Showing posts with label sewing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sewing. Show all posts

Featured Artist: Barbra LaBosco

This month I'd like to introduce you to my friend Barbra from All About The Buttons. Like me, Barbra dabbles in a lot of different crafts, including knit and crochet. If you love to knit and crochet too, you definitely need to get your hands on a few of her tape irresistible measures.

Tell us a little about yourself.

It’s never been easy for me to ‘talk’ about me because I never think anyone is interested but you asked, so here goes! My father was a leather designer and my mother sewed a great deal & had an artistic leaning. My brother tinkered and built things & still does today. He is just about ready to sell his photography work which is extraordinary. My nephews, are also very creative and sell their work. (My own son, not so much but wonderful in other ways!) We were a creative bunch and still are. I taught myself how to knit at 8 and shocked my mother and her Mahjongg friends. My loving to create continued as I was an art major in college. I sold many things from cards and scarves, to posters for fraternity parties and sporting events. After college, I chose to go into elementary school teaching and did so for 33 years while still creating on the side and always in my classrooms.

In 1993, I inherited my mother’s/grandmother’s cookie tin of buttons and I just sat and played and imagined and All About The Buttons was established at my kitchen table. In 2002, my husband and I moved from New York to South Carolina…a bit of culture shock! The motivation to come here was my son and his family which now includes his 3 boys, the light of our lives and also life without snow! Upon the move I gained a dedicated studio. No more cleaning up just because someone wants dinner! It’s the “not for public viewing” space that I don’t have to clean up if I’m not in the mood. In the mid 90s, it was suggested that I sell online but doing so for one-of-a-kind items was not feasible then. In 2006, it became possible for me and here I am!

What inspires you?

I have always made “stuff” and loved to sketch. I started with macaroni pictures as a young child to tape measures now! There’s barely any craft or material that I haven’t tried but a few are on my wish list. I have done extensive beaded flowers but the old eyes won’t tolerate that today. I dislike painting and anything with clay but have worked with both. I am in awe of quilters and one day I’d like to have the quilt in my head materialize. I have only made one stained glass piece and would love to give that another go for personal pleasure, not for sale.

I am inspired by basic supplies-buttons, yarn, paper and ribbon-which are often purchased with no goal in mind. Those materials began as someone else’s creations and I make them mine. I don’t make buttons, or spin yarn but taking them from a kind of raw state to a useful and beautiful item is so enjoyable. Often a material will sit for months but eventually will get used somehow. Actually, that’s not true! My button and yarn stash could keep me and several others busy for years! I also love to recycle and repurpose, whether it’s for sale or my private use. Making clocks out of old CDs, trays and dishes has been great fun.

What do you create?

As I said, the knitting was started very young and was quickly followed by crocheting and needlepoint. They came from a desire to emulate my Mom, Aunts and Grandmother who all indulged in activities requiring needles and I still enjoy them all. Working with buttons came from a desire to highlight them, rather than just use as garment closures. To me, they are often little works of art.

Tell us about your product line especially for knitters and crocheters.

The tape measures evolved from embarrassment! I pulled mine out in a store to measure a small stool and it was so grungy, it gave me the shivers. “Make it pretty” it said to me, and they have been an amazing ride ever since.

A knitter or crocheter must have one. It’s such a practical, useful item for anyone but I’m shocked that I’m not bored making them. Each one is just that different to keep my interest. Knitters and crocheters love all the sheep themes but have other interests as well and the tapes make great “I don’t know what to get her” gifts. Everyone can use them! I still get excited when another one sells and am always looking for new ideas for them.

Do you accept custom design orders?

I love custom tape measure orders and find my customers are very creative. The latest custom order was for a graduating pharmacy student from her aunt! People, buttons, yarn and fabric are constant inspirations.

What is a typical day for you?

A typical day consists of the mundane and ordinary household responsibilities. I fit in at least one hour of creating whether it’s tape measure construction, knitting or making shipping envelopes and cards. Much time is also spent on promoting online, a necessary evil. A great day may include gardening if my body and weather permits!

