Easy Self Drafted Maxi Gore Skirt And More

Self-Drafted Maxi Skirt in Jewel Tones

Self-Drafted Maxi Skirt in Jewel Tones

I’ve been under the weather, so I’m bringing you this post of a self-drafted skirt as well as a jacket and tank made to go with it. ¬†I hope the content still is helpful to you and that you can be inspired to draft your own simple pattern for a maxi skirt.

The inspiration for this post came from watching a clothing designer on QVC, a shopping network show on television.   The designer had created one simple knit skirt design and offered it in six different fabrics.  I was swept in because of the maxi skirt, the simple gore construction, and the multitude of looks created by changing up the fabric.

It occurred to me that it wouldn’t be that hard to copy. ¬† If I did a few calculations, I could draft a simple gore pattern, multiply it by six, add some elastic, hem and voila! DONE!

I got to work by gathering my supplies.

1.)  Tracing paper (I use medical paper)
2.)  Measuring tape
3.)  Pencil or pen, marker
4.)  Paper cutting scissors
5.)  Yard stick or long ruler
6.) ¬†Fabric (approximately 3 yards of 60″ knit for a maxi length)
7.) ¬†Elastic to fit waist measurement ( I use 1″, but you can use whatever width you want)

*Since my hips are my widest part, I measured them first.  If your waist is your largest measurement, measure that first and use the same calculation since the skirt will drape from there and clear your hips, giving you plenty of ease.

Steps:
1.) Measure Hips. ¬†With your measuring tape, take the first measurement of your hips plus 2″ for ease. ¬†This number will need to be divided by 6. Example: Hip measurement = 46″ + 2″= 48 divided by 6 = 8.

Hip Measurement divided by six

Hip Measurement + 2 divided by six

2.) ¬† Start drawing the gore. ¬†With your long ruler or yardstick, draw two parallel lines the distance of your answer (side seams) ¬†Mine is 8″ including the 1/2″ seam allowance. ¬†The 8″ will be the width of each gore.

3.)   Measure the length of skirt.   If you have a favorite maxi skirt in your wardrobe, use it as a guide to determine length.   Take a measurement from your waist to the floor to get a rough idea of the length you want your skirt to be.   I like mine to hit at the ankle so that it is long enough for heels and can still be worn with flats.

4.) ¬† Add 2″ for hem and elastic fold over to your length measurement from last step. ¬† I use 1″ elastic, but you can use whatever width you want. ¬†Just allow for that amount for the fold over measurement at the top of your skirt. ¬†Continue to draw the lines from the waist down and flare out to make the gore. ¬†I improvised on the width and size of the gore at the hem line. ¬† Since I wanted to be able to keep the width narrow enough to fit on 60″ fabric, the gore sweep needs to stay less than 15″ wide. ¬†Once you draw the first side of the gore flare, fold it in half and draw the other side to match.

Measure the length of skirt. Take a measurement from your waist to the floor to get a rough idea of the length you want your skirt to be.

TIP*  I used this picture below to see the different shapes of gores.  In this case, since I am doing the math for six simple gores, I think mine is closest to View B.

Gore shapes for inspriation

Gore shapes for inspiration. ¬† I’m using View B

5.)  Draw your grain line.  This is easy.  Draw the opposite side of the gore and draw the grain line right down your center fold line.

You are done with the pattern.  Now it is time to lay it out on the fabric, cut it out and sew it up!

TIP*  Fabric requirements: I think knits work best here.  I have used poly spandex knits because they have great drape, pack well, and maintain their shape.

Here are some other versions I have made:

Once you have crafted your own gore skirt panel, you can complete this skirt in less than two hours, maybe less. I like these for the no-wrinkle factor, quick make and they are surprisingly cool in the summer even though the fabric is poly/spandex.  I bought the fabric at my local mill end store (SAS Fabrics) where they have rolls and bolts of ends sold at a discount.  I think I paid $2.99/yd for each of these pieces.

Fabric Requirements:¬†¬† I prefer 60″ knits with some recovery for this skirt. ¬†I bought 3 yards to have enough to lay out two lengths of the skirt plus extra for a tank top.

Fabric Layout: ¬†If your fabric is a true 60″ wide, you can fold the fabric with one selvage folded to the center of the fabric, and the remaining fabric left to be a single layer. ¬†On the folded area, place your gore and pin the grain line perpendicular to the fold. ¬†Cut out gore. ¬†You will end up with two cut gore pieces. ¬†Move pattern piece to the single layer area, parallel to the folded area you just cut and cut one more gore. ¬†Now you have three. ¬†Repeat for one more set of three gore pieces. ¬†Once you have 6 gore pieces, you will be ready to sew them up.

Sewing:  With right sides together, pin and stitch two gore pieces together from the hem to the waist.  Repeat six times.  Measure elastic to to your waist, cut, and sew to form a circle.  Quarter the elastic and skirt with pins.  Pin elastic to skirt with all quartered pins lining up.  Zig zag or serge around top edge of fabric to top edge of elastic, stretching while sewing.  Slowly work around entire waist. Turn down elastic towards skirt.  Stitch elastic down to skirt.  Turn up hem as desired.  Done!

Loes Hinse Tank and self drafted skirt

Loes Hinse Tank and self drafted skirt

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The tank top is from Loes Hinse’s #5305 Tank Dress Pattern. ¬†This is a simple tank with turned under edges.

Tank Dress Pattern, Loes Hinse Patterns

Tank Dress Pattern, Loes Hinse Patterns

On to the Jacket:
The jean jacket is a out of print (OOP) Kwik Sew 2895. ¬†I love this patterns and have made both short and long versions. ¬†It is not boxy. ¬†There is a slight curve at the waist which is visible in the drawing of the longer version, but is also present in the shorter version even though the line drawing doesn’t show it. ¬†I made it out of a light to medium weight denim.


The only thing I don’t like about the pattern is the way the facing and collar meet. ¬†I haven’t figured out a way to make it look better other than to re-draft the facing and have it meet the shoulder seam. ¬†It doesn’t show when worn because it is turned under so I just go with it.

