Archive for ‘Tutorials’

August 19, 2016

Shirred skirt tutorial

Firstly I have to say, I am no seamstress, so the tutorial might not be by the book. I read something on the internet, books, watched some videos and came up with my own way which I would like to share with you.

I sew mostly patchwork, I am scared of the clothes, because they mostly don’t turn out well. However, I read, that this skirt fits every figure, it is easy to sew, especially for beginners, so I tried it, it was easy and it fits nicely. I have apple shaped figure, I wear size 44-46 so I thought, well this might turn out to be a disaster, all this shirring in waist area…but in the end, it looks nice, because the skirt fits my bodyshape like a glove in the shirred area and the fabric falls nicely from the below belly part where I am not that big.

So here we go.The meassurements are for my size 44-46, but the skirt would fit 42-48

You will need:

Fabric: if 150cm wide, you’ll need the lenght of your skirt+5cm for seam allowance, plus count with some shrinkage. I am 165 cm tall, I wanted my skirt to end just below the knees (I heard, the skirt should end at place, where your legs are thinnest or nicest, my nice area is just below knees, it doesn’t look like I have bigger tights). So my skirt would be 60cm long, I bought 80 cm of the fabric.

If the fabric width is 110cm, you will need double of the above, meaning 80×2 – 160cm

Scissors and/or rotary cutter
Small safety pin
Fabric pen to make markings- I used the one which disappers with water
Matching thread
Thin elastic band, the lenght approx. your waist lenght
Elastic thread for shirring. Be careful, it is the thicker thread, there is another elastic thread, which is thin, for sewing elastic fabrics. I bought the one from Gutermann- 10m were just so so for the skirt, maybe buy two just to be sure.
Sewing machine

1/If you bought fabric, which shrinks, like cotton, prewash it. The lighter is the fabric, the more effective is the shirring. I worked with 100% cotton fabric, 110cm wide.

2/Cut the fabric to the desired lenght of skirt +5cm, in my case 65cm. So I cut two pieces 65x 80 cm and I sew it on one shorter side, so I ended up with single piece 65*approx.155 cm. If you work with 150cm wide fabric, you save yourself the step, you just cut a strip 65cm wide, you have it already 150cm long.

Shirred skirt01

3/ I decided to make on the top of the skirt a tunnel where I put a firmer elastic band, so that I feel more secure, that the skirt doesn’t fall from my waist. So I marked 3cm from the top and marked a line.Shirred skirt02

4/Approx 0.5 cm from top I sew a small button hole through wich I at the end insert the elastic band.Shirred skirt03

5/ Fold the fabric like you see below and sew along the edge. However not completelyto the ends of fabric, leave there so 5 cm at each end.Shirred skirt04

Here you can see that I left the ends unsewn. The reason is, that when you sew the tunnel till the end and then at the end sew together the ends od the fabrics to finish the skirt, you sew through the tunnel and close it with the stitches. So I finish the tunnel at the end.Shirred skirt05

6/ On the right side of the fabric I drew 7 lines 1.5cm apart. I actually sew 8 lines of the shirring, but I sew the first one just milimeters beow the first stitch of the tunnel. So the stitch is first line and from that each 1,5cm another 7 lines. I used pen, which dissappears with water.Shirred skirt07

7/ Thread your machine. Top hread is the matching one and the bootom the elastic thread. You mus wind the thread on bobin manually, slightly pulling on the thread. It cannot be completely loose, but neither stretched. You enter it in the machine like usually any other thread. I read on some blogs, that there is a problem with shirring on Brother machines, you need to check it out on the internet. On my Janome it worked just fine. You need to set the lenght of the stitch to longer. My usual stitch is 2,2 I changes it to 3,5

Pull the thread to the top and you can start sewing.Shirred skirt08

As you sew along the lines, pull the already shirred fabric straight piece by piece. It is possible to sew it without drawing the lines, but I didn’t do it that nicely straight without them.

At end and beginning of each line I left few cm of the thred and made two knots to secure the elastic and top thread. Just to be sure.

If you run out of the elastic thread in the middle, don’t worry. Pull the top thread to the wrong side of fabric and make a knot. Start sewing on the same place and make the same process, pull the beginning of the thread to the wrong side of fabric and make knot.

When you finish all 8 lines, change the stitch lenght to  short, I changed to 1,4 and sew along the edges of fabric to secure the threds even more, then cut them shorter.Shirred skirt10

8/ Sew the skirt together along the one edge.