I’ve been blessed with a wonderful career and phase two has been just as exciting. I love what I do!

Anything else you would like to share?

One of the side benefits and joys of selling online is meeting great, creative souls all over the world. Creating can be an isolating endeavor but the internet has opened up the world for us all. I love that I can say I have friends in Texas, Oregon and New Hampshire, Germany and Australia. We may never physically meet, but we share passions, goals and intensity. It’s something no one anticipated with online selling and a wonderful bonus.

Stay Connected with Barbra

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Sewing Pattern: Small Project Bag for Knitters

Free Sewing Pattern: Small travel bag for your knit and crochet projects.

At the beginning of the year I started attending a monthly sock knitting group at my local yarn store. It is so refreshing to chat with other knitters, see their projects and share tips and ideas. Of course having a small project bag dedicated to my sock club projects is handy, so I raided my fabric stash to stitch up a cheery tote.


  • 1/3 yd each of 2 coordinating fabrics (one for the bag and one for the lining)
  • Dritz 1/4" eyelets with setting tool
  • hammer
  • 1 x 2 inch piece of fusible interfacing
  • iron
  • 2/3 yd of 1/8-inch elastic cord
  • Dritz cord stop
  • compass, paper, pencil
  • sewing, measuring and cutting supplies


Before you start cutting your fabric, you'll need to draw a template for the bottom piece of the bag. Using a compass, draw a circle with a 3 3/8 inch radius on a piece of paper and cut out the circle.

Cut a rectangle that's 19 1/16 inches wide x 11 3/4 inches tall from both the outer and lining fabrics. Use your circle template to cut a circle from both the outer and lining fabrics.
Before sewing, the eyelets need to be attached to the outer bag fabric. Fold the outer fabric in half width-wise and finger press the center line.
Using a fabric marking pen or pencil make a mark 1 3/4 inches below the top edge of the fabric and 1/2 inch to either side of the center line.
Attach a piece of fusible interfacing on the wrong side of the outer fabric behind the eyelet marks according to the manufacturer's instructions.
With scissors or a hammer and the eyelet tool, cut/punch 1/4 inch holes centered over your marks.

(Note: As I was writing this post I discovered that my style of eyelet tool is fairly old and may not be available anymore. Some of the newer tools only secure the eyelets and can not be used for making the hole.)
Insert the eyelets into the holes from front to back.
Use a hammer and the other end of the eyelet tool to flatten and secure the eyelets.
Fold the top edge of both the outer and lining fabrics over 1/2 inch and press with an iron.
Now it's time to sew. First assemble the outer portion of the bag, then repeat the same process for the lining.

Unfold the top edge of the bag. Fold the bag in half width-wise, right sides together and stitch the side using a 1/2 inch seam allowance.
Attaching the round bag bottom can be a little intimidating so it is helpful to make some temporary guidelines to help with the placement.
Fold the bottom piece in half and finger press the center line.
Fold the piece in half again and finger press the center line.
Unfold the circle and you can see the quadrants nicely marked.
Next, finger press the fold opposite the seam on the side of the bag.
Fold again so that your finger pressed line is even with your stitches and finger press.
Now the bottom of the bag is also divided into quadrants.
With right sides together, align the quadrant lines of the circular bottom with the quadrant lines on the bag and pin in place.
Carefully align the edges and pin around the remainder of the bag bottom.

Stitch around the bag bottom using a 1/2 inch seam allowance.
Turn the outer bag right side out. The lining can remain wrong side out. Make sure the top edges are folded down.
Insert the lining into the bag. With wrong sides together, align the side seams of the outer and lining fabric. Pin around the top edge of the bag.
Stitch around the top of the bag 1/8 inch from the edge.
Create a channel for the drawstring by stitching around the top of the bag approximately 1/4 inch above and below the eyelet edges.

Pull the cord through the channel and secure with a cord stop.
And finally, the very best part, fill your bag with yarn, your latest project and your favorite knitting necessities like a Clover quick locking stitch marker set and a cute tape measure (mine is from All About the Buttons).

Free Sewing Pattern: Small travel bag for your knit and crochet projects.

