using cork leather and you’ll be able to make a few simple tweaks to customize the design. The bag is a great addition to your me-made wardrobe and perfect as a gift.


Skillshare

If you are new to Skillshare, it's a subscription service like a Netflix but for learning new skills on mostly creative topics like lettering, sewing, embroidery, filmmaking, illustration, procreate, water colour painting, macrame, ceramics, interior desing, graphic desing and much more!

And if you sign up through this link you got to watch my class and thousands of other classes for free for 2 weeks! By signing up for a free trial I earn a small commission ($10) which supports my work and enables me to create more classes. So thank you if you do! And imagine me doing a tiny, awkward happy dance when you do :)

 

Giveaway

however if you are only interested in my class, you can use this link there are only 25 free spots in the class! How does it work:

- Read this before you click You'll need to make an account (simply don't fill out billing info and you'll automatically have a free account). Then make sure you are logged in, then click on the link to watch and you should be able to unlock the full class.

- First come first serve. 

By signing up through the free link, I don't earn a commission, but it does help my class get found on skillshare. More students = more visibility! so thank you for signing up and participating in the class and imagine me doing a little happy dance whilst spilling my morning coffee. 

How to sew with cork leather

Happy sewing!

Charlotte

 

PS: looking for a fun and free sewing project? Sign up to the newsletter for a free copy of the smallest Tsuno Tie Bag and sew up some scraps. If you ​​​​​​​sign up you also get access to the free printable swatch library, sewing project planner and a few other handy templates. You'll receive the files in your welcome mail :)

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17 crafty podcasts, my favourites + a few bonus non crafty podcasts

17 crafty podcasts, my favourites + a few bonus non crafty podcasts
favourite crafty podcasts


Even though we've been in lockdown or partial lockdown for months I still have a commute to my part time job as a soapmaker, since that's impossible to do from home. During that commute I almost always listen to podcasts and in the evening when I knit or sew...again lots of podcasts. 

And since my friend and fellow creative entrpreneur Saskia de Feijter just started a brand new and fabulous podcast...I tought I share my favorite podcasts. I'll start with the craft related ones, but I've included a few other podcasts at the end. 

Some podcasts aren't updated anymore, but since most will have an archive full of podcast goodness I've added them anyway. Nothing better than discovering a good podcast and binging on the archive.

A Smaller Life - with Saskia de Feijter

A smaller life is a brand new podcast, but it's of to a great start!

I know Saskia since we started collaborating on workshops and teaching beginner knitting workshops at her wool shop. However when she discovered she had a heart condition and then covid hit and she made some radical choices to shape her life and work you can follow her on her journey as she talks to other creatives to explore the ideas of a smaller ife

With this podcast I want to take you with me on my journey to discover the answers to these questions: What do we buy, Where do we buy, Who do we buy from… Or don’t we buy at all but use what we already have? And how relevant is my job as a yarn shop owner selling people stuff when we already have more than we need? How can I make my life as an entrepreneur and textile crafter smaller and more relevant to these times?

https://www.ja-wol.com/blogs/podcast

Making ( Woolful )- with Ashley Yousling

There haven't been new episodes for a while, but I sometimes go back to this one to relisten a few. It was/is by far my favorite wool/knitting/fiber related podcast out there.

https://woolful.com/podcast-episodes/

Threads

Threads is a great source of sewing inspiration, and information.

https://www.threadsmagazine.com/blog/sewing-threads-podcast

Close Knit - with Ani Lee

"The Close Knit podcast aims to hold space for conversation about the ways we use fiber to process life and world events"

It's like listening in on a conversation of friends chatting away while you can focus and enjoy your knitting or sewing.

http://www.closeknit.com.au/

 

Thread Cult

Each episode, journalist and sewing blogger Christine Cyr Clisset (of Daughter Fish) interviews master craft people and creators in the home sewing, textile, and fashion communities. From independent pattern and textile designers to couture experts and curators, Christine brings you along on thought-provoking conversations sure to enlighten your own sewing or fibers practice—and give you something to listen to while you stitch, weave, dye, or work!

https://threadcult.com/

More Crafty podcasts 

The podcasts below are on my list to check or I've listened to them sporadically, so I don't have much to say about them other than, give them a try!

Love to Sew

http://lovetosewpodcast.com/

A Coffee with Makers

 http://www.acoffeewithmakers.com/podcast/

While She Naps 

https://whileshenaps.com/category/the-podcast/episodes

Dear Handmade Life

https://dearhandmadelife.com/podcast/

Vogue Knitting

https://www.vogueknitting.com/magazine/vogue-knitting-knitterviews-podcasts/

Clothes Making Mavens

http://www.clothesmakingmavens.com/category/blog/

Sew and Tell

https://www.sewdaily.com/

Yarn in the City

https://www.yarninthecity.com/blog/19/9/2016/episode-45-yarn-crawlers-of-the-baskervilles#

Sewciety

http://modernsewciety.com/podcast-gallery

Very Pink Knits

https://verypink.com/category/podcast/

Pom Pom Mag

https://www.pompommag.com/category/podcast/

Knit British

http://www.knitbritish.net/category/podcast/


The other podcasts

Tara Brach

It's not really a podcast, but Tara Brach's teachings are uploaded so you can listen and enjoy + join along in the meditations. Tara Brach’s teachings blend Western psychology and Eastern spiritual practices, mindful attention to our inner life, and a full, compassionate engagement with our world. 

