How to sew a blind hem

Happy Halloween! I think this is the first year we've carved pumpkins (or at least the first time in a while). We let the kids choose the features, and my five year old drew the face on. Naturally, the adults (read: my husband) did the cutting.

And as always, I felt ridiculously compelled to sew our costumes. So I altered one of my dresses and sewed a whole new one for my older daughter. (You can see the full family on my blog.)

I had every intention of sewing one for my younger daughter, too, but I realized . . . I like being DONE with sewing more than actually doing it! Plus, I found a beautiful dress she hadn't worn yet. (My son's costume was purchased; it was actually a pirate costume, but it worked perfectly.)

Because it's not enough for me to sew something that's already beyond my skill level, I decided to tackle  a new skill while sewing my daughter's dress: sewing a blind hem. I really, REALLY hate pressing narrow hems, so I thought I'd give a blind hem a shot. (You still have to press it, but it was a little better.) I was pretty pleased with the result.

A blind hem is a bit less noticeable way to hem a dress. (It's also especially good for hemming pants . . . but I don't even want to think about how you'd have to fold and twist them to do that!) Here's how it looks:

This is how the blind hem stitch looks on my machine (this is for woven/non stretch fabrics; stretch fabrics have smaller zigzags between the big zigzag peaks).

The peaks of the zigzags are the only parts of the hem stitching that goes through the top layer of fabric to be visible from the outside. It's all in the folding before you sew--which is a bit tricky to explain, but this is how I figured out to do it, loosely based on instruction from the family seamstress maven, Jasmine, (in July) and . The instructions are much easier to demonstrate in a video:

Here's a diagram to show where to sew:

You just want to catch the edge of the fold of the front fabric with the point of the zigzags. I practiced on scrap fabric to try to get the stitch width right so I could aim the fold for the midline of my sewing foot and catch the zigzags.

The pattern is Simplicity 4647, view A, size 3 (with the overlay skirt from view B, size 6). I didn't sew the sash on quite right. I think I could still fix it, though--either take out the stitching line and sew it down further forward, or tack it down. The fabric was the $1.99 costume satin (but it feels nice), with a glittery tulle net for the overlay. Oh, and her crown? $4! (I was excited for the good deal.)

Have you ever sewn a blind hem? What are your best tips?

Happy Halloween

One of our favorite family crafts is pumpkin carving. Even though we seldom have Trick or Treaters, we have always loved to have jack-o-lanterns lighting our porch on Halloween night.

This year we were really proud of our pumpkins. Though we have lots of carving tools, we relied on tracing pictures or using them to freehand designs and basic knives this year. We have found that an ice cream scoop works really well to clean the insides.

Here are our awesome pumpkins. The first one is a patronus inside a dementor. (Jasmine got the idea from something on Pinterest.) Brooke carved the middle one with the 3 Brothers with the Deathly Hallows symbol from Harry Potter. (Hmmm, we like Harry Potter) and the third one is a traditional Halloween symbol carved by Brooke's husband.
They look good, don't they?

We found this critter growing in the pumpkin patch.

Happy Halloween!

PS- If you haven't entered to win Jasmine's craft from yesterday, be sure to do it! The pictures don't capture how adorable they are. Brooke and I both want to keep them.

Mod Podge Halloween Decorations Giveaway

First and foremost, it is Brooke's birthday! If you want to wish her a happy birthday, feel free to leave her a nice little comment on her post.  
So in case you all didn't know, Brooke, my mom and I had birthdays this month. To celebrate, the Wayward girls have or are going to have a give away each week. This week is my week! 

This week's giveaway is 2 Halloween themed vases!  Last week I posted about mod podge and meant to not tell what I was doing. But I forgot I had put it in the title and totally gave the surprise away. Silly me! 

And I know by next week Halloween will be over :( But there's always next year!
There are four different ways to enter:

  • One entry for becoming a follower of our blog, and commenting on this blog post to tell me about it.
  • One entry for following us on Twitter, and commenting on this blog post to tell me about it.
  • One entry for tweeting this post, and commenting on this blog post to tell me about it (with a link directly to your Tweet).
  • One entry for Liking us on Facebook, and commenting on this blog post to tell me about it.

Each of these should be in its own SEPARATE comment! So if you like us on FB, follow us on Twitter, tweet about this giveaway and or are a follower of WGC, each of these should be it’s own separate entry.

PS my birthday was on the 11th and none of you wished me a happy birthday, how rude...I guess I can forgive you all... :)

Halloween Costume Preview and a Winner!

