Easiest Necktie Ever

 

My boys love neckties. They get it from their dad. We’re talking real neckties. They very much dislike clip on neckties. They seem offended by them. They get that from their dad, too. I have made quite a few neckties for my boys and finally found the absolute easiest way to make a real necktie.

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Grab your supplies. You’ll need about 1/3 of a yard of two fabrics. I like contrasting ones. One will be on the inside and will only peek out a tiny bit, so it can be anything, really. 

NT pattern paper

Essentially, this is what you’re doing. You’re going to use a yard stick to make a straight line across the width of your fabric. Then you’ll draw in your points, connect the dots, sew, flip, sew, flip, and you’ll have a tie. Super easy. After you make the first one, you’ll see. 

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Place your contrast fabric right side up on you cutting surface (ironing board, floor, whatever you use). Place your main fabric right side down, lining it up with the contrast fabric. (If you’re using a dark pen or marker on light fabric, you may want to put the main fabric on bottom and the contrast on top so you won’t see the marks through your fabric. It really doesn’t matter as long as you know what you want to be the main fabric.)

Using a yard stick (or whatever straight edge you’ve got), draw a line from one side of the fabric to the other. If you’re making this for a toddler, 36″ in long enough. For a bigger boy, you’ll want to use as much width as you can. (Also, check out the variation at the end of this tutorial for making older boy and man neckties using this same method!)

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Using a quilting ruler, line up your ruler so you’ve got a right angle going on at the tip. (See the photo.) Make a line 4″ long from the center. 

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Using your quilting ruler, line up the other side. You want the tip of the tie to be a 90 degree angle. (See photo for help lining it up.) Mark 4″ in that direction. 

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At the other end of the line across your fabric (also known as the other end of your tie), do the same thing, only mark that side 3″ from the center line. Make sure the tip is a 90 degree angle. 

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Use your yard stick to connect the ends of your 4″ line to your 3″ line. This is the side of the tie. It should look something like the picture.

 

(You can tweak the measurements if you want a fatter or more narrow tie. I do 4.5″ for an adult tie. 3.5″ for a toddler tie. Just don’t make the small end smaller that 2″ or you’ll be kicking yourself when you try to turn it.)

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Pin your two layers of fabric together around the drawn on pattern. (Believe me, this makes your life a little easier here in a minute.) Cut out both layers of fabric together. 

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You’ve already got the right sides of the fabric together. It is already pinned. You’re ready to sew! Sew the end of the tie. Just the end. (Do not sew the sides yet. It only seems weird the first time.)

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Clip the edges.

 

Repeat for the other end of the tie. Once again, just the end! Not the sides. 

NT press end

Turn your tie right side out, pushing out the points. Press. The sides are still unfinished at this point. You’ve only sewn the two end points together. 

NT Sew middle

Fold the tie in half, matching up the unfinished sides. (You’re sewing the center seam that will run down the back of the tie.) Whichever fabric is your main fabric should be on the inside of the fold. You should be looking at your contrast fabric as you sew. Sew the entire length of the tie, matching the unfinished sides together. 

NT right side out

Flip your tie right side out. Press it into the tie shape. The seam should be running down the center back. You can be done here. I do a little extra step because The Pastor (who is the tie expert in my house) says it makes a big difference in how a tie feels. 

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See the topstitching on these ties? That is the “big difference”. Just sewing a few straight lines down the narrow 1/3 end of the tie. The Pastor says this makes a ties lay flat on your neck and makes it much more comfortable to wear. I just trust him on it. And it only takes a minute, so I go with it. 

NT adult variation

Now for the adult variation:

You’ll want the tie longer. So, it’ll have to be longer than the width of your fabric. I made mine with one 36″ piece and one 18″ piece. It was long enough. You could make it longer if your man has a thicker neck or like super elaborate knots.

You’re making it essentially the same way. So lay your fabric out the same way. I made the large end 4.5″ from the center. I made the small end 3″ from the center. Now, you’ll need to make the ends that will connect the same width. Just make sure you mark it the same on both pieces. Connect the end of the lines in the same way. (See the picture.)

