Birdsong Bows: November 2012

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

To dye is to live

The secret is out: I've wanted to dye fabrics and/or yarns for about 10 years now. It's not such a big secret to my husband: I've quietly been buying a dyeing book here or there, and have talked about where I would dye when I had the time and opportunity. Really, it's about having children old enough to either (a) want to stay out of the way or (b) want to help, and (c) know where they're at in 3-dimensional space, because, let's face it, it wouldn't be fun to have one of the girls run into the dye pot!
Now that the girls are 6 and 11, and I've deemed our 1970s-vintage kitchen old enough to not be overly concerned about ruining anything (the harvest gold counters? really? The "new" floor that's now 16 years old?), I decided that it's time!
Since I've also been on a mission to design the perfect T-shirt patterns, I used the opportunity to dye three shirts that I've sewn for the girls. And because I really needed a new pair of yoga pants, I threw in a pair of those that I sewed, as well. I sewed the T-shirts out of high-quality organic baby cotton with a touch of spandex, and the yoga pants out of a thicker organic cotton, also with touch of spandex for good recovery. I figured the touch of spandex wouldn't affect they ability of the cotton to dye well.
One of my daughters loves sewing but wants nothing to do with dyeing. My other daughter wanted to dye but wants nothing to do with sewing. This is probably perfect, since they won't argue over either the sewing machines or the dye pots!
I decided to dye straight colors this time; nothing fancy, and chose pre-mixed dye rather than mixing myself for the first few run-throughs. Later I'll get a notebook going to record my own mixes. For instant gratification, however, I love the selection of pre-mixed Procion dyes at Dharma Trading Company!
The process took up a Saturday afternoon, and was such fun! My younger daughter enjoyed her shirt dyed with "Flamingo Flame" (she's holding another shirt that has a sewing mistake and wasn't really the right design for her. We dyed it with "Amethyst" just to see the color. I will use Amethyst for a pair of yoga pants later).
I'm very happy with my yoga pants! I plan to make another with a slightly trimmer flare - these fit well but are a little wider than I'd like, from lower-thigh down:
And when my older daughter, who didn't want to help, saw her shirt dyed with "Parakeet," she actually said she loved the color and thanked me. That's a treat to hear from an 11-year-old! I think there will be more "parakeet" in her future. Her shirt needs to be re-drafted with a wider shoulder, because this turned out a tad narrow for her even though she says it's comfortable.
What a fun way to spend a weekend afternoon! I'm already cutting some more shirts and pants for Round 2. :)