Yesterday I broke my sewing machine- I think I knocked the timing off. I'm pretty positive I need to take it to the shop now BUT before I did I finished PB's Halloween costume (most of the way). On Saturday we're going to a Trunk-r-Treat at our church and we decided to dress up as a family. Jasmine is coming to make us four and we decided to be 
I'm going as Storm. My husband is going as Scott/Cyclops. Jasmine is going as Rogue and guess what PB is going to be. I'll give you a hint PB is bald and she is wearing this: 

Yup, this is a small suit. She is going to be:
Professor Xavier
I'll post the pictures after Saturday.

To make her costume I used some of her existing clothing as a template.
Some tips for doing this:
  • Watch how the piece was constructed
  • Use a fabric pen/pencil to trace the article and then cut it a little larger for seam allowance and hems.
  • To sew sleeves. turn the sleeve and the body of the jacket inside out. Put the sleeve inside the body and pin. It took me a few minutes to figure this out
  • To sew the pants I found it easiest to sew the outside seams on both legs, then sew the pants together (the crotch and bottom), and then sew the inseam. 
I love seeing people's costumes! What are you or your kids going to be?

My Fall Décor on a Budget

I’ve been busy this weekend getting ready for two guest spots on Monday. First, I was at the Artsy Girl Connection (Thanks for having me, Marilyn!). Then I was at Craft Junkie Too (Thanks for having me, Tracy!).  Both crafts I used on my dining room table fall display, since I don’t have a mantle.  I decorate for fall, so this transitions well into Thanksgiving décor.

So here’s a breakdown of how much this cost me.
Tray: $2.99, Goodwill
Candle: Tutorial here, made from two candles from Dollar Tree and leaves from Dollar Tree. Cost about $2.20
Frame: $0.99, Goodwill, photo by Kristen Duke Photography—one of her Friday Freebies
Pumpkin: Ok, this one I’m not sure about. I got it at Robert’s when I used to live in Utah. I know I got it for 40% off though. I’d guess at most I paid $6
Basket: Target, $2.50
Apples: My fridge =)
Glitter vase: Tutorial here, vase was $0.99. Glitter, I probably used about $0.50 worth
Leaf sticks: Sticks, outside. Leaves, Dollar Tree. There are 50 in a pack, so it cost about $0.16
Homemade apothecary jar: Jar, $1.99, Goodwill. Candlestick holder (you can’t see it), $1, Dollar Tree. Mini gourds, $1, Dollar Tree

Total cost:  $20.32! Not bad!!

How to block (and wash!) wool sweaters

Speaking of sweaters: Last call for Ruth Hill 74, the winner of the Ivy Sweater! You have until October 30 to get your mailing address to waywardgirlscrafts at If I haven't heard from you by then, next week we'll announce a new winner.

When you knit a sweater, usually (but not always) you knit each piece separately: the back, the front (or each side of the front, if it's a cardigan), and both sleeves. Then you "block" the pieces, forming them into the shapes they'll take permanently, before sewing the pieces together and adding a collar/neckband/button band.

Blocking the pieces of a sweater I'm knitting for my husband.
With an animal fiber like wool, there's a lot of spring in the yarn (I'll skip the full technical explanation). This means that the sweater pieces can roll or smush together before blocking. Sorry for getting technical there. Blocking "teaches" the pieces how to lay right so they'll fit together better when sewing.

When you wash a wool sweater, you need to do the same thing. Let's say, for example, that you have curly hair. You can "teach" your hair to lay flat with a flat iron, but the next time your hair gets wet, it will "forget." You have to straighten it all over again, or it'll just spring right back up into its natural state. (Which is beautiful, by the way. Stop straightening it.)

So you can follow the same process you would for blocking a sweater to wash it. Note that it will take longer to dry because a put-together sweater is twice as thick as the individual pieces, so it would be better to use a lay-flat drying rack made of mesh to help with air circulation.

To block (or wash) a wool sweater--or insert "sweater pieces" whenever I say that--first you have to wet the sweater. Use cold water--hot water can cause shrinkage or felting--and a gentle cleaner like Woolite. I like to fill my washing machine to low, add the detergent, then stop the machine and stick the sweater pieces in the drum. (DON'T let them agitate--that's the other step to felting wool, and you'll ruin your sweater.) You can let them soak up the water on their own, or you can speed this along by squeezing them under the water.