I have kept making the jacket because what I like about the jacket outweighs what I don’t like. ¬†Below are some other versions from this pattern.

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So since my favorite pattern is OOP, here are some other options.  A stylish jean jacket design by Gertie, Butterick 6390.

Gertie Jacket, Butterick 6390

Gertie Jacket, Butterick 6390

Another alternative is Butterick 5616.

Butterick 5616 Jean Jacket

Butterick 5616 Jean Jacket

Now it is time for the shoes….I keep thinking that this gladiator, heavily strapped-ankle wrapped look is going to go away, but every summer it returns with a new twist. ¬†These are navy IMPO blue suede cage sandals from Stein Mart. ¬†I found them in our local store on sale. ¬† I don’t think they are still available, but here is a similar pair. ¬†They are actually pretty comfortable! ¬†They zip in the back and the laces are adjustable to fit the width of my feet.
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Navy cage sandals

Navy cage sandals

If I find some navy shoes, I’m feeling lucky because they seem so rare. ¬† Do you feel lucky when you find a particular color shoe on sale?

Do you have a favorite jean jacket pattern?  Do you have successfully sewn garments that you (after-the-fact) wish had some drafting changes?  Do you tackle your own drafting?

I would love to hear your successful discoveries in the comments below.

I hope you found this post helpful, inspirational and/or interesting.  Off to the next project.

Until next time, happy sewing!

-Dana

 

 

 

Men’s Ties Christmas Tree Skirt Tutorial

Family Ties turned into a Christmas Tree Skirt

Family Ties turned into a Christmas Tree Skirt

Men’s ties make the perfect circle skirt to dress up your tree. ¬† If the male family members in your house despise wearing ties (like my husband), and they are sitting in a drawer, gather them together for this quick project. ¬† I was lucky enough to receive my dad’s and uncle’s discarded ties after their professional lives no longer called for them. ¬† I also added a few from thrift stores to complete the project. ¬† It has become a family tradition to use this skirt under our tree every year as a way to include some of the past and bring it into the present.

*A little disclaimer: I made this tree skirt before I started my blog, so this tutorial is explaining how to make this after the fact. Hopefully, I can explain the process clearly enough so you can easily make one for yourself…or give to someone else.

I gathered 46 ties to assemble this tress skirt, including the tie used in the center hole.
Here is a list of what you will need:
1). Approximately 42-52 men’s ties, both skinny and wide, or enough to make a circle around the base of your tree
2). Approximately 40″ of Single Fold Bias Tape (or you could use a strip of Christmas fabric)
3). Muslin or cotton fabric for base
4). Thread to match ties

Underside of tree skirt using muslin fabric

Underside of tree skirt using muslin fabric

1.) Draw a large circle out of the muslin fabric (above photo) making it a few inches shorter than ties to allow the points of ties to hang off (below).  Mine measures 20.5 inches from center circle to outer edge.

Tie ends overlap the base fabric

Tie ends overlap the base fabric

2.) Serge or finish the outer edge of the skirt (above).

Cut opening from center circle to outer edge

Cut opening from center circle to outer edge

3.) Draw a center circle. (The center circle needs to be large enough to fit around the stem/trunk of your tree). Cut out center circle hole and continue cutting stright out to the edge creating an opening to slip around tree base (above photo).  One tie will be used to trim around center circle in Step 9.
4.) Finish straight edge with bias tape or scrap strip of Christmas fabric. In photo above, you can see I used green bias tape from my bias tape scraps.

Audition tie layout

Audition tie layout

5.) Using muslin as my base fabric, audition all of the ties next to each other and pin in place overlapping each tie. Continue in a circle until the look and arrangement of ties is pleasing.
6.) Overlap the ties near the center circle (below).   They will be roughly cut and uneven and its okay.  Ignore the tie used to finish the circle.  Yours will not look like this at this stage but will after Step 9.

Narrow sections of ties overlapped at center circle

Narrow sections of ties overlapped at center circle

7.) Top stitch ties in place overlapping each tie over another.  Continue working around the entire circle until the first and last two ties cover the bias tape on the right side of the skirt.  When placed under the tree, the ties will overlap, disguising the opening.

Underside of tree skirt using muslin fabric

Underside of tree skirt using muslin fabric

8). After all of the ties are sewn to the base muslin fabric, it is time to trim the center circle and clean up the edge. Cut the ties evenly around center circle edge.
9).  Fold one tie in half and center around circle leaving ends to be used to tie in a bow. Stitch, enclosing all rough edges of ties.

Completed center circle with remaining tie for bow

Completed center circle with remaining tie for bow

You are done!….except for the presents.

Completed tree skirt

Completed tree skirt

Time to add presents

Time to add presents

Place under your tree and Merry Christmas!
If you are interested in other quick Christmas presents, check out my Snap Bag Tutorial or Curling Iron Cover Tutorial.

– Dana

Rectangle Zipper Bag

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Look at these zipped up beauties! ¬†Imagine the endless possibilities combining fabrics, zippers, ribbons, tabs, buttons and stitches! ¬†She is not just any ordinary zipper bag. ¬†She has flair and personality due to her embellishment options. ¬†Take a quick look around Pinterest or the Google searches for zippered pouches and you will see a plethora of choices; small big, square, round, triangular, animal shapes, etc. ¬†You are going to brush up on some skills with this one…insert a zipper, practice your buttonholes, quilt three layers together, personalize with lettering (optional–see Ethan’s name on the dark blue bag handle?), impress yourself and friends with decorative stitching, so hang on.

The approximate finished measurements are 10″ long x 3″ wide x 2″ high. ¬†The reason I like this is because it holds more than it looks and can be used for sewing supplies and tools, toiletries, pens and pencils, or whatever you want AND makes for another guy gift idea like here, and here.

Upon closer examination, you will see that these three bags have slight differences: tabs are different shapes, handles are different, quilting patterns are different, and placement of fabrics are different. ¬†Your choice! ¬†So let’s get into the How To of it all , including some ‘Creative Options’ along the way for you to do it your way.