NT adult variation 3

Sew the ends the same way you sewed the ends for the little boy version. Once the ends are sewn, match up the straight ends in the middle and sew them together. Sew the main fabric to the main fabric right sides together. Sew the contrast fabric to the contrast fabric right sides together. 

Flip it right sides out, pressing out the ends. Also, press the seams open. (It’ll make the tie lay flat. If you press them to the side, you’ll make little speed bumps in your tie.)

Now you’ll finish up the same way as the little boy tie. With the main fabric to the inside, fold tie in half and sew the unfinished sides together. Flip.

Press. Sew the lines on the narrow 1/3 of the tie if you want

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And that is it! You’re done! Well, if you’re like me, you repeat over and over and over and then you’re done.

 

 

 

As usual, you can make these for your loved ones, give them as gifts, sell them if you want. You made them! Just share the free tutorial if asked! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Double Twirly Skirt Tutorial

Sorry I haven’t been able to blog for a while. I’ve got something new for you, though! If you are like me, you love a twirly skirt! With some fabulous fabric, a single layer twirly skirt is awesome. However, nothing compares to the fullness and twirl of a double twirly skirt! My daughter loves them! I love them. She looks so adorable and girly in them. They make her look more graceful (though they don’t actually make her more graceful). I can also make them longer, meaning they’ll fit longer and don’t look like some of the prostitot clothing they make for 4 year old girls these days. (Seriously, why is it so stinking hard to make clothing for little girls that makes them look like little girls? Why do they need to look like sassy teenagers (or worse)?)

Though this skirt looks complicated, it is simple. Super simple. Only sewing in straight lines simple. This is a great project for beginners, since your only pieces are rectangles. Easy! And the end result looks so… fancy and fabulous! (Couldn’t decide which word would best describe it!)

Here is what you need for the project:

– scissors

– sewing machine

– something with which to mark on fabric

– ruler and/or yard stick (I use both.)

– thread

– fabric (I used 4 different fabrics in my version, but you can use just two if you’d prefer.)

-You’ll need a double length of the under layer fabric. (I made my under skirt 15″ long, so I needed 30″ of fabric.)

-You’ll need a double length of the over layer fabric. (I made my over skirt 11″ long, so I needed 22″ of fabric.)

-You’ll need 6″ of your waistband fabric.

– If you MAKE a tie, you’ll need 4″ of fabric for that. You can also use ribbon, rope, twine, shoestring, whatever. You can also use double or triple elastic if            you prefer. The double skirt is kind of heavy, so it needs something more than just some 1/4″ elastic holding it up.

Cutting your fabric:

Decide how long you want to make your skirt. If you are making a skirt for an infant, you only want to use one width of the fabric, instead of two. (Having just one large rectangle, just one small rectangle, just one waistband piece, and just one length for the tie.) Anything over a 2T, keep reading. You under layer should be AT LEAST 2″ longer than the over layer. I typically keep it between 2″ and 5″ difference, depending on the fabrics. (And sometimes depending on how much of a fabric I have.) For my skirt, I made the under skirt 15″ long and the over skirt 11″ long. My model above wears a size 5 in little girl’s. So, the length you decide on will determine height of the rectangles you’ll cut.

From you under layer fabric: Cut 2 rectangles 20″ x the length of your skirt on the fold. (When you open the rectangle up, it will be 40″ x length.) (Mine were                40″ x 15″)

From you over layer fabric: Cut 2 rectangles 20″ c the length of your over skirt on the fold. (When you open it up, it will be 40″ x length.)(Mine were 40″ x 11″)

From your waistband fabric: Cut two strips 20″ x 3″ on the fold. (Opened they will be 40″ x 3″ each.)

From your tie fabric: Cut two strips 2″ across the length of your fabric.