Once the sweater is soaking wet, take it out of the water and lightly squeeze (DON'T wring) excess water out. (Why put so much in if you're just going to take some out? You want to get the fibers uniformly wet.) Be very gentle during this part--wet wool is fragile. For extremely delicate pieces, I use a clean kitchen colander to lift them so I don't put any strain on the fibers.

You can also squeeze out the excess water by placing the sweater on a towel and rolling the towel up with the sweater on the inside. The fibers are protected here, so you can squeeze or even stand on the towel to get that water out.

Once the pieces are damp, you shape them. You want features like cables and ribbing to stretch out a bit, while flat sections may have a tendency to curl. When you're blocking, you'll want to pin the pieces into that shape for the drying process, but that may not be necessary when you're just washing them. If you're using pins, use rust proof pins. Most knitters prefer stainless steel T-pins.

Obviously not a sweater. This cashmere shawl I knit used a LOT of pins for every little detail.
Lace needs "aggressive" blocking to bring out the details. Don't  pull your sweaters this far!

For blocking, I usually use a towel over cardboard or my carpet (though I'm hoping to get one of those alphabet foam floor puzzles to use--they're fantastic!). I've also used a mattress for something I knew would dry very quickly.

Since you can stretch the sweater into the right shape here, you can also stretch it to fit you better here. If it's too short, you can lengthen it. If it's too narrow or tight, you can stretch it. You can do this to certain parts or the whole thing. But again, wool is delicate, so don't stretch it too much. (You could also try hanging a wet sweater upside down to lengthen it, but I wouldn't, because I think it would stretch the fibers unevenly.) If you're adjusting the size, you might want to use pins on a solid surface to hold it in shape.

I discovered a new trick when I was blocking my husband's sweater: I took a sweater that already fits him and used it to determine the best size for the pieces. (I was blocking them several inches too big before that!) Since patterns include finished sizes (and if you're lucky, piece sizes), you can also use a ruler to make it the right size. As you can see in the top photo, I also tried to line up the sleeves with the armscyes so they'd sew in better.

The pieces dry in that shape, and then you're ready to wear (or sew together) your sweater!

There are other ways to block wool, of course, but if you want to wash it, you'll probably want to stick to something that gets it all the way wet, right?

Note: blocking works best on natural fibers, especially animal fibers. It still helps with acrylic fibers, but the results usually aren't quite as dramatic, and resizing isn't recommended.

Like pie? Come check out the results in Battle: Chess pie vs buttermilk pie on my PieQuest

Blog Swap: Sarah from Crafting and Creativity
Hi, I'm Sarah! I blog over at Crafting and Creativity. I am a 20-something mother of 2, crafter, blogger, and scrapbooker. I also enjoy organizing and taking pictures- usually of my kids! My son is almost 4 and my daughter is 18 months old. I love making crafty things, here are some recent things I've shared on my blog....
I made this DIY
jewelry holder using a cabinet door, paint, mod podge, and wrapping paper:

Since my daughter was born, I have made countless different fabric flowers to add to headbands or clips for her hair. Check out some of the DIY flowers I have made....

I shared a tutorial for these easy felt flowers:

I made this Minnie Mouse hair clip for my daughter before our trip to Disneyland:

Some Mondays on the blog I share organizing ideas, like my post about organizing household papers....
Come & visit me at Crafting and Creativity. I'd love to have you! :)
Thanks to the Wayward Girls for having me today!

Thanks for guest posting, Sarah! Great to have you!

New sewing machine

This post is more a plea than a post.

This week for my birthday, the family got together to give me a new sewing machine! (THANKS!) Now I just need some help knowing what to buy. I mainly use my sewing machine for quilting though I do  make some clothing. I  want something that is great for machine quilting. I need some real world suggestions. I have looked online and the recommendations are all for machines way out of my price range.
What do you have that works well for free motion machine quilting? What do you like or dislike about it? What have you investigated that looked promising? Did you try out the machine before you bought it? Did you buy online? Did that work?
Help me make the right choice. I have had my machine for 30 years so this is a big deal!

Mod Podge Pumpkins

This is a really easy and inexpensive project to do. I went to the dollar store (great store of course) and found 2 small glass vases (for lack of a better word) and some tissue paper to make a mod podge/decoupage vase. But here's the deal, I'm keeping what I made under wraps (AKA not done yet so why not add suspense to my post?) Next week I'll be giving away what I mod podged (if that's a verb) so you'll have to stay tuned next week to see some pictures and enter to win it!