Supplies Needed:
-2 Coordinating Fabrics (can be fat quarters) 18″ x 22″ One is used for outside and one is used for lining and tabs
-One zipper, 16-18″
-Tear away stabilizer, or 2 scrap fusible interfacing pieces measuring 36″ x 3″ long
-Two or Four coordinating flat buttons that nest nicely, your choice. See samples for ideas.
-52″ of ¬†1/2″-5/8″ grosgrain ribbon for trim along zipper and outer tab (optional)
-Thread for decorative stitching on outer ribbon
-Batting-low loft, approximately 13 x 16″
-Basting SprayР(Optional-  It makes things a little easier by holding all layers together before quilting. However, I pinned layers and it worked.)

Supplies in the rough

Supplies in the rough

Specific sewing machine feet are helpful (from left):
-Buttonhole foot-yours may look different
-Quilt Bar-inserts to back of foot ankle or dual feed foot.
-Open toe satin stitch foot, or a foot that has a groove in the bottom to allow clearance for dense and raised stitches
-Button Sew-on Foot (optional-can always hand-sew on buttons–I did!)
-Zipper Foot

CroppedIMG_3940

Quilt bar inserted into foot ankle in back

Quilt bar inserted into foot ankle in back

Dual Feed/Even Feed Foot with Quilt Bar, Satin Stitch Foot

Dual Feed/Even Feed Foot with Quilt Bar, Satin Stitch Foot

Notice the groove space on the bottom of the satin stitch foot and the metal plates on the bottom (left). This allows for the thickness of decorative or satin stitches to pass freely under the foot without getting caught, dragged, or smashed.

1.)  Cut and Prep:
Cut the selvage off fat quarter.

Remove selvage before measuring

Remove selvage before measuring

2.) Cut out pieces

-Cut two 13″ x 11″ bag squares from each fat quarter (one outer and one lining)
-Cut one 13″ x 11″ bag square from batting
-Cut two 3.5″ x 3.5″ squares from both fabrics and batting—or—

CREATIVE OPTION: ¬†¬†This is where you can create the tab shape of your choice. ¬† Here, I made oval shaped tabs. Triangles or squares are fine, too. Measure it to be approximately 3.5″ x 3.5″. ¬†Cut one piece of batting for your two chosen tab shapes. ¬†¬†NOTE: ¬†I like to make a straight grain line arrow and a bias line on my little pattern piece just in case the tab would look great on the diagonal, like a stripe or plaid (see below)

-The handle does not need batting. ¬†Here, I used outer fabric (or contrasting fabric) and cut two pieces 5.5″ x 3″, and sew right sides together. turn and press—or—

CREATIVE OPTION: The handle/loop can be cut from your one yard piece of ribbon. ¬† See examples of the ribbon used as a loop in the completed bag pictures. ¬†If so, cut one piece 5″ long. ¬†Set aside.

Prep the outer layers

Prep the outer layers

3.)   Sandwich layers

Sandwich the three bag layers, placing the batting in the middle of the two fabrics.  Prepare the squares for quilting by pinning or using basting spray.

Pin for Quilting

Pin for Quilting

CREATIVE OPTION: Starting in the middle of the fabric, decide where the lines of your quilting will be. They can be diagonal or from top to bottom. Your choice. Draw a line with chalk or disappearing ink to start with the first line.   Set aside.  Attach quilting bar into back of foot.  See the blog post on my site for more tips on the quilting process.

4.) ¬†Prep the tabs and handle: ¬†Shown is the fabric handle. ¬† Another way to sew the handle is to use only one piece of fabric and fold raw edges to center, then fold again in half. ¬†edge stitch both sides of handle. ¬† If using ribbon, disregard the Fabric Handle directions and set aside your 5″ piece of ribbon for later.

tabs and handle

tabs and handle

5.)  Stitch

TABS–Remember, stack the tab fabrics right sides together with the batting on the bottom. ¬†See picture above. ¬†Sew all the way around the edges in a 1/4″ seam allowance. ¬†Clip curves.

CREATIVE OPTION: If your sewing machine has an alphabet, this is a good time to personalize the loop.  See sample below.  I used scrap interfacing under the ribbon, stitched out the name, trimmed the excess, and then sewed more ribbon wrong sides together along the edges to cover up the underside.

Personalized loop

Personalized loop

-Pin outer edges of tab and stitch in a 1/4″ seam allowance. ¬†Use pinking shears or clip corner carefully all the way around the tabs.

Tab pinned, with right sides together, batting on bottom

Tab pinned, with right sides together, batting on bottom, 1/4″ seam allowance

6.) Cut tabs in half, turn right side out, edge stitch

-Fold in half. Draw a line. Cut through all layers. Turn right side out.

Fold in half to find center of tab

Fold in half to find center of tab

Cut tabs in half

Cut tabs in half

Turn right sides out, edge stitch

Turn right sides out, edge stitch

7.) Buttonhole and Buttons
Gather your button or the two buttons. Determine length of button hole and stitch out buttonhole on tab.

Buttonhole on tab

Buttonhole on tab

-Carefully slice open with seam ripper or sharp scissors. Check that button(s)  will pass through.  By the way, these buttoned tabs have no real purpose except to be decorative and pretty (and to get better at making buttonholes).  Set aside.

Buttonhole test

Buttonhole test

8.)   Sew quilt lines of bag
-Sew the first line of stitching on the main body of the bag on the line you drew, either diagonally or from top to bottom. ¬†(Don’t sew over the pins!)
-Insert quilt guide one inch from needle. ¬† Sew a second line of stitching 1″ apart from the first line of stitching, smoothing fabric as you sew. ¬†Continue until the whole piece is quilted.

Quilt layers for body of bag

Quilt layers for body of bag

It should start to look like this:

Quilting starting to take shape

Quilting starting to take shape

And look like this when finished.  You may want to trim off any loose threads.

Finished quilted piece

Finished quilted piece

9.) Prep Ribbon for Decorative Stitching
-Attach satin foot to machine.
-Place ribbon down the center of your 3″ x 36″ stabilizer or interfacing. Note: I adhered two strips of scrap interfacing together and it worked just fine because I didn’t have stabilizer. ¬†You will stitch one continuous length about one yard long. ¬†Save remaining ribbon for covering bottom seam and loop (if you didn’t make a handle).