**Tip: You can decrease the width of the skirt, taking some of the “poof” out if you’d like. I don’t recommend any less that a total of 40″ circumference. You can add poof by using all the fabric all the way to the edge, but I prefer to cut a bit off to make sure my measurements are even. Some fabrics may say 44″ wide, when they are in fact a bit more or less.

Working on the under skirt first, place the right sides of your two fabric rectangles together and sew the short sides. You’ll want to go ahead an finish your seams. I serge mine. You do whatever it is you do to yours. (Zig-zag, french seam, whatever.)

Once your side seams are all sewn up and finished, you’ll want to go ahead and do the hem. Hem in however it is you hem it. I serge mine, then turn the serging under and sew. You can do a double fold hem, or whatever hem it is that you like.

Put the under skirt aside.

Now, we’re going to do the same thing with our over skirt (the short layer). You’ll sew the short sides of the rectangles right sides together. Finish your seams. Hem the bottom. Now, you have both the top and the bottom layer done!

Now, turn your attention to the waistband. Sew the short sides of the two strips right sides together. I serge mine, but you really don’t have to finish the side seams of the waistband. The seams will be hidden inside the waistband of the skirt, so you can skip the finishing. I’m just weird. Instead of hemming the bottom, you’ll finish the top. I just serge mine, since it will be on the inside of the skirt. You can zig-zag over the edge if you prefer, or just do a single fold hem, since the unfinished edge will get enclosed in the waistband.

For the tie, I like to place a buttonhole on my waistband. It seems easiest. Some people like to leave a portion of their waistband seam open, but I always mess that up somehow. A buttonhole near the side seam, toward the bottom of the waistband works out perfectly for me. Place it low enough that it will be on the front of the skirt, but high enough it won’t get caught in the seam. You can do the button hole horizontal, instead or vertical, but the placement is a bit more tricky that way.

Putting the under skirt and the overskirt together now. With the wrong side of the over skirt facing the right side of the under skirt, align the tops of the skirts, matching the side seams. Baste around the top of the two skirts. (Basting is sewing a straight line with the longest stitch setting.) You’ll want to baste the edges closer to the edge than your seams normally are. (If you sew with a 1/2″ seam, baste at a 1/4″.)

Now, you’re going to attach the waistband to the skirt. With the wrong side of the waistband facing the right side of the overskirt, sew around the bottom of the waistband/top of the skirt. Here is why it was important to baste closer to the edge than you normally sew. You’ll want your basted line hidden, and it will be now!

Press the waistband up. You’ll want your seam toward the top of the waistband. Believe me, this step will help the next go smoothly.

Fold the waistband over and sew down. I line up the top line with the sewn line on the skirt. Don’t fret if your line is not completely straight on the front of the skirt. No one will really see it.

If you are making a tie, you’ll need to sew the short sides of one side of the tie strips together. Just one side. Otherwise, it will be quite difficult to use.

Press the seam open.

Fold the strip in half and press. (See the picture for the correct version of half.)

Fold one edge toward the center and press. This is simple, though it does take some time to press down all 80″ of tie. Watch your fingers! Get them too close and you’ll suffer burns!

Press the other side in toward the center seam. Now, you have what looks like double fold bias tape, which would be exactly what it is minus being cut on a bias.

Sew down the middle of the tie. You CAN just do a straight stitch. I prefer to do a zig-zag.

Or if you happen to have a machine with some fancy stitches that you never get to use, you can use one of those. Ties are a great chance to use those stitches, and if you mess up, no big deal, it is just a tie.

Now, grab your piece of elastic. (You want the skirt to fit snug, but not too snug. The elastic really isn’t going to do much holding the skirt up, it is just for shape and keeping you from having to regather the thing every time you wash it.) Pin your tie to your elastic with the tie on the front. Also put a pin on the end of your elastic so it doesn’t just shoot straight through the skirt. The tie is long enough that you don’t have to worry about it.

Thread the tie and elastic through the waistband. Sew the ends of the elastic together. Pull on the tie and get it even on your skirt. The elastic will probably pop right into place while you’re messing with the tie.

Cut your ties to a manageable length. (That length depends on the waist of the wearer and how long you the tie to hang.) Tie the ends of the tie in little knots.