My favorite meditation (maybe not the best for a commute though) is the one called "Relaxing into sleep (no bell at the end)" 

https://www.tarabrach.com/talks-audio-video/

Focus on This podcast

This podcast is not craft related, but it 's connected to the Full Focus Planner by Michael Hyatt.....which I don't use, I'm an avid and messy BuJo user! However I do use some of it's principals when I'm planning my day. It's a fun podcast to listen too if you are into planning and want tools to get things done.

https://focusonthispodcast.com/

Unlocking Us with Brené Brown

https://brenebrown.com/podcasts/

The Michelle Obama Podcast

The Michelle Obama Podcast

 

The list is a bit all over the place, but I hope you enjoy listening to them and maybe find a new podcast to add to your list, and please share your favorite podcasts in the comments below!

 

Happy sewing!

Charlotte

 

PS: looking for a fun and free sewing project? Sign up to the newsletter for a free copy of the smallest Tsuno Tie Bag and sew up some scraps. If you ​​​​​​​sign up you also get access to the free printable swatch library, sewing project planner and a few other handy templates. You'll receive the files in your welcome mail :)

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My favourite way to tape & assemble large PDF Sewing Patterns

I know a lot of you out there are daunted by the idea, that to make a print at home PDF sewing pattern you have to tape it together, and that means taping together 20, 30, and even 40+ pages.

I have to admit I mostly send my patterns to the copy shop, but sometimes you see a pattern, and you want to dive right in so there's no way around it and you have to bring out the tape.

But I have done my fair share of PDF sewing pattern taping, so I thought I'd share my favorite way to prepare and to assemble them in a video.

I’ll be using my Elskan dress pattern, which if you print all versions, contains 44 pages. I've printed around 24 pages to make the dress with the long sleeves.



To trim the pages I use an Exacto utility knife + a metal ruler + a cutting mat.

My trusty utility exacto knife, to trim pdf sewing patterns tiles
My cutting mat

My step by step process:

  1. before you do anything, check the scale of the pattern by measuring the test square.

    On my patterns, each tile has squares to line up the pattern pieces and check the scale. The rows have numbers and the columns have letters.
    The smaller squares are 1cm and these larger squares are 1inch.


  2. I'll start by trimming the bottom edge of each row, then one of the sides. To speed it up a bit I stack the papers per row and trim the entire stack.


  3. I'll tape each row first and set them aside until they are all done.


  4. Complete the pattern by taping the rows together. I roll the pattern up as I go or hang the pattern over the edge of the table.


  5. Once the pattern is all taped together I roll it up and set it aside until I find time to trace and sew.


But because it's easier to show than to explain I made a step by step video of my favorite way to prepare the pattern tiles and assemble a large PDF sewing pattern:

 

Click & Subscribe on youtube

   

As always there are other ways to do this. For example:

  1. Cut the edges off with scissors or simply fold them back, although that does sound like it would get a bit bulky.

  2. Cut off only the corners and don't trim any of the sides, there will be overlap, but for the most part, it won’t matter. I like the idea of this method, but with my pattern, the markings are probably to light to be seen through the paper.

  3. Use a glue stick instead of tape.

I don’t know if there is a huge difference in how long it will take to use these different methods but it’s interesting to give these different methods a try and see what works best for you.

I would love to hear your favorite way to assemble PDF sewing patterns, please leave a comment and share your fav technique.

Happy sewing!

Charlotte

 

PS: looking for a fun and free sewing project? Sign up to the newsletter for a free copy of the smallest Tsuno Tie Bag and sew up some scraps. If you ​​​​​​​sign up you also get access to the free printable swatch library, sewing project planner and a few other handy templates. You'll receive the files in your welcome mail :)

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How to download and print PDF sewing patterns at home



To download and print a PDF sewing pattern, you'll need to download Adobe Acrobat (you can download it for free here) a printer that can print on A4 or letter size paper and a desktop/laptop.

Make sure you are using the latest version of Adobe and that your printer software/driver is up to date.

I've made a video showing the steps for the Elskan dress / top pattern, which covers the basics but I wanted to elaborate on a few topics and common questions on how to print and download PDF sewing Patterns at home.

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Tips on how and why to pre wash fabric

should i pre wash fabric?
Should I Pre shrink and pre wash my fabrics before I sew with them?

The short answer is...Yes do it (most of the times). The long answer is bellow ;)

 

The main reasons why you should pre wash your fabric:

  • To pre shrink
  • To wash out dirt and chemicals from the production process

Most fabrics from natural fibers shrink when you wash them. Cotton fabrics often shrink around 5%. But a shrinkage between up to 10% is not uncommon in fabrics made from natural fibers. So if you don't wash your fabric before sewing, and then wash your final garment, your garment you might not fit correctly.