Ribbon on stabilizer/interfacing

Ribbon on stabilizer/interfacing

-Select favorite stitch.  Start sewing slowly down entire one yard length of ribbon.

Stitch selection

Stitch selection

Stitches done, press gently

Stitches done, press gently

-The ribbon will be a little lumpy once finished.  Gently press with iron to flatten.  Turn the ribbon over to the underside. Carefully trim off excess interfacing so that there is not interfacing showing from the right side.  Be careful not to cut through stitching or ribbon.

Trim off excess

Trim off excess

-As we did with the tabs to find the center, fold body of bag in half and press to make a crease line.

Fold in half to find center

Fold in half to find center

-Cut bag in half, lengthwise.  This is where the zipper will be inserted.

Cut bag body in half, lengthwise

Cut bag body in half, lengthwise

10.)  Prep for zipper and tab insertion
-On wrong side of one of the rectangles, place zipper right side up with zipper tape and raw edges even. Pin with the tab hanging off one end and the zipper stop hanging off the other end. ¬†It’s okay the zipper is too long.

Prep for zipper

Prep for zipper

-Attach zipper foot to machine.
-Stitch down center of zipper tape with regular stitch length.

Stitch one side of zipper to bag

Stitch one side of zipper to bag

-Trim off excess fabric from under zipper so that there is no fabric showing.   We will be placing decorative ribbon over the zipper tape soon!

Trim raw edge under zipper

Trim raw edge under zipper

-Lightly press zipper tape flat towards outer bag fabric.

Right side up of bag. one half

Right side up of bag. one half, lightly press

With right side of zipper facing up on the wrong side of the other bag half, match up raw edges and centering, pin zipper to other half just as you did with the first half.  Stitch right down the center of the zipper tape.

Attach zipper to other half

Attach zipper to other half

-Turn, trim the fabric underneath, and press gently toward right side.

Zipper installed!

Zipper installed!

-Cut your decorative ribbon piece in half.  Place one half over zipper tape, covering the stitching and onto bag. Center and then stitch down the side nearest the zipper.

Ribbon placed over zipper tape

Ribbon placed over zipper tape

-Get tabs.  Mark center of the bag (red pin).  Slide one tab under the outer side of the ribbon.  Pin.

Tab Placement

Tab Placement

-Repeat for other side.
-Off-set the tabs from each other on opposite sides, using the center mark as a guide.  See below.  Pin.  Sew close to edge of ribbon, catching tabs in stitching.

Tabs slipped under ribbon

Tabs slipped under ribbon

-Mark button placement by marking through the buttonhole.

Mark button placement

Mark button placement

Sew on button(s) using special foot or by hand.  Here are two buttons stacked together and contrasting thread just for fun.

Old school handsewing

Old school hand sewing

Your bag should look something like this now.

Completed top of bag

Completed top of bag

11.) Sew bottom of bag
-With right sides together, sew bottom center seam of bag in a 3/8″ seam.

Center bottom seam

Center bottom seam

-Press open seam. ¬†Trim off any excess batting or stray fabric or threads. ¬†Trim to 1/4″.

Trim excess off seam

Trim excess off seam

-Unzip bag and center ribbon over the seam.  Stitch down both sides of ribbon covering up the seam.  This makes for a nicer finish inside than a zig zag or serged seam.

Ribbon centered over bottom seam

Ribbon centered over bottom seam

-Your bag should look something like this now.

Looking into bag

Looking into bag

12.) Sew up sides, including loop or handle
-Close zipper.  With right sides together, fold bag in half with zipper facing center bottom seam.

LOOPS: ¬†The loop can be placed in this seam on this side or on the other, your choice. ¬†It should be slipped in now, centered, between both layers, facing into the bag. ¬†You can’t see it because it is inside. ¬†Stitch across ends, going slowly over zipper a few times for durability.

Sides, one with loop or handle

Sides, one with loop or handle

-Stitch across ends in a 3/8″ seam. ¬†Zig zag or serge raw edges for a clean finish.

Stitch across ends, then zig zag or serge

Stitch across ends, then zig zag or serge

-Before sewing up other side, OPEN UP THE ZIPPER ENOUGH FOR YOUR FINGERS TO REACH ZIPPER TAB.  If not, you will not be able to get into the bag!  Line the zipper teeth up closely to each other.  Pin.  Remember, your loop or handle should be sandwiched inside now, centered near the zipper and facing inside.  Stitch up seam. Trim and finish with zig zag or serge.

Open zipper, sew other side

Open zipper, sew other side

This is how it should look.   Open up the zipper a bit to do the next step.

How does it look?

How does it look?

Creating box corners

Creating box corners

-RST, fold sides perpendicular to the seam and measure two inches across and mark with a pen. Pin.

HANDLE:  Insert handle into both box seams.  Just like the loops, the handle stays inside the bag while sewing.  It will flip back out when bag is finished.  See samples.

Handle is sewn into box seams

Handle is sewn into box seams

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Stitch on line. Repeat for other side. You will do this a total of 4 times; two box seams on each end.
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Box corners from the inside

Box corners from the inside

Doggy ears trimmed and serged

Doggy ears trimmed and serged

-Trim off the ‘doggy ears’. ¬†Clean finish with a zig zag or serged seam.

Ready to see it??

Ready to see it??

ALMOST DONE!!! ¬†Reach inside and pull the zipper down enough to turn the bag right side out. ¬†Vwah-la!!!! ¬†It’s done! ¬†Load it up with goodies.

Finished bag

Finished bag

Different tabs, different fabric combinations

Different tabs, different fabric combinations

Another example up close

Another example up close-skateboards!

I had a difficult time finding a coordinating fabric, so I used the same fabric for both sides and just added contrast for the tabs, ribbon, zipper and buttons.

Same fabric used for inside and outside

Same fabric used for inside and outside

Useful, roomy, colorful, and fun to make

Useful, roomy, colorful, and fun to make

These are addictive.  Lengthy tutorial, but all the steps add up to make a great project.  I hope you have enjoyed the ride!