It's super easy to make some fun mod podge anything. Cut or tear the tissue paper (it can be different colors or shades of one color, it's totally up to you) into pieces. It's just easier that way. Paint a thin layer of the mod podge on the outside of the vase in a small area. Apply piece(s) to the painted area. Then apply another layer of mod podge over the tissue paper. Make sure the tissue paper is saturated from the glue but not over saturated so the paper rips. Continue until the the glass is covered. It it probably better to add a couple of layers as well but that's totally up to you. You can also cover the bottom if you want but be careful not to glue the vase to the table or anything! Now set aside to dry. It depends on how humid it is as to how long it can take to dry. If you want to speed up the results, set a fan on your vase or use a hair dryer. It could still take a while to dry. It could take up to 24 hours to dry but I don't typically have that kind of patience!

Here's some fun tips: Now, colors of the tissue paper may bleed so be careful in your color choice. Also, if you layer different colors (colors that go with one another) it can help add dimension. If you want to make your own mod podge/decoupage just water down some white glue. Simply mix equal parts white glue and equal parts water in a jar or bottle. If it's too thick just add more water.

Fall mantle and a GIVEAWAY!

Hey y'all! Happy Birthday Month! How about another giveaway?

These are some perfect hair accessories for the fall!

fall 007
There are four different ways to enter:
  • One entry for becoming a follower of our blog, and commenting on this blog post to tell me about it.
  • One entry for following us on Twitter, and commenting on this blog post to tell me about it.
  • One entry for tweeting this post, and commenting on this blog post to tell me about it (with a link directly to your Tweet).
  • One entry for Liking us on Facebook, and commenting on this blog post to tell me about it.

Just so we're clear: each of these should be in its own SEPARATE comment! So if you like us on FB, follow us on Twitter, tweet about this giveaway and or are a follower of WGC, each of these should be it’s own separate entry.

So my awesome friend Heather posted her fall mantle and I felt inspired to decorate mine. I only spent $11.50! The rest of the stuff I already owned. Enjoy!

fall 004

Now I want to see your fall decorations!

My First Tag Blanket and a Winner!

Ok, so I’m not much of a sewer. I wanted to make a gift for a friend who’s expecting her first baby. I thought a simple sewing project would be just the ticket. I chose a tag blanket.

First off, I got a lot of advice from Tiffany. She has a great tutorial on her blog.  Please look at it. This entry is more my tips on making a tag blanket.

My first tip: make sure you have all the tools  you need before you start. Like making sure you have pins (rather than having to use needles as pins) and knowing where your cutting mat and ruler are (not having to trace your sewing machine instructions and then cut it out with scissors.)

My second tip: If you can’t sew straight, make your own guide on your machine.I used a ponytail holder and it worked GREAT! I cannot sew straight.

My third tip: Don’t follow all the rules. You might end up with something like this:

See those itty bitty baby tags? They should be a lot bigger!!

My finished product and final tip:

Take a picture with your nice camera, not cell phone.

Now for the winner!

The winner of the State Canvas Giveaway is:

Please email me ASAP and tell me your state! jaime <at> waywardgirlscrafts <dot> com I’m so excited for you!

We haven’t heard from our other winner, RUTH HILL 74, the winner of the sweater giveaway.  Ruth, if you don’t contact us this week, I’m afraid we’ll have to choose a new winner so CONTACT US!!

Pumpkin Cheesecake Truffles

We recently started a cooking club at church. This month's "secret ingredient" (aka "theme") was pumpkin pie spice. Naturally, all of our food actually included pumpkin, too.

I wanted to make pumpkin cheesecake truffles. I found recipes for pumpkin truffles, pumpkin cheesecake, and cheesecake truffles, but no true pumpkin cheesecake truffles. I didn't care much for most of the recipes I found--I didn't want to use white chocolate chips in my truffle center--and, you know, I'm wayward and crafty.

I decided to actually make a pumpkin cheesecake and then make it into truffles. But, honestly, I didn't want to have to deal (read: gain the weight from) an entire pumpkin cheesecake. So I searched out a pumpkin cheesecake recipe that was already adapted for muffin tins (recalculating baking time = nightmare! for me).

I took Tante Marie's newsletter's muffin tin pumpkin cheesecake I found and halved it, eliminating both the crust and the cream topping, and baking in a water bath to prevent cracking (which, admittedly, isn't super likely in such small cakes) or burning. Then I followed the steps from Edible Garden to make crustless cheesecake into truffles.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Truffles
  • 2-3 c. water for bath
  • 4 oz. (American) Neufchâtel cheese, softened (or cream cheese)
  • 1/4 c. canned pumpkin
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tbsp light brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch ginger
  • pinch nutmeg
  • 3-1.55 oz. milk chocolate bars
Preheat oven to 325 F and line 6 muffin cups with paper liners. Put water on to boil. Mix cream cheese and pumpkin in mixing bowl until well combined. Add egg, brown sugar, maple syrup, and spices (can substitute 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice), and mix until combined. Pour into prepared muffin cups, dividing batter equally.