Friday, November 16, 2012

FREE Headband Instructions: How to make a no-sew, fabric-wrapped headband

A beautiful but simple headband is a perfect accessory for any outfit! This is an easy, no-sew method for making a professional-looking headband with just a bit of fabric and a plastic, 1"-wide headband.
Thank you to Ellie Inspired, who has included Birdsong Patterns in her 12 days of Christmas blog hop!! Any purchases made from now until Nov. 24 will receive 10% off using code "INSPIRED" during checkout in Birdsong's Etsy Shop!
Supplies Needed:
1. A 1-inch plastic headband; can be purchased at The Ribbon Retreat.
2. Scrap of fabric large enough to place the headband template on a fold, on the bias. Fat eighths are good here; I used a fat quarter I had already.
3. Acid Free Spray adhesive. I use the Craft Bond brand, found at many craft stores in the adhesives section.
4. Piece of scrap cardboard or paper to protect your work surface when spraying.
5. Latex-free surgical gloves to protect your hands from the glue (can be found in any pharmacy)
6. Marking tools
7. Pins and scissors
8. Piece of paper to draw your template
9. Chinese braid, enough to go along the entire inside of the headband. This can also be purchased at The Ribbon Retreat.
10. Hot glue gun and glue sticks
11. Wood burning tool or Fray Check to apply to the edges of the Chinese braid, so it won't unravel. Or you may tuck it underneath and glue in place.
Step 1 (below): Find the center of your headband (there's usually a raised bump there) and make a tiny mark on each side. You'll need to know where the center is later.
Step 2 (shown in the three photos below): Lay your headband on the sheet of paper. Starting from the mid-point of the headband (which you've just marked), draw a dashed line all the way around half of the headband and stop once you've gotten back to the midpoint.
Step 3 (shown below): Now draw a solid line 1/2" away from the dotted lines, most of the way around EXCEPT the straight center line. You can also taper to about 3/8 of an inch around the rounded end of the template. Again, don't add the solid line to the straight side (center line). Mark your template so you know what it is later! Also mark "fold" on the straight midpoint side.
Step 4 (below:) Fold your fabric on the diagonal and place your template with the short side on the fold. Pin and cut.
Step 5 (below): Fold in half and make a light mark showing the center of the fabric.
Step 6: Take your fabric, headband, gloves, spray adhesive and scrap cardboard protector to a well-ventilated area. I do this outside and test the spray to see which way the wind is blowing...and I make sure I'm clear from the spray path.
Step 7: This part goes fast! Spray a thin layer of adhesive along the WRONG side of your headband fabric. Don't over-soak it or the glue will leak to the front. IMMEDIATELY lay the center of the headband onto the center line you drew on your fabric.
Step 8: Very quickly roll the plastic headband over the fabric. Make sure you've placed it on straight! As you roll, the fabric will attach easily.
Step 9: Repeat on the other side, until the fabric is fully adhered to the top of the headband.
Step 10 (next three photos below): Quickly and neatly wrap the excess fabric to the inside, making sure there are no bubbles or wrinkles on the outside of the headband. The inside does not need to be perfect, because it will be covered with the Chinese braid. Taper the ends and fold them inward.
Step 11: Warm up your hot glue gun and glue. Use it to securely place the tapered fabric ends to the underside of the headband.
Step 12: Measure your Chinese braid so that it's the same size, or a bit longer, than the inside of the headband.
Step 13: You may either use Fray Check or a woodburning tool brushed across the raw first edge of the braid to "seal" it. Or you may tuck it underneath while you're gluing it down.
Step 14 (next two photos below): Apply your hot glue about 3 inches at a time to the inside of the headband, pressing your Chinese braid onto it as you work. You'll need to do this a little at a time, because the glue dries quickly. Be careful! The glue is hot. Seal the second edge or fold it down and glue once you've reached the end.
The headband is ready to wear!
This quick project is perfect for matching bridesmaids accessories (and even for the bride). The headband fits from girls to adults, so it's very versatile. If you want to make this in other sizes, measure your cutting line slightly differently for each. For instance, a 2-inch headband will need a cutting line that's 1 inch wider than the outline of your headband. Be sure to taper the allowance as you get closer to the rounded "point" edges or you'll have too much fabric to fold inward there.
Enjoy! How many can you make today? :) Please share your creations on Birdsong Patterns' Facebook page - everyone will love to see them.
For tomorrow's Blog Hop, please be sure to visit Riley Blake for more fun!!

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Thursday, November 1, 2012

Halloween costume contest winners!

Thanks to all who entered the Halloween costume and accessories contest! And thanks for your patience - my cold unleashed its fury on Wednesday and I could hardly sit up without the "faucet running." You know that day when your cold is extra horrible? Halloween was that day for me! I was so glad I took the girls' Halloween photos early!
Well, this was a tough decision, because so many of you had fantastic costumes. The winner of the $15 gift certificate to The Ribbon Retreat goes to Evelyn Griffith for her children's "The Grinch and Cindy Lou Who" outfits. Created with items on hand and with patterns she pulled from her brain, I thought they were fun and whimsical, and her kids look so "in character!"
And our second winner is Linda Harris - whose sheer volume of sewing and crafting several different outfits impressed me! There were bows, tutus, other accessories - even a Raggedy Ann outfit -- she was one busy woman for Halloween! Linda, you've won a $15 gift certificate to go toward any pattern or tutorial from Birdsong Patterns.
Again, thanks to all who entered! It was so fun seeing your creations. :) Evelyn and Linda, please contact me at birdsongbows (at) gmail (dot) com so I can tell you how to retrieve your prizes!