To prevent this you'll need to wash and dry the fabric like you'll wash and dry the final garment. So if you plan on doing a hand wash...give the fabric a hand wash. If you plan on washing it in the machine on 30c then do that.

Some of the shrinkage tends to ease as you wear a garment (like with jeans after washing) but lengthwise shrinkage not so much. So it's worth it to pre wash, if it's a garment that has a fitted style or if the fit and size really matters.

Another important reason is to wash out the dirt / remove chemical sizing / starch treatments / excess dye from the production process. The treatments make it easier to handle the fabric during production and strengthens the yarn for weaving, washing them out will soften your fabric.

 a guide tp pre washing fabrics

When not to pre wash fabric?

If it's an accessory that you wouldn't wash in a washing machine, like if I would sew a zippered pouch or shoulder bag where you would only do spot cleaning.

For fabrics that are dry clean only and garments that are more structured like a woolen, tailored jacket. In those cases I would simply steam the fabric prior to sewing and cutting by hovering the iron above (not on! ) the fabric. The steam helps to pre-shrink the fabric too.

When you pre wash raw indigo denim, creases and fold in the fabric might lead to white lines on your fabric, that's why some don't pre wash denim and use it right away.

100% synthetic fabrics might not need pre washing to prevent shrinkage, but it might still be a good idea so you can work with a clean material.

 tips how to pre wash fabric

How to pre wash fabric?

I've already mentioned you should wash and dry your fabric like you want to wash the finished garment, but there is another thing to consider...unfinished fabric frays and you could loose some of your length if you don't treat your raw fabric edges first.

How to prevent your fabric from fraying when you pre wash your fabric?

The selvedge does not fray, but the cut ends do. There are a few options to prevent and reduce fraying:

  • Use a serger to finish the fabric edges.
  • Use a zig zag stitch on the edge of the fabric.
  • Zig zag or serge the cut ends together to create a tube.
  • Use pinking shears to reduce fraying. I think this works best for fabrics that have a finer weave that don't easily fray.
  • Pre fray your fabric. Pull out the about a cm or 3/8"of the weft thread (that goes from left to right or selvedge to selvedge) this creates an almost decorative frayed edge that prevents further fraying. You'll see this on scarf ends and on linen place mats.
  • don't...let it fraaay, let it fraaay, and cut of the fray edge after drying.

To be honest I can only remember doing fray prevention once. I have a silky woven bamboo viscose that is an absolute tangled nightmare if you just throw it in the washing machine. I ended up serging the edges. And for cotton muslin rectangles that I used to print on, I pre frayed the edges to look decorative and prevent further fraying.

how to prevent fraying when pre washing fabric

A few more tips for pre washing your fabric

  • wash a test swatch. If you cut a 10cm or 4" square its easy to measure it after washing. If you finish the edge prior to washing, you can check how much it shrinks and how well it holds up in the wash.
  • Unfold your fabric before you put it in the washing machine.
  • Don't over crowd the washing machine.
  • Wash similar colours together since there might be excess dye in the new fabric that could stain other fabrics.
  • bonus points if you immediately iron your pre washed fabric, and catalogue it in your fabric swatch library

That was the long answer. It's safe to say that for most garments it's a good idea to pre wash the fabric, but it depends on the project and the type of fabric. If you are unsure ask the shop where you bought the fabric for tips and if in doubt wash a test swatch first.

Happy sewing!

Charlotte

 

PS: looking for a fun and free sewing project? Sign up to the newsletter for a free copy of the smallest Tsuno Tie Bag and sew up some scraps. If you ​​​​​​​sign up you also get access to the free printable swatch library, sewing project planner and a few other handy templates. You'll receive the files in your welcome mail :)

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How to : Sew a little sewing needle organizer or fabric gift tag

The last few weeks have been stressful to say the least and I hope you and your loved ones are all doing well. I thought this would be a fun, beginner friendly, sewing project that's not only fast, but a great project to use up scraps.


The materials you'll need:

  • An award ribbon shaped template, I'll explain the dimensions in the video. (Newsletter subscribers and customers can download the welcome mail)
  • Scrap fabric. An A4 sized piece should be enough to make two
  • Matching thread ( I use Gutermann all purpose thread)
  • A marking pen or pencil
  • Scissors
  • A seam ripper or hole punch
  • 1 x 4mm per ribbon/organizer. I used a box from prym, that I had left over from old projects.
  • Pinking shears for a fancy zig zag edge

You can sew along with the video

 

Happy sewing!

Charlotte

 

PS: looking for a fun and free sewing project? Sign up to the newsletter for a free copy of the smallest Tsuno Tie Bag and sew up some scraps. If you ​​​​​​​sign up you also get access to the free printable swatch library, sewing project planner and a few other handy templates. You'll receive the files in your welcome mail :)

Continue reading