Place a jelly roll pan or deeper baking pan that's large enough to hold the muffin tin on the middle rack in the heated oven and pour the boiling water in the pan--be sure the water won't go over the top of the muffin tin! (As you can see, I added a kitchen towel in my water bath because of something I'd read on the Internet. Don't know if it helped, but it sure made me nervous!)

Place the filled muffin tin in the water bath and bake for 15-17 minutes, until centers are set. Remove from oven and cool. Once cool, freeze for at least 4 hours.

Once the cheesecakes are frozen solid, they're ready to dip in chocolate. Break the chocolate bars into a microwave safe bowl and melt them, heating for 30 second intervals (or over a double boiler, if you'd like). Remove the cheesecakes from the freezer, and peel the paper lining from the cheesecakes (paper liners aren't a picnic, but I think they'd be easier to remove than foil). Cut the cheesecakes in quarters.

Using two forks and working quickly, coat the quarters in melted chocolate. If necessary, reheat the chocolate. Seriously, work fast and be careful--not only does the chocolate solidify quickly on the surface, and have a bit of a hard time adhering, but also the condensation from the frozen cheesecakes can and will seize the chocolate if you're not fast enough.

Let the chocolates harden/cool on waxed paper (it won't take long). Store in the refrigerator or freezer (the crystals are noticeable in the frozen version, but the flavor is still great).

The result (when it worked out well!): a hard chocolate shell holding soft, smooth cheesecake. The cheesecake and pumpkin were both unmistakeable--it's a lot of flavor packed in a little bite!

I tried two variations of my truffles, and this one was far and away the favorite at my cooking club.

What's your favorite pumpkin pie spice recipe?

Curly Ribbon and Blue Pigs

Last week I posted about the applique part of a quilt I was making. At that time, I hadn't decided how to do the tails. I finally decided it would be fun to use curly grosgrain ribbon. It is super easy to make curly ribbon. In addition to pig tails, it would be very cute in children's hairbows, in fairy wands with netting and other sparkles, and on gifts.

To make it, wrap grosgain ribbon around a dowel. The tighter your wrap it, the tighter your curls will be. I am using about a 3/8" dowell  here, but you can use smaller diameters, too. I secured each end with duct tape. Then I wet it and popped it in a warm oven -- about 250 degrees.. (I suppose you could also use a hair dryer.)  When it is dry, remove from the oven and let it cool off. Remove it from the dowel and use it in your project.

Here's the finished quilt I made. I sewed down the curls so that it could be washed.
Mrs. Pigg loved it!

Flat Buttons

Buttons can be a little tricky and I know you all wanted me to show off my Paint skills again. Two hole flat buttons (buttons without a shank) are fairly easy to sew but you have to give it some room because there isn't a shank or the space under the button to sew. To make room for a fake shank (no I didn't rhyme that much on purpose) all you need is a toothpick. Take your button and place a toothpick between the two holes. You will want to double your thread by tying both ends in a knot just to save time and add strength. Start to sew from the back of the garment. Sew through the holes 3 or 4 times. Once you have sewn that, remove the toothpick. Now come from the back of the fabric and go through to the front but do not go through the button hole again. With your thread, wrap around the backside of the button 3 or 4 times. This is the make shift shank. This allows you to have room for the fabric to go under the button once you buttoned the garment. Now sew to the back and tie the thread off. Your knots will all be in the back. And ta da now you have sewn a flat button!

Under Construction

I'm sorry. You will have to excuse me for today. My life is under construction. We decided on Monday to tear apart our master bathroom and of course with that goes our whole lives.We are redoing the walls and the floors. I attempted a craft midst the mess and it went horrible. Instead I will give you a sneak preview as to what is coming up in our house. We are trying to do the whole bathroom for less than $200. Yes, we're crazy. Here are some pictures. Stay tuned for the update.

Before we moved in

 After putting in double sinks, linoleum flooring, new toilet and paint.

kinda blah
We've ripped out the walls that had tile on them and started to tile the floor. Wainscoting will go up on the walls.

Got any big projects going on?
Don't forget to enter the giveaway!
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