Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Tutorial: How to Make a Halloween Bat Headband

It's that time of year again fall is just around the corner and along with it the spookiest holiday of the year - Halloween! Even on Halloween every girl (or boy) still needs to accessorize and this bat headband is the perfect way to do that. Here is a quick tutorial on how I make the headband.


- Foam board in black
- Wiggle eyes
- Headband
- Scissors or Stanely knife
- Black pom pom
- Glue gun


1. To start with you'll need to draw out bat wings with a base. You can make the wings as big or small as you like it really depends on how scary you want to be! Once you have bat wings drawn out cut it out and use it as a template on the foam. Cut the wings out on the foam and hey presto your little bat is born! The basic shape I use is below:

2. Fire up the glue gun and lets give this bat some body - literally! The glue I use is in the following picture:

Get the pom pom and the wiggle eyes and glue those suckers on. Here are my befire and after cosmetic surgery pictures.....


AFTER - and finally the bat sees!

3. Body meets wings time. Slap some glue on the wings in the middle and shove the bat head on the wings to create your beast. Make sure the eyes are for one facing forward and are looking straight ahead ideally. 

4. Now we have our bat ready you need to make some complicated method of affixing this creature to your headband. I do this in the form of foam! Cut out two circles in foam that are three times the diameter of your headband width like so....

Add caption

5. Glue one of the circles to the bottom of you bat attaching the wings and the pom pom body. Try to get it in the center as much as possible.

6. Here comes the magic part. Put a little bit of glue on the bottom of the circle you just attached on the front and back edge leaving the center strip of the circle glue free. You are aiming to make a channel so you can slide the bat on and off your headband. This way you can still use your headband after Halloween without an unsightly bat which people might find odd or special after the holiday! The channel should look a little something like this:

7. All that left to do is to slide the completed bat onto your headband and hot the streets (not in that way!). 

Hope you enjoyed this tutorial as always all comments and questions are welcome. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Tutorial: Finished Dolman Dress Finally!!

Finally got around to taking photos of the dolman dress featured in the tutorials. So here's how the final dress looks. Its super comfortable to wear with the elasticated waist, I think its going to be one of my favorite items over winter with boots and leggings.

Here are the links for the tutorial so you can make your own:

Tutorial 5: Let's Finish This Thing - Hem and Sleeve Finished for Dolman Dress

Let me know what you think:

Comments and questions are always appreciated so fire away!!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Tutorial 5: Let's Finish This Thing - Hem and Sleeve Finishes for Dolman Dress

Now to finish it all off with two (three if you count both sleeves!) final pesky raw edges to make beautiful. Then we will have a brand spanking new dolman dress to strut around in. Perfect to throw on for a lazy day but look stylish at the same time how much more do you want!! For previous tutorials check out the links below:

Right lets get on with it!


- Nearly finished dolman dress whoop whoop
- Coverstitch machine or normal sewing machine will do the trick
- Iron
- Pins
- Measuring tape
- Matching threads for your machine of choice
- Scissors

1. Start by roughly folding over the seam allowance on each sleeve we'll perfect it later but this makes it easier to do. Make sure you are folding the raw edge to the wrong side.

 2. Grab your tape measure and pins and work around the sleeve getting your seam allowance even. I use a 0.5" seam allowance and will be using my coverstitch machine to finish the edges. You can use whatever seam allowance you feel comfortable with. 

3. This step isn't 100% necessary but I like to do it so I get the perfect finish and my seam allowance is completely even. Also if a pin comes out while your sewing you know where your seam allowance should be. Iron on the fold with a semi hot iron to make the fold nice and crisp. 

4. I use a coverstitch machine to finish my raw edges and here are my setting on the Brother machine.

If you don't have a coverstitch machine you can use a regular sewing machine with a twin needle attached to get the same finish. Some tips for a twin needle: use a stretch needle, lengthen your stitch and loosen your stitch tension if you get tunneling. 

My finished sleeved looks like this:

5. On to the hem. It is exactly the same steps as the sleeves but it is a little less fiddly. Roughly fold the hem over to the wrong side and then go around with your tape measure and even it out. Pin as you go. 