9/ Now sew the botton edge. I used again 2.5 cm  or 1 inch line, to help me with the fold, you can use your own method. In this step you can try on the skirt and check if the lenght is OK, if you want it shorter, then cut.Shirred skirt11

10/ Then sew the bottom hem.Shirred skirt12

11/Now it is the time to finish the tunnel. Just fold the fabric in the same way like before and sew it together.Shirred skirt13

12/Now the important part. You might have a feeling that the skirt doesn’t stretch that much. But it is OK.Shirred skirt14

From 150cm full lenght, also 75 (half – one side of the skirt), we got with the shirring to 44 cm.Shirred skirt15

Now take the iron, set it on full steam, and press and steam it. Don’t go withthe iron forwards and backwards like when ironing, just press and steam. You will see the shirring tightening in front of your eyes. It is now much tighter and stretchier and we are at 37-38 cm. Remember, the skirt can still stretch quite much, that’s why it is suitable for bigger sizes too.

And because I used water dissolable pen all the time, the lines disappear with the steaming.

If you sew it for someone slimmer, I would start with shorter fabric at the beginning (not 150cm like me)Shirred skirt17

13/ And as I mentioned at the beginning, I fel more secure, when I have a stronger elastic band on top. So I cut a piece so that it sits nice around my waist, but not too tight, and with help of the safety pin I pulled it through the tunnel and sewed the edges together with zig zag stitch.Shirred skirt18

And voila, skirt is finished.

Shirred skirt19

And I made another two, for my friends and I think many others will get them for Christmas 🙂

And this is how it looks on me… the picture is not very artistic, but just to get an idea:

shirred skirt

So good luck sewing, I believe you can do a lot with this technique, dresses and cute skirts for little girls…



January 2, 2016

X and Plus Quilt tutorial

Thank you Pinterest for the inspiration for my next project. Althoug I said I am not going to do nything big anymore, I just can’t resist the idea of a queen size colorful X an plus quilt. Yes, there are many tutorials on the internet already, I am adding mine anyway.

First the materials.

You will need:

4x           5,5″ squares of the colorful fabric you want for your X’s. I like the idea of crazy colorful one, when each corner is different color, however I can imagine also a quilt od more shades of the same color can be very nice.

8x           3,5″ squares of the background fabric. I chose white for all my blocks, but I saw some pictures where more whites with some print were used, or grey and they were also nice

1x           2,5 x 6,5 strip of the color you want your center plus be
2x           2,5″ squares of the same color, for the center plus

4x           2,5 x 3,5 strips for the loger arms of the cross. I chose grey and shades of grey. From the pictures on the internet I realized I like more the quilts which have this part in shades of the same color, it somehow completes it, especially, if you choose the X’s to be wildly colorful like me.

If you make perfect job at cutting and sew with 1/4 inch seam, all the points in the middle, where X and plus meet, will match perfectly.

x plus block


First you sew the background squares to the 5,5″ squares as drawn on the picture and then cut off the corners and press. I am was pressing towards the center, as it was darker.

X plus block 2

Then I sew the 2,5″ squares to the 3.5″ grey strips and I sew the strips also to the ends of the 6,5″ long leg of the plus.


I connected the pieces on boths sides of the block and then these two halves together by the long strip in the middle.

X plus block progress

The finished block measures 12″ and it took me cutting including sewing 35-40 minutes. I must however admit, I am lousy with pressing, some parts I just “pressed” with my nails, but I always recommend pressing.

X plus block 3

finished X and plus block

I guess if you have all the plusses of the same color for whole quilt, you can speed up the process for exampe cutting 3,5 inch wide and as you wish long strip of the grey fabric and sew on it 2,5″ wide strip and after pressing just cut these in 2,5″ wide strips. This was however not my case, therefore this lenghty process.

Well, I have 4 blocks so far, 52 to go, I hope I will be able to share the picture of the finished quilt this year…


April 1, 2013

Tutorial Cosmetics bag with pleats

As promissed in my previous post, here is the turorial for the cosmetic bag with pleats. It is easier than it looks, also if you are beginner in sewing, you should be able to make it.


8 pieces (outside pleats) 2.5×7” of nice fabric which will be visible outside of the pleats
6 pieces (inside pleats)2.5×7” of fabric which will be inside the pleats (very nice is to have some contrast)
2 pieces 8×1.5” of fabric for the top of the pouch ( I choose the same like for outside pleats)
1 zipper 10” or little longer if you are sewing beginner

For inside of the pouch:
2 pieces 6×8” of fabric and iron-on batting- I used quite thin, in Czech republic called vlizelin the same size, or ¼” shorter at each side (doesn’t need to be measured exactly

You’ll of course also need iron, matching thread, scissors and sewing machine.

As you can see from description of needed materials, you can use also scraps of fabrics and create nice colorful pouch. Each stripe of the pleat can be different; I just recommend using single fabric for inside pleats. So let’s do it!

Cosmetics bag with pleats

1-       Mark with pencil middle of each inside pleat on both sides. I usually just fold the fabric in half and mark it on the grease.