Tie the tie in a bow and you’re done! One of my favorite things about this skirt is that it lasts forever! This thing will fit your little princess for a very long time! It will fit until it is too short, no outgrowing the waist on this thing! My daughter’s favorite thing about this skirt is that it is SUPER twirly. She loves the princess-like fit. Enjoy!

Like all my patterns, you can do what you wish with this. You can make skirts for you, neighbors, friends, kids… You can sell the skirts you make. Just don’t claim the pattern as yours, cause that is just wrong. And feel free to share this tutorial!

Tiny Hostess Apron Tutorial

My little princess is always wanting to play “hostess.” Even when it is just our little family around. So, I designed this quick little (frilly) hostess apron for her. She NEEDED it! (My poor boys rarely get Mommy made stuff. But they don’t NEED this kind of cuteness.)

You’ll need two fat quarters (and you’ll have some scraps leftover). With your “main” fabric, you’ll just want to cut your fat quarter in half (making it 18″ wide by 11″ long). The other half of that fat quarter is scrap. Take your contrast fabric, and cut it as follows. You’ll cut three 3″ strips (3″ x 18″). (If you would like a wider waistband, you can cut 4″ strips if you wish- you’ll have enough fabric for it.) Then you’ll cut two 5″ strips (5″ x 18″)- those will make your frilly little top!

Sew the 3″ strips together end to end (you can sew them on a diagonal if you are concerned with bulk- I just sew mine straight). You now have one long 3″ strip that will be your waistband and ties.

Sew the two 5″ strips together. This seam will not be hidden, so you’ll need to finish it. I did a french seam. It just “seamed” like the right thing to do. (ba- dum- ching!) Now you have a 5″ strip that is twice the width of your apron front. Finish the side and bottom edges of this strip. (Either do a double fold hem or serge and sew them to a nice finish.)

Finish the sides and bottom of your main skirt body. Do it in that order- sides then bottom. You can do a nice double fold hem. I serge my edges (because I have to use my serger for something) then fold the under and sew close to the edge.

Put a basting stitch into the top edge your ruffle (that 5″ strip that now has finished sides and bottom) so you can gather it.

If you’re new to sewing and don’t know what I’m talking about- a basting stitch is just a temporary stitch. Set your straight stitch on your sewing machine to the longest length you’ve got. You want to put it about a quarter of an inch from the top edge of the ruffle. Leave a long “tail” of thread at each end of the stitch. Pulling on just one string, slowly pull the thread to gather the fabric.

Pin your ruffle to the top on the apron body and sew together. You want your ruffle the same width as your apron body. This top unfinished edge will be encased inside the waistband- so don’t worry about finishing the edge.

Take your 3″ strip and press it in half (long ways). Tuck the unfinished edges into the center and press again. (Think- double fold bias tape.) In the picture above, I am opening the creases so you can see.

Line the apron body up in the center of the waistband/tie. (You can use your seams as guides. The middle section should be about the right size for the apron body.) Pin the top of the apron body to the waistband. You’ll slip the upper unfinished edge of the apron body into the middle of the waistband, sandwiching it inside. Sew close to the lower edge (the one toward the apron body) of the waistband. Sew past the apron body to the end of the tie. Flip your apron over and finish the tie on the other side.

Tie a knot in the end of the tie.

All done! Now your little princess has her own hostess apron!

As usual, you can do what you like with your finished product of my design. Sell it. Swap it. Gift it. Keep it. I don’t mind. Just don’t take credit for the design itself. And for the love of free- share the design!

Visit my shop, Moose and Wormy! Want a tiny hostess apron but don’t sew? Contact me here or via my shop and I’ll make a custom apron for your little hostess!

Half Yard Apron Tutorial

My mother asked me to design her an apron not so long ago. Of course, I agreed. She needed it to be easy. “Straight lines only!” she said. I can do that. After all, most sewing involves straight lines. She needed it to use as little material as possible, while still looking like a nice “vintage” half apron. Okay. Now is where it gets tricky. I knew I had made aprons using a yard of fabric. But could I use just half a yard? Yes. I most certainly could (and did). Here is my half yard apron design! (And thank you, Mother for the fabric!)