6. Iron the edge just like you did with the sleeves and then your ready to hit the sewing machine. 

7. Sew using your coverstitch or regular sewing machine and you should end up with a little something like this: 

And that's a rap! Dress complete time for photos to show you lovely people the finished product. 

Stay tuned for the completed dress photos and feel free to ask questions or comment. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Tutorial 4: Stretch Yourself With a Hideaway Elastic Waist for the Dolman Dress

Time to do away with the easy sew in the elastic and hey presto waist and on to the more beautiful and neat sew in elastic casing waist! I hate the feel of elastic against my skin as you find with most elastic waist dress so I decided to neatly tuck away the elastic in my waist into its own little private casing. Keeps him all wrapped up and warm and stops it from irritating your skin! This is a perfect way to waist our already cut out, sewn and finish necklined (couldn't think of a better way of putting it!) dolman dress. For previous tutorials please click on the appropriate links:
- 3/8" wide elastic
- Sewing machine
- Serger (not essential)
- Matching threads
- Pins
- Measuring tape
- Scissors
-Safety pin

1. Lay out your bodice and skirt waist seam to waist seam and make sure they are roughly the same length, within 1 or 2cm. Turn the bodice so the right side is facing out and turn the skirt so the wrong side is facing out. Then grab a few pins and mark the center of each of the waist seams using said pins. Not an essential step but it makes it easier when matching together the seams.

2. Put the skirt inside the bodice so that the waist seams are together. You should have right side to right side, double check and then pin at the seam.

3.Sewing machine time! Set your machine to a stretch stitch or a plain zig zag if you don't have a stretch setting. As my fabric was very stretchy I lengthened the stitch length a little to make it easier to sew and used a ball point needle. Here are my settings on my Brother sewing machine:

4. Use a 6/8" seam allowance and as you sew make sure you do not stretch or pull the fabric as this will create a wavy seam which is never pretty. If you have the option use a lower tension on the presser foot to allow the fabric to go through the machine a lot easier or use a walking foot.

Finished seam:

5. Sergers at the ready for this step or sewing machine if you don't have a serger. Set up your serger to the right tensions for your fabric, its always better to test on scrap pieces to make sure its right before going ahead and sewing on the dress. Saves the headache of unpicking! Mine was set to the following and I used 3 threads:

If your using a standard sewing machine set it to a long zig zag stitch.

6. Serge or sew along the edge of the seam allowance sewing both edges together to make the casing for the elastic. Leave about an inch gap when you get the end so you have enough space to slide in the elastic.

Finished seam with gap for elastic:

7. Fold the casing down towards the skirt and pin flat. You can iron it at this point to make it a little easier but make sure you use the right heat for your fabric. Ruined many a garment by not thinking about the iron heat!

8. Back to the sewing machine with the same stretch stitch as in step 3. Sew close to the sergered stitches or zig zags to make a channel for the elastic to go through. Leave a few inches at the same place as the opening for the elastic so you have enough give to be able to finish off the serging when the elastic is in place.

9. Measure out your elastic, it should be 1 inch less than your waist measurement plus 6/8" for seam allowance. Pin one end next to the opening of the gap in casing and put a small safety pin through the other end of the elastic.

10. Push the end of the elastic with the safety pin attached into the casing. Then slowly and carefully push the safety pin through by pushing and pulling fabric over the safety pin. I hope that makes sense! Make sure the pin doesn't come undone from the other end of the elastic. Do this until your through to the other side.

11. Once you have the elastic through pin both ends together so they overlap by 3/8".

12. Join the elastic ends together using a zig zag stitch on the sewing machine. I like to sew horizontally first then vertically to close up both ends of the elastic to make it smooth in the casing. To sew the elastic pull it out as much as possible to make it easier.

Settings on my sewing machine.

Pattern on the elastic. Not extremely neat but it does the job and it will be inside the casing so no one will know.

13. Now you should have the elastic completely hidden inside the casing with gaps in the sewed edges. This is mine from the right side:

Serge the casing to finish off that seam and then sew down the remainder of the casing to the skirt.

14. Last thing to do is neaten out the gathered in the wasitline and you should have something that looks like this:

Wrong side

Right side
And that's the waist finished. Here is what my dress looks like so far:

In my next tutorial I will be showing you how to finish off the sleeves and the hem.