Cheers,
Dana

Santa Pillow Cover

IMG_2437There is no snow here in the desert, at least not yet, but the holiday season is upon us and I am busy making things, as I always do during this time of year. As you may have noticed, I haven’t posted much since before Thanksgiving. It would be smarter to plan all year for Christmas projects, but I just don’t seem to work that way. I get inspired when the Christmas items show up in the retail stores. So, December brings out the Santa Elf in me and I get busy! If you still have time to whip up a last minute project for your decor or give them as gifts, I’ll walk you through the details.

I came up with this idea in my sleep. Well, kind of. I saw an example of a Santa pillow online with a white furry strap across the center like a belt, but thought that was not the correct way to represent Santa so I changed it up to have a black belt and a pom pom instead.

As I was going through my closets, I noticed I had some pillow forms unopened and thought this would be a great way to get them out and be used for the holidays. With the zipper installed at the bottom of the pillow, I can take the cover off and store after the holidays and get started on Valentine’s Day cover, St. Patrick’s Day, etc. I designed the pattern, which you can draft yourself, and make your own with materials of your choice. I made two pillows, so adjust accordingly.

Here are the supplies needed:
1.) 18″ pillow form(s)
2.) Red fabric of your choice, 1/2 yd of either 45″ or 60″ makes one pillow. Purchase 1 yard if making two pillows.
3.) Pattern paper of your choice. Tissue, newspaper, etc. I use medical paper.
4.) Marker or pencil to draw pattern.
5.) Buckle(s)
6.) Black fabric, felt, belting for Santa’s belt. I used felt strips cut to fit width of buckle and approximately 11″ long.
7.) Scissors
8.) Hand needle to sew on pom pom.
9.) White and red thread
10.) Two 18″ zippers.
11.) Package of 2 1/2″ pom poms (Hobby Lobby)
12.) Fusible 1/4″ tape (optional)
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Step 1.) Using your pattern paper of choice, draw out two 19″ squares. Then, free hand some doggy ear shape as I did up in one corner.IMG_2403
Step 2.) Once the pattern is traced, cut out the pattern piece and pin to red fabric. Cut out fabric.IMG_2406
Step 3.) Serge (or zig zag) the lower edge of pillow. This will be where the zipper is installed. IMG_2407Step 4.) Prepare Santa’s belt by cutting your black fabric to fit buckle center. I used felt for the speedy factor, but you can use any black option of your choice. I just cut two strips the 11″ length of felt squares by the width of the belt. The excess gets cut off soon. IMG_2408 Once the belting is ready, cut a hole and insert buckle prong.
Step 5.) Positioning the belt and buckle: Find the center of the pillow and mark with a pin. The buckle’s center should be placed in the center of the pillow. This will help locate where the belt should be sewn and where the buckle will be placed.IMG_2409IMG_2412

Slide buckle back on to black fabric and insert buckle tongue. Sew the belting on, both edges, until you reach about one inch from buckle.
Step 6.) Noticing where the center of the buckle should be, flip buckle back on itself in order to sew the belting down. If possible, sew down the belting where the buckle will cover the stitching. Trim off excess.
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Step 7.) Prepare other half of belt by measuring to the center, keeping the buckle placement in mind. Insert the other half of belting, turn back and mark the hole for belt tongue, Snip a hole and insert belting, I left mine loose, but you can stitch it down if desired. Keeping the buckle out of the way, stitch both sides of the belting down to the red fabric getting as close as possible to the buckle.
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Step 8.) Prepare to insert zipper by machine basting with a 1/2″ seam allowance on the lower half of pillow covering. Right sides together.
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Step 9.) Press open.
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Step 10.) Optional: Iron on the fusible tape to the seam allowance. This will help hold zipper in place.
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Step 11.) With zipper face down, press with iron along seam allowance, fusing the tape to the zipper.
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Step 12.) With a zipper foot, stitch the zipper on to the pillow along both sides of the zipper on the right side. Open up basting stitches carefully with a seam ripper.
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Step 13.) With right sides together, pin remaining three sides together, unzipping the zipper enough to insert your hand. If not, you will not be able to turn the cover right side out. Stitch all three sides in a regular stitch length. (2.5m-3.0m) Clip corners. Turn right side out, pressing out corners.
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Step 14.) Prepare Santa’s pom pom by taking white thread and a needle and sewing through the center with a few whip stitches to the doggy eared corner of the cover. Insert pillow form and zip up. You are done!!
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IMG_2433Enjoy your cover for the holidays, unzip and remove the pillow form (for the next cover you make), and store for next year. Enjoy!

Snap Bag Tutorial

Snap Bag

Snap Bag

What you can’t see here is that this bag stays closed by recycling a used tape measure from a home improvement center. Fortunately, my husband had one he was happy to donate. The measurements are 8″ Width x 6″ Height x 2″ Depth. As with any sewing project, there is room to personalize and modify to your specific needs. The dimensions can change if you wish, but I recommend making one first and then you will know what measurements need to change for the second bag. Add embroidery, eliminate the 2″ box pleat, use up to three fabrics, or omit the prairie point handles and sew a loop, hair tie as the handle, etc. The choice is yours.

Supplies Needed

Supplies Needed

1.) Quilted Fabric (or fabric and batting to quilt your own) 9″ x 14.5″ This is the outer bag fabric.
2.) Lining Fabric 9″ x 18.5″ This fabric covers the measuring tape across top of bag.
3.) Side Loop Handle 2.5″ x 4.5″ Can be lining or outer fabric-your choice.
4.) Wrist handle (Optional) 11″ x 2.5″.
5.) Handles (Prairie Points) Cut Two 4.5″ x 4.5″ (Same fabric as lining)
6.) Coordinating thread for both fabrics
7.) Fusible Interfacing 9′ x 2″ (Use up small scraps of left over interfacing and piece together)
8.) 1′ Tape measure from hardware store. (Check to see what screwdriver or tapered cross tip screwdriver to have handy to undo outer case of tape measure)
9.) Roll of tape (either electrical or blue painter’s tape to cover tape measure ends)
10.) Sharp, heavy duty utility scissors (to cut tape measure)
11.) Ruler (to draw quilt lines if quilting your own fabric)
12.) Chalk or water soluble marker (to draw quilt lines)

Prepare your pattern pieces

Prepare your pattern pieces

Step 1 Prepare Pattern Pieces using tissue, medical paper, newsprint, etc.
All measurements are based on a 1″ tape measure. Adjust if you use a 3/4″ measuring tape. My Sharpie drawings are not as clear as the measurements stated above, so this is just to show you what the pattern pieces should look like.