First, you are going to cut up your half yard of fabric, just a bit. You’ll need to cut 4 strips off the side of your half yard that are 18″ long and 3″ wide. You just cut off 12″ from the side of your half yard. The big piece is your apron body. Now, take one of those 18″ x 3″ strips and cut it in half. Now you have your apron body, three 18″ x 3″ strips, and two 9″ x 3″ strips. The strips will become your waist band.

Sew the three long strips together- end to end. (Right sides together, sew across the 3″ end) Now, you have a long strip. Sew a 9″ x 3″ strip to the ends. (If we kept it all together, the front waistband of your apron would have a seam in the middle. I like my front waistband to be nice and solid- thus the two smaller strips are the end. If you only use the 3 strips, without the extra 18″, you’ll be able to tie your apron only if you’re skinny. I made the first one with three 4″ strips, and I cold tie it, but couldn’t get it into a bow.)

Press your seams however you want. I do mine toward the ends. You can open them if you want. It is your apron.

Finish the sides and bottom of your apron body. You can do a double folded hem. Or you can do what I do and serge all the edges, then fold the serged part to the inside and hem. Either way, finish the sides first, then the bottom. (If you serge it, you can serge it all, then hem it sides first, then bottom.

Sew a basting stitch across the top of the apron body. (You’ll use it to gather the top of the apron body.) Don’t know how to do this? Sew a long straight stitch 1/4″ from the top of the apron body, leaving long tails of thread. Pull gently on one of the threads on one side at a time, gently working gathers into the top of the apron body.

Now, with the long strip you’ve got, press it with the raw edges tucked inside. (Think- double fold bias tape.) To do this, fold in half and press. Then tuck the outer raw edges to the inside seam and press again!

Turn your attention back to this gathered edge. You’re going to encase the raw edge of the gather into the double folded strip you just pressed.

Pin the edges of the apron body to the edges of the center section of the long strip/tie. You can stretch out your gathers or gather them more as needed to fit the section. Pin as needed. Try to eyeball and see that your gathers are evenly gathered and you don’t have a bare spot.

Sew along the edge of the double folded strip, catching the apron body, encasing the raw gathered edge. Start at the seam where the apron body is attaching. You’ll go back and finish the rest of that side later.

When you get to the end of the apron body, keep sewing. Sew all the way to the end of the tie.

Flip the apron over and finish the tie on the other side.

Tie a knot at the end of each tie.

And you’re done! And yes, my friends, that is me.

Enjoy your new apron. Or give it as a gift. Or sell it for some cash. Whatever.

Visit my store, Moose and Wormy!

Plastic Bag Holder Tutorial

A friend of mine asked if I could make her a plastic bag holder. Of course, I accepted! I looked online for a tutorial or something. But none of them fit what I wanted it to look like. Most of them were just tubes with elastic at the top and bottom. Very basic. I usually like basic, but I thought it needed a little extra oomph! So, I did what I do. I sat down with my graph paper and sketched out a plan. This is another fat quarter project! Yay! (Fat quarters are 18″ x 22″ pieces of fabric, sold at fabric stores that sell quilting fabric.)

I use reusable bags, but always end up with plastic grocery bags anyway! You could also use this bag to store other things. (I stuffed on with fabric scraps!) And, as always, if you want one of these, but don’t have the skills, time, or desire to make it yourself- you can always contact me! (Check out Moose and Wormy on Etsy!)

To make a plastic bag holder, you’ll need one fat quarter, a 4″ strip of a contrasting fabric, 2 small (4″ or so) pieces of elastic, and one small piece of ribbon (6″ or so). (You can also make a fabric “loop” to hang the bag by. It is up to you!)