Cosmetics bag with pleats2-      Lay the 2.5×7” pieces for pleats next to each other in order how you want to have them. They must start with outside pleat- inside- outside and so on. For one side of the pouch you need 4 outside pleats and 3 inside pleats like on the picture.

3-      Sew it together


4-      Press with iron- it is better if you press the fabric toward the outside pleat.


5-      When we have the iron on, you can iron the batting on the inside fabric- these are the 6×8” pieces.


6-      Now we create the pleats- sew less than 1/4” from the edge of fabric. Fold the fabric on the seam between inside and outside pleat. Lay this fold on the mark of inside pleat. Do the same from other side and sew over it. (If you prefer, you can first pin it all and then sew, I prefer to fold it as I sew).



7-      Continue till the end and do the same process over again on other side of the fabric- remember to sew less than ¼” from edge.

8-      Time to sew on the 1.5×8” long strips. In this part you can sew some ribbon or anything in between these pieces. It also looks nice. In my case, I just sewn it together and then secured with straight stitch.You can again press after sewing. Do it with both pieces- front and back of the pouch.



9-      Now sew on the zipper. It is good to have longer zipper, so that the slider doesn’t hinder while sewing. You lay the inside fabric right face up, lay the zipper with slider up, and the top fabric right side down. Align it all on the right side and sew as close to the middle of zipper as possible. Your machine will be probably equipped with zipper foot, my machine too, but in this case I prefer the normal foot and sew with needle aligned to the left- my machine doesn’t sew that nicely with zipper foot (or I am doing something wrong J ). Of course, you can pin it all before sewing if you prefer.



10-      When you are done with one side, do the same thing on other side of the zipper. Try to start in the exact same place, like on the other side, so that your fabrics are nicely aligned.

11-      To secure the zipper (and it also looks nice) sew lines along the zipper as on the picture below. Your final product should look like this.

Cosmetic bag tutorial

12-      We are finishing up. First, I will cut off any fabric from sides, so that I have nice straight and aligned edges of front and inside fabric, as well as the fabrics on opposite side of the zipper.

13-      Cut off also the part of the zipper which is standing out. IMPORTANT!- be careful not to cut the slider away! You need to open the zipper to get it in the middle and then cut. Otherwise you will need a new zipper.


14-      Now lay the outside fabrics together and inside also together. Make sure the zipper is open at least to 2/3 of the length. Align nicely. It is important to have the pleats aligned and also all the seams of the front fabric- the finished product just looks better in this way. If needed, pin it. I start to sew from bottom of the front fabric, sew all around, through zipper. Just on the bottom of the inside fabric leave approximately 2” opening, so that we can turn the pouch inside out.

Cosmetic pouch with pleats tutorial

Cosmetic pouch with pleats tutorial

15-      Through the opening pull the pouch inside out. Look at our finished product, hopefully you are happy with it and the seams and pleats are aligned.


Cosmetics bag with pleats

16-      If you are satisfied, there is last finishing step. We need to sew the opening inside. You can do it on sewing machine, but the seam will be visible. I prefer to make it by hand using mattress stitch (at least so it is called in Czech, I am was not able to find exact stitch name in English. If someone can advise on correct name, I will be thankful). The stitching will be quite invisible.

Explanation of the stitch:
align the folded edges of the fabrics. Pull the thread through one of the fold. Stick it into the other fold in exactly the same place and lead the needle through the “tunnel” in the fold and pull out. Stitch it again in the opposite fold in the same place and continue like this until the end of the opening. The smaller the stitches, the better the look.

mattress stitch

mattress stitch

mattress stitch

mattress stitch

mattress stitch

I hope this tutorial was useful and you will make many beautiful pouches!

April 12, 2012

Curtains with pleating tape tutorial

In one of my previous posts I shared that I made my own curtains using the pleating tape, now I try to explain how. It is actually simpler, than I thought, I just don’t like handling these huge pieces of fabric.

1/When making curtains, the saying measure twice, sew once is more than appropriate.  Measure length of the pelmet on which you plan to hang the curtains. If it is for example 4 meters, you will need at least 6 meters wide fabric. If you had less, or even only 4, the pleats wouldn’t be visible. It is always written on the pleating tape that if you for example want have your final curtain wide 4 meters, you need 6 meters of fabric, because when you pull the strings, the pleating tape will shrink your curtains by certain amount.

2/When sure about the lengths, cut neatly and straight, I cut my fabric in 2 pieces to have one on each side of the window obviously…

3/Sew nice hem at both vertical sides of the curtain and then around the bottom.

4/Time to sew on the pleating tape. My curtains are supposed to be from the ceiling to the floor. My pelmet is 1 cm from the ceiling and bottom of the hooks on which the curtains will hang are 3 cm below. I needed to guess where approximately I should place the tape, so that the part with the loops is 3 cm from the top of the curtain. It is because I want the fabric to hide the hooks.