Cut out pieces

Cut out pieces

Step 2. Cut Out Main Pattern Pieces To Tissue Measurements EXCEPT Batting And Outer Fabric If You Are Going To Quilt It. Leave some extra fabric and batting on all sides until quilt stitching is completed. Trim to pattern piece dimensions after quilting.
IMG_2013Step 3. Using The Ruler, Draw Line From One Corner To the Other In 1″ Lines Using a quilt guide or lines drawn on the fabric, stitch the quilting lines to sew batting to outer fabric. Click here to see another example of quilting your own outer fabric.

Faint chalk line from corner to corner

Faint chalk line from corner to corner

You can barely see the chalk line-this is what you want. Pin batting along the line to secure. Move pins as you sew each line until all stitching is complete.
Step 4. Stitch quilt lines. I like to set my stitch length to 3.0 and use a quilting bar that I can set to the 1″ mark, helping me to speed up the sewing process a little.

1' quilted lines

1″ quilted lines

Trim off excess

Trim off excess

Step 5. Trim off excess to match the pattern tissue measurement (9″ x 14.5″). I used a rotary cutter and ruler but scissors work just fine.

Press the 2

Press the 2″ strip of interfacing

Step 6. Press the 2″ fusible interfacing to the top edges of wrong side of lining. This is where I use up the leftover small scraps of interfacing from other projects. This will also help the tape measure from cutting through the edges of bag.

Turn top edge down 5/8

Turn top edge down 5/8″

Step 7. Layer lining and quilted fabric, wrong sides together and press lining down 5/8″ towards quilted piece. Set aside for a moment.
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Step 8. Prepare prairie points by folding the 4.5″ square in half.
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Step 9. Fold up lower left corner up to center. Press.IMG_2086
Step 10. Fold up right corner and bring to center, creating prairie point. The folded edges should be parallel to each other and touching and raw edges should be even. Press.

Pressed 1.25

Pressed 1.25″ over quilted fabric edge

Step 11. Fold down the top edge 1.25″ to cover raw edge of quilted front. Center prairie points and insert raw edge here under the folded edge. Secure with fusible tape or pins to keep anything from moving before the stitching. Refer to finished bag photo if needed to see placement.

Stitch through all layers

Stitch through all layers

Step 12. Stitch close to folded edge, leaving room for tape measure to slide through. Test before stitching. (Prairie points don’t show here, but they are sewn on both top edges in the center to be used as handles/decoration.)

Side Loop

Side Loop

Step 13. Prepare Side Loop. Fold loop, right sides together and stitch down long die leaving ends open. Grade seam allowances.

Safety pin to help turn

Safety pin to help turn

Step 14. Attach a safety pin to one edge of the tube. Use the safety pin to turn the tube right side out by sliding through to other side.

Side Loop ready for pressing

Side Loop ready for pressing

Step 15. After loop is right side out, press flat. Remove pin. Fold in half bringing raw edges together.

Baste loop

Baste loop

Step 16. Baste Loop to front of bag. With raw edges together, place loop 1/2″ right below top band. Baste with an 1/8″ seam allowance. This will be sewn permanently when side seams are sewn up.

Sew up side seams

Sew up side seams

Step 17. Sew up ONE SIDE SEAM only. I ran my finger down inside the bag from top to bottom to smooth out any tucks. Pin. Stitch in a 1/4″ seam allowance making sure to back-stitch enthusiastically at the top edge.
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Step 18. Cut tape measure into two (2) pieces measuring 8″. Test length by inserting into the casings to see if there is at least a 1/4″ seam allowance. If not, trim to fit. Remove tape pieces.
Step 19. Using utility scissors, slightly round edges to remove sharp edges/corners.
Step 20. Tape edges with electrical tape or painter’s tape. This is a very important step. I did not do this on my first bag and the corners are working their way through the material.

Sew up side seams

Sew up side seams

Step 21. Insert tape measure pieces back into casings (like Step 15) pushing them in as far as possible to give ample room to sew on remaining seam allowance. NOTE: MAKE SURE THE TAPE MEASURE PIECES ARE INSERTED WITH THE BLANK SIDES OF TAPE (“C” SHAPE) FACE THE LINING SIDE. THE NUMBERED SIDES (“U” SHAPE) ARE FACING THE QUILTED SIDE OF BAG. The “C” shape sides of the tape kissing each other create the ‘snap’ .
Step 22. Prepare to sew up other side seam. Fold bag in half RST, pin, making sure the side loop is on the inside of the bag and all raw edges are even. Make sure there are no tucks. The top edge gets the most wear-and-tear so once again, back-stitch enthusiastically.
Step 23. Serge or zig zag raw side seams to cleanly finish.
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Step 24. Prepare mitered corners.
Keeping the rights sides together, pull apart bag at lower edge fold (base of bag) with one hand on front of bag and one hand on back of bag until the side seam looks like the picture. My thumb is on the side seam and my index finger is on the base of the bag. This creates a triangle-looking area on the inside of the bag, but a nice miter on the outside, allowing the bag to sit up by itself. Measure across 2″ or 1″ on both sides of seam, pressing seam allowance to one side. Mark the line.
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Step 25. Sew across triangle/miter. Trimming corner is optional. I left my triangle in place to give the base of the bag more substance. Repeat for other side.IMG_2066
Step 26. Turn right side out. This will take a little muscle because the tape measure doesn’t want to bend this way. Work it until the bag inverts. Add seam sealant to upper seam allowances.

