Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A Crafty Kids' Book

As a kid in the 80s, I felt like the lone crafter. Was I the only one sewing teddy bears and knitting doll clothes? It sure felt like it.

Thanks to the internet, it's easier for creative kids today to connect to each other. But crafting -- especially in a small town -- can still feel a little lonely. That's why I couldn't help but feel a tingle when an editor at work passed Crafty Chloe to me.

I wrote a blog post about the book for the Martha Family Room blog, but I plan on recommending this book to every crafty person I know.

When I was a kid, my mom created sweatshirts for my brother and me with a felt Christmas tree and real lights rigged into it. We had to carry a battery pack in our pocket to turn the lights on and off. For every kid who ooohed and aaahed, there was another kid making fun of us. I wonder if life would've been easier for me if a book like this existed during my childhood.

Were you teased for sporting something homemade? Let's pretend we're in therapy and share. "Hi, my name is Ashley and I'm a crafter..."

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Invisible Zipper Mistakes

When it comes to sewing, I'm like the ill-behaved child who does things wrong but never learns a lesson from it. You could beat on me, put me in time-out, take away my favorite toy -- and I would repeat my bad behavior again and again.

Take invisible zippers, for example. Take a look at the "invisible" zipper I installed on a pillow last year:

But Ashley, you're thinking, I can totally see that zipper. It's not invisible.

No kidding. But that was a pillow on my couch that I drool on, so who cares? When it came time to install the same zipper on a dress, I really had to get my act together.

I'm working on this Peony dress in owl fabric. I love it, and I want to wear it. So I gotta do this thing right the first time.

I used the Colette Patterns invisible zipper tutorial to help me along. Important lesson: don't skip steps. I know you want to breeze through it so you can watch the Being Elmo documentary on Netflix. But you don't wanna go down that road.

First important invisible zipper step: Iron those zipper teeth. Really push them out of the way.

I originally tried installing the zipper with my regular zipper foot. Slap me on the wrist, because that was a waste of time. I broke down and ordered an invisible zipper foot ($30?! $30 for a little piece of metal?). Look at the difference with those straight stitch seams. One seam is from my regular zipper foot and the other was using the invisible foot. It's quite a difference.

You really gotta roll those teeth back to get in that little ditch with your sewing machine needle.

Sewing with the correct zipper foot:

The dress zipper looks ten times better than the pillow zipper. It's puckering a little, but I'm proud. I think this mean kid finally learned her lesson.

Do you ever skip steps and then regret it? Surely I'm not alone in this. Share an example, and I promise not to slap your wrist.