Measure your fat quarter. It should be about 18″ x 22″, but sometimes they are slightly larger. You’ll want to cut your 4″ strip of contrast fabric so you have two 4″ strips to go across each 18″ side. If your fat quarter is 19″, then cut your strips 19″ to fit.

With the right sides together, sew the contrast strip to the main fabric along the 18″ edge. Repeat for the other side.

I serge all my edges, since I am usually selling what I make. If you’ve got a serger, go ahead and finish those edges. If you don’t have a serger, you can omit the finishing if you want, or you can pink or zig-zag the edge. Since this is not a wearable object, or an object that will get much washing (if any) it isn’t necessary to finish the edges at all. So, don’t feel bad if you choose to skip that step!

Pin your ribbon loop (or fabric loop) a couple inches from the top of the main fabric along the 22″ side. (Which is not a 30″ side, since you just attached two 4″ strips to the ends!) If you put your loop too high, you’ll be fighting it while you sew the elastic casing or it will end up on the ruffle. So, try to put it low enough it will be out of the way, but still at the top of the bag. (You can turn the top ruffle down and see where it will hit if that helps you. I just eyeball it and hope for the best!)

Fold your fabric in half long ways (with your contrast fabric on the top and bottom) and sew with right sides together. Serge or finish the edge as you did with the other seam!

Serge the top and bottom edge of your contrast fabric (you can see above that the edge of the pink fabric is serged). If you want to skip that step, go right ahead!

Now, press the contrast edge in. (See above!) You want to leave about 1/2″ or so of your contrast fabric showing on the front.

(In the photo above, I am showing you the contrast fabric showing on the front.) Repeat for the opposite end. Press it down, leaving about 1/2″ (maybe a little more) showing on the front.

At this point, you’re bag is looking something like this. It reminds me of the cat tunnel project in In Stitches by Amy Butler. (Don’t know what project I’m referring to? It is a tube, much like this, lined with faux fur for your cat to play in.)

Now, we make our elastic casing! Yay! Sew along about 1/2″ from the edge of the contrast fabric. Sew all the way around, sewing back over your first stitches.

Sew all the way around again, this time sewing as close to the edge as you can. Also, you’ll need to backstitch the ends and leave a small opening (preferably near the back center seam) to guide your elastic through.

Repeat for the other side! Now, you are almost done!

Grab your two pieces of elastic!

Here is how I thread my elastic. I put a large safety pin along the back end. It keeps the elastic from slipping all the way through. (Believe me, that is a pain!) I attach a small safety pin to the front end (the end I’ll be pushing through the casing).  Make sure your safety pins are firmly attached. It really sucks when a pin slips off because you put it too close to the edge.

Thread your elastic through the casing.

Sew your elastic together by overlapping it and sewing it with an “elastic” stitch. (The awkward looking zig-zag stitch on your machine that is more “lighting bolty” than “zig-zaggy.” If you don’t have that stitch, a small zig-zag will work. (You may have to reset the width of the zig-zag so it fits on the elastic.)

Repeat for the other side!

Flip it right side out an you’re done! I know, you’re wondering why I didn’t finish closing off those elastic casings! Well, to be honest, it is a pain in the butt and it serves no real purpose. You can fight through it and close them up if you’d like, but I see no reason to. I backstitched the ends, so I made sure it was nice and secure. The elastic is so tight, You’ll find great difficulty stretching it out to sew that little bitty hole closed. And I see no point in closing it. You can if you’d like, I don’t.

See the lovely loop on the back! You can hang it in your pantry or, if you’re like me, you can hang it on your kitchen wall! (Use some snazzy fabrics and you’ll liven your kitchen up!)

This is my favorite aspect of the design! The top and bottom “mouth” of your bag holder have a nice little flirty splash of contrast! I love it!

Go! Make some as gifts, for yourself, or sell some! (Yep. You can feel free to sell anything you make from any of my free designs.) As always, I just ask that you not take credit for the design and that you’d share the free tutorial with others! (No hoarding freeness!) Have fun!

Courtesy of Moose and Wormy! (visit my shop at mooseandwormy.etsy.com)