How To Sew An Infinity Scarf

This may be one of my easiest tutorials on this site…..talk about addictive! These can be made in 30 minutes once you get the hang of it. The fabric can be a knit or woven, which means the width can vary from 45″-60″. I prefer knits because they are soft on the neck, don’t wrinkle, and can be stretched to get over your head. They can even wrap three times making a collar, if desired. The slideshow shows some of the recent remnants-turned-neck-jewelry I’ve made and their finished widths so you can see how they drape. (the navy/white knit and multi stripe knit are wrapped three times because they are narrow).

What you will need to get started:
1.) Sewing machine
2.) Fabric of your choice-remnants of 1 yard or less
3.) Matching thread
4.) Hand sewing needle
5.) Scissors
6.) Ruler
7.) Iron (optional, but provides better results)

I will list the steps here and then show pictures to help clarify.
Step 1.) Fold fabric in half lengthwise, bringing selvages together. This will be a seam allowance width away from your finished width that sits around your neck. For example: 1/2 yard of fabric (18″) will make a 9″ scarf.
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Step 2.) Square up fabric so it is the same measurement in width from the selvages to the fold.

Selvages together, RST, pin

Selvages together, RST, pin

Step 3.) Pin lengthwise raw edges, leaving 2-4″ near the selvage open. This will be the opening for turning right side out.
Step 4.) Sew lengthwise edge except for the 2-4″ opening.
Step 5.) Press seam allowance flat.
Step 6.) Turn right side out.
Step 7.) With RST(Right Sides Together), align selvages and pin together. This makes the loop.
Step 8.) Sew just past the selvage with a 3/4″ seam allowance or enough to clear any markings of the selvage.
Step 9.) Trim off any selvage.
Step 10.) Press seam allowance either open or to one side, whichever is easier.
Step 11.) Turn right sides out.
Step 12.) With needle and thread, fold edges to inside and slip stitch opening closed.
That’s It!!

Three piece ensemble, navy knit

Three piece ensemble, navy knit

Here is another option. I made a tank, shrug and infinity scarf out of the same material. The infinity scarf makes the tank look like a cowl neck and provides more warmth for chilly weather.
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Remove and put in your bag when it gets warm.

Have fun making these for yourself or as gifts.

How To Do An Easy Updo

Easy Updo

Easy Updo

I receive a lot of compliments and questions about my updo so I thought I would give you the details and demystify what looks like a time-consuming hairdo.
It looks complicated, but with a few items, I hope to show you how easy it can be.
Okay, a little disclaimer; I have a cosmetology licence and I did hair for a living. Don’t get too discouraged. I’m going to keep this as simple as possible.
Supplies needed:
– Hair Brush and or Comb
– Bobby Pins
– Barrette or Clip
– Curlers (I use Caruso Steam Curlers from Sally Beauty Supply. I Love These! I’ve been using them for years because they don’t burn my head and work quickly.
– Styling gel (optional) Put in hair before blow drying)

1.) Prepare hair; either wash, towel dry hair and apply a gel or setting lotion and blow dry or let dry naturally if I wash my hair at night. (Have you ever heard that slightly dirty hair is easier to style into updos? It’s true. Not greasy, but maybe a day or two after washing. You be the judge.)
2.) Section hair, and roll hair under on sponge curler toward the back of my head. Make sections about 1″ x 1″ which makes for tighter curls.

Sloppy Sectioning is Okay

Sloppy Sectioning is Okay

As you can see, this looks like a disaster, but it works out. No updo ever looks the same and I like it that way. Here are some views from the sides:
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3.) Allow hair to cool. This is when I do my make up, get my clothes ready. By the time I do all of that, the rollers are ready to come out.
4) Remove caps on rollers and let hair fall.
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I think you get the idea. The other side looks pretty much the same.
5.) Run fingers through hair to separate curls. DO NOT BRUSH. I find that brushing makes my hair frizzy and I lose the look of the curls.
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6.) Twist hair upwards, piling hair high on head.
7.) Fasten with Barrette or Clip.
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Keep twisting, then fasten with a barrette or clip. Can you see the brown barrette?

Keep twisting, then fasten with a barrette or clip. Can you see the brown barrette?

8.) After clipping, arrange curls to cover barrette and fasten with bobby pins. I often cross bobby pins over each other in a “X” pattern to secure. This way the bobby pins don’t work their way out and curls stay in place.
9.) Continue to arrange curls around head hiding the bobby pins if possible. I also try to cover the clip with a few curls. If you like tendrils, pull a few pieces of hair out at temples and let fall naturally. If I don’t like the way they look, I will touch up with a small barrel curling iron, holding the curling iron vertically.
10.) Spray with favorite hair spray to help it last all day. Sometimes, I may even get another day out of the curls and can repeat with a claw clip for a more relaxed look.
ENJOY!
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Eye Shadow Rescue

Custom Blended Eye Shadow From Old Compacts

Custome Blended Eye Shadow From Old Compacts

Do you have broken eye shadow containers that should be thrown away but you keep using them because the colors are still great? I had 16 broken containers and was tired of the shadow powder spilling out and making a mess. Easy trick: Combine like-colors, add isopropyl alcohol, and voila! Saved shadows with new colors. A few supplies are needed and you will be on your way.

Broken and Ugly-Notice What Can Be Salvaged

Broken and Ugly-Notice What Can Be Salvaged

Displaying all of these showed me what colors were favorites, what I wanted to keep and what would eventually be thrown out. I was excited to consolidate.

Items Needed

Items Needed

Disclaimer: I am not a chemist. This is a overly-simplified way to salvage eyeshadow and I in no way am pretending to have the orginal eye shadow formula figured out. This is a quick fix to condense and simplify. Enough of that—let’s proceed.
Just a few items are needed:
1.) Isopropyl Alcohol
2.) Containers like these
3.) Dropper like this
4.) Cotton Swabs
5.) Scraper or small screwdriver

Chip Out, Add Alcohol, and Stir

Chip Out, Add Alcohol, and Stir

1.) Start to chip out the shadow with the screwdriver and get as much into the container as possible. (It gets a little messy).
2.) Dip dropper into alcohol while pinching it. Let go and watch the alcohol go up into the dropper. Squeeze out only a drop at a time to the dried up shadow, stirring as you go.