5/Place the tape on the face side of the fabric and pin it properly. Make sure you have on each side of the fabric around 10cm more tape, so that you can later fold it over the edge as on the picture.       

Where the edge of the pleating tape is, that will be the top of my curtain. It is the spot where my fingernail ends. So from there until the bottom of the fabric I wanted to have 263 cm, as my length must be from the pelmet to the floor. 

6/ Sew the tape on the fabric. Careful, each tape may be different as to in which places to sew. Ask for the instruction in the shop. I need to sew mine just around the edges, as close to them as possible. 

7/Now it is time to bend the tape around the corner as pictured in point 5. Don’t forget to pull out the strings, so that you don’t sew them inside the curtain.
So now looking from the back side of the fabric, you make two steps. First bend the tape around the edge.

Secondly, bend the top of the curtain along the top seam on the tape. If you were not sewing completely at the edge, watch out so that the tape is not visible from face side. You can see that by this I took care of the cut edges of the tape and they will be neatly done now.

8/Make the second seam at the other side of the tape…in my case where the tip of my fingernail is on the above picture.

Believe or not, it is finished. Now you just need to pull the strings to create the pleats, bind them properly and hang the curtains. Mines are hanging already!

March 10, 2012

Raw edges applique tutorial

So here is my new tutorial about raw edges applique. You can find many videos on the internet, especially youtube… I actually learned many things from youtube videos. So let’s start.

You will need fusible web/interlining, fabric, scissors, iron and of course your sewing machine. 
Best  interfacing for applique is with glue on both sides, where one is covered by a paper which can be later peeled off like from a sticker. If you have just the interfacing without the peel off paper, it is also possible, but more difficult. I have just this one, so I used it in this tutorial… In this method the edges can by time get little frayed, depending also on the fabric you use and density the stitch. Sometime you might want to get this effect.

1/Cut a piece of fabric big enough from which you want the shape and also a piece of interfacing.

2/I put a baking paper under the both layers and iron them on. If you have interfacing with the paper on one side, you don’t need this. I just didn’t want it to iron on the ironing board.

3/Transfer your pattern on the fabric and cut out. I used normal pencil and drew the flower on the interlining. If you have the peel off one, it will be even more visible for you. The good thing is that you don’t need to worry about the marks staying on your fabric.

4/Now iron the pattern well on the background fabric.

5/ And the last step – sew it around with zigzag or any other decorative stitch you like. I selected middle density of the stitch, you can choose different one as you like. The more dense it is, the less will be the edges frayed after some using and washing.

So that’s it! It is really simple, and the beautiful things you can make by this technique! I think this will be base for a pillow cover, let’s see.
Good luck with your applique!

February 21, 2012

African Flower crochet tutorial

You can find few tutorials how to crochet the African Flower pattern on the internet, I like most those which are visual, sometimes it is problemattic for me to crochet something just based on written instructions. So below is the picture and here I will write  also the instructions just for case. Different colors mean also different color of yarn. Depends on you what yarn you want to use, I recommend some which is not fluffy. The thicker yarn, the bigger is the flower. The number (size) of the hook is very often written on the yarn roll.  This is not tutorial for complete beginners, you need to know at least some basics. In case you don’t know what chain, single crochet etc. means, I suggest you look up some youtube video, they are quite good tutorials there too.


So let’s start:


1/ connect 6 chains in a ring


2/ 3 chains to replace one double crochet, 1 chain, *2 double crochets, 1 chain*- repeat until you have 5 pairs, 1 double crochet and fasten into 3rd chain  (now you should have 6 pairs of double chrochets and spaces between them)


Change color


3/3 chains to replace one doublecrochet, 1 double crochet, 1 chain, 2 double chrochets, *2 chains, 2 double crochets, 1 chain, 2 double crochets* repeat until the last space of previous row is filled, then 2 chains and fasten to the 3rd chain to finish the circle.


4/3 chains to replace one doublecrochet, 1 chain,* 7 double crochets into the larger space of previous row, 1 chain*, repeat until you reach the end, 6 double chrochets (as we replaced the 7th by the 3chains at the beginning), fasten at the 3rd chain to complete the circle.


Change color


5/*1 long single stitch (like single stitch, but you put the hook not just under the one line below, but you grab also the second line, as seen on the picture), 7 single crochets* repeat until whole circle is completed, fasten and cut the yarn.


I personally first make the flowers and then connect them, of course, you can do it as you go, in that case just change the yarn and continue with:


6/*3 double crochets, 1 double crochet, 1 chain, 1 double crochet in the same loop as previous, 3 double crochets, 1 chain* repeat until circle is completed.

Now you should see nice hexagonal pattern. When I connect these hexagons, I do it on the places where I make 1 chain.

*repeat pattern between the stars

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