Comment and question away!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Tutorial 3: The Bias Way to a Neat Neckline for the Dolam Dress

Onwards to the neckline! This is quick and easy tutorial on how to finish a neckline on a jersey fabric for the dolman dress.

To make the pattern for the dolman dress go to:

Tutorial 1: Pattern for a Super Easy and Comfy Lone Sleeved Dolman Dress

For cutting and sewing instructions got to:

Tutorial 2: Cutting Some Shapes and Sewing them Together for the Dolman Dress

I always find necklines challenging and difficult to get neat and tidy especially on jersey and stretch fabric. After a lot of trial and error in the past this is the method I came up with for finishing necklines using bias tape. This is my go to method for necklines for most things I make so here it is!


- Bodice of dolman dress
- Matching fabric for the the bias tape
- Iron
- Ironing board
- Pins
- Sewing machine
- Matching thread
- Measuring tape
- Clear sewing ruler
- Rotary cutter or scissors
- Cutting mat

1. First things first - lets measure how much bias tape we need for the neckline. Using a flexible measuring tape measure around the opening of the neckline both front and back. The bias tape will be the same length as the neckline. Add 6/8" to the measurement for seam allowance when you sew the bias ends together.

2. To make the bias tape lay out a piece of the jersey fabric and line up your clear ruler so it runs at a 45 degree angle to the grainline. This is called the bias of the fabric - it has the most stretch so is perfect for the neckline finish. Hopefully the picture below explains how to cut on the bias better than in words!

3. Once you have found the bias cut along this line using your rotary cutter or scissors. The width I use for bias tape is 1.5", I would say this is minimum you would want for jersey fabric as it can be tricky with the stretch. The wider it is the easier it is to sew but it just depends how you want the neckline to look as you will see a line of stitching on the front of the garment. With the bias tape at 1.5" the line of stitching will be 1/2" from the edge of the neckline.

4. To the ironing board! Take your freshly cut bias tape and ready your iron. You will need a measuring tape at this point. Fold over 3/8" of the bias tape and iron along the fold all the way along. The wrong side of the fabric is showing in the picture below. This can be tricky as its a small amount but once you get started it gets easier.

5. Sew the two ends of the bias tape together so it makes a circle making sure you do right side to right side using a 3/8" seam allowance. Then trim the seam allowance to 1/8". Place a pin on the half way line of the bias tape - the seam line marks the other half line. Do the same on the neckline using one of the shoulder seams as a mark, which is where you will want to line up the seam in the bias tape.

6. Pin the unfolded edge of the bias tape the neckline with the fold facing up. If the bias tape is a little small just stretch it to fit evenly. If its too big you'll want to take the bias tape in at the seam as you don't want to stretch the neckline and get a wavy finish.

7. Sew the bias tape to the neckline using a stretch stitch (which looks like a wonky zig zag stitch on my sewing machine) with a 3/8" seam allowance. Be careful not to stretch neckline when your sewing as this makes annoying waves in the fabric that are difficult to undo. Make sure you use a ball point needle and use a longer stitch length if your fabric is super stretchy like mine.

8. Cut away the seam allowance to roughly 1/8". This reduces the bulk around the neckline. If your neckline is very curvy cut a few small triangles in the seam allowance on the most curved bits to make a smooth line being careful not to cut through any stitches.

9. Iron the seam open to get a nice neat finish on the edge of the neckline. Fold the bias tape to the wrong side and pin. Make sure that the fold you made with the iron previously stays folded up. So you should not be able to see any raw edges at this point. The picture below shows the wrong side of the fabric.

10. Sew along the edge of the bias tape as close to the fold as possible, roughly 1/8". Again use the stretch stitch on your sewing machine and a longer stitch if you are having trouble with the fabric stretching as you sew. Use a ball point needle.

Wrong side 

Right side
Voila! That's your neckline finished nice and neatly. Iron lightly to make sure its nice and flat and your done.

Next step sewing the elastic into the waist and getting top and skirt united into one dress! Stay tuned for my next tutorial!

Questions and comments are always good with me!
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