Gather Compacts

Gather Compacts

3.) Combine all similar colors and start mixing them together in the containers. This is the fun part. I found that I could use lighter colors to blend with some of the darker shades; consolidate greens, blues, etc.
4.) The consistency should be like thick soup. The alcohol will evaporate off eventually, but to remove lumps and get a true color, constant stirring works best.

ReUse Old Containers

ReUse Old Containers

5.) After emptying some of the compacts, I found that some were still in good shape and I would repurpose them. What a nice way to simplify, consolidate, and rescue perfectly good eye shadow. In the past, I threw the whole compact away. Now they have a new life and great ‘new’ colors!

Do you have eye shadows that need rescuing?

Thermal Iron Cover Tutorial

1Blue Cover up closeWhat do you do when you have to pack a hot curling iron? Well, my mother gave me a thermal cover for either a flat iron or curling iron and I thought it would be great to make some for my Sit and Sew ladies for Christmas. They make great gifts, or make one to keep in your suitcase. I studied it carefully and remade it my way. Here’s how I did it.

Getting Started

Getting Started

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Step 1. Supplies Needed:
– Tracing paper, medical paper or something to use as your pattern piece
– 1 Outer fabric approximately 10″ x 15″
– 1 Coordinating fabric for inside lining and outer bias binding (You can use purchased single fold bias tape if desired)
– 1 Small 10 x 15″ piece of Thinsulate or ironing board fabric with a heat barrier layer
– Ruler for drawing quilt lines
– Quilt guide that attaches to sewing machine (optional)
– Scissors
– Matching thread
– Chalk or disappearing marker

Sandwich three layers

Sandwich three layers

Step 2. Layer and Draw:
– Layer the fabrics by sandwiching the Thinsulate between the two coordinating fabrics, with wrong sides to the Thinsulate.
– Pin
– Using your ruler, start drawing lines diagonally with your chalk or marker (whichever shows up best on your fabric) from one corner to the other. Continue drawing 1″ lines on either side of your original line until you have lines on the whole piece.

Draw One Inch Diagonal Quilt Lines

Draw One Inch Diagonal Quilt Lines

Sew Your Lines

Sew Your Lines

Step 3. Sew Your Lines.
-Using a quilt guide attached to your foot, sew the 1″ diagonal lines across the entire piece. Feel free to sew the lines any way you wish as long as the layers are kept together. I chose 1″ diagonal because it was fast and easy.

Round Edges, Trace & Cut Out

Round Edges, Trace & Cut Out

Step 4. Pin, Trace and Cut.
-Take a pencil and round the edges of your 10″ x 15″ pattern piece. (It makes it easier to bind later). Trace around your quilted piece and cut out.

Get Ready to Baste

Get Ready to Baste

Step 5. Baste the Raw Edges
-Set your machine on baste and sew 1/8″ to 1/4″ around raw edge of quilted piece. This will prepare the edges for binding.

Cutting Sloppy Bias Strips

Cutting Sloppy Bias Strips

Step 6. How to Cut Some Sloppy Bias Strips
I know, I know. This is NOT how you make proper bias strips. Use a cutting mat and rotary cutter for pretty bias strips. I am giving you the quick-and-dirty to get this done. Remember, I know our sewing time is limited and we need to get these projects done pronto. Reduce the UFO’s. (Un-Finished Objects)
-Place fabric on grain and fold up one edge to a 45 degree. Insert your scissors on the fold and cut. This is what I call sloppy bias because it is fast and doesn’t use a ruler, cutting mat or rotary cutter. Remember: I shave off time if it works for me and gets me great results; otherwise, do it the right way. As you will see in the following steps, the sloppiness just disappears.

Piecing Bias Strips Together

Piecing Bias Strips Together

Cut 1″-1.25″ strips from the chosen fabric for the binding. With right sides together, take two ends as shown. Stitch and press open. When you press these open, they should continue in a straight line, not a 90 degree angle. Cut off corner of one end of bias. Fold under 1/4″. Start pinning this to the bottom edge.

Attaching Bias Binding

Attaching Bias Binding

Step 8. Bias Strip Attached to Edge
Starting at the lower edge, with right sides together (RST), align raw edges of bias binding and edges of thermal cover. Overlap the raw end of your ending bias strip (you may need to trim off a little) over the beginning folded edge. (The raw edge will be sandwiched between the folded edge and the thermal cover). Pin. Sew in a 1/4″ seam all the way around the outer edge. This is where some of the magic happens IF the sewing is straight and even.

Pink, Clip or Trim Seam Allowance

Pink, Clip or Trim Seam Allowance

Step 9. Trim Edges.
Clip corners and trim around the entire thermal cover to reduce the seam allowance and allow for the bias to turn nicely around the corners. Press when flipped to underside.

Binding Pressed to Underside

Binding Pressed to Underside

Step 10. Magic Happening
Gently finger press the bias strip to the underside. It will naturally fold and curl on the corners. Turn raw edges in so that the fold is just covering the stitching line.

Steam a Seam to the Rescue!

Steam a Seam to the Rescue!

Step 11. Making Life Easier
I used the 1/4″ Steam a Seam fusible tape on the trimmed seam allowance to help the folded bias edge stick until I can sew it down. Pin and press. On the right side, you should notice that the bias edge looks pretty good and is ready for some final decorative stitching.

Fancy Stitching

Fancy Stitching

Step 12 Pick a Favorite Stitch

Time for Tacos

Time for Tacos

Step 13. Fold In Half
You are almost done! Fold in half so it looks like a taco. Pin in the ditch of the stitching, trying to match up your binding stitching lines from both sides. You will then ‘stitch in the ditch’ through all layers in a straight seam from the bottom up to the top leaving an opening 2″-3″ from the top edge. This will leave the opening for your curling iron or flat iron.

Stitch In the Ditch

Stitch In the Ditch

Ready for a Hot Iron!

Ready for a Hot Iron!

You are finished. Now you can pack a hot iron and not worry it will burn something while it cools!