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10 Things to Love About Slow Fashion

10 Things to love about slow fashion: What I learned from mending a sweater

The Slow Fashion movement is gaining popularity around the world. Quite simply, the idea is about choosing more sustainable clothing alternatives such as eco and fair trade fashion, second hand buying, swapping and repairing existing wardrobe items.

As a crafty girl that puts a lot of time and effort into design and making, I can definitely appreciate the fact that quality is better than quantity. So, when my husband's favorite sweater was in need of some TLC, I decided to take the time to repair it instead of just chucking it in the trash.

My husband keeps this sweater in his office and it has likely been worn every work day for the last five years. Unfortuantely it had developed two problems. First, the zipper pull broke off in the laundry. Second, one of the pockets was detached and beginning to unravel.

The good news about the zipper was that my husband never actually uses it. Also, there was already a redundant set of buttons in place, just in case. This meant I was able to simply remove the zipper and restitch the facing. Easy peasy.
The pocket presented a slightly larger problem, but one that I was able to solve thanks to my knitting experience. Since the pocket was unravelling I needed to re-knit the stitches. Fortunately the yarn was not damaged. After that I used a piece of scrap yarn from my stash to graft the pocket back into place.
So, what did I learn from this slow fashion experience?

1. Slow fashion is empowering!

In just a couple hours, I was able to at least double the life expectancy of this garment. That may not seem like a big deal to some people, but I feel like I accomplished something pretty amazing.

2. Slow fashion discourages a throw away culture.

It is so easy to just throw away a cheap item knowing that you can pick up a replacement at the local big box for a few dollars. Is that the type of lifestyle we really want to embrace and model to our children?

3. Slow fashion is a way to practice creative skills.

This little project gave me a chance to flex my creative muscles. I had to figure out how to make a sturdy repair that looked nice and was functional. I was able to incorporate my engineering, knitting and sewing skills. Just look at those neat little handmade stitches!

10 Things to love about slow fashion: What I learned from mending a sweater

4. Slow fashion saves time.

This may seem counter intuitive because fixing this sweater took a couple hours. If I had thrown it away and purchased a replacement we would have driven to the mall to browse a number of different stores or spent time online searching for the perfect replacement sweater. And of course there is the time spent working to earn the money to pay for a new sweater.

5. Slow fashion saves money.

I used a seam ripper, needle, thread, knitting needles and yarn to fix this sweater. I already had all of the tools and materials in my sewing room, but even if you consider the full price for each of theses items, it would add up to less than the cost of a new sweater.

6. Slow fashion is a way to express yourself.

My repair was fairly basic, but I have seen other mends that involve patching or embroidery and they can be a beautiful way to incorporate new color and texture into an old garment.

7. Slow fashion creates less waste.

It's well known that the fashion industry creates a lot of waste in the production process. My repair minimized the need for the waste from producing a new sweater and kept the existing one out of the landfill.

8. Slow fashion shows you care.

I took the time to fix this sweater, in part because I know my husband really likes it. I hope that every time he wears it he feels the love that I put into every stitch.

9. Slow fashion makes you appreciate the importance of a job well done.

Of course I am proud of my own repair work and glad I took the time to do it right. While I was working, I also noticed the well-thought design elements from the original construction. Who ever chose to add a sturdy facing to the sweater opening was a genius. It was more expensive to manufacture the garment with this feature, but if the facing had not been there, removing or replacing the zipper would not have been an easy task.

10. Slow fashion generates quality time.

As I sat at the table making repairs, my husband sat with me and we were able to savor a cup of coffee, chat about current events and just enjoy each other's company. Definitely time well spent!

10 Things to love about slow fashion: What I learned from mending a sweater
How do you incorporate the concept of slow living into your daily routine?

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Crafter Thoughts: T-Shirt Refashioning

How to move the print from an old T-Shirt to a new one.When we went to Scandinavia this summer, I picked up a cute burn out t-shirt from Finland. After we got home, I think I wore it twice and then something bad happened. I'd like to say it was my husband's fault, but I am completely to blame.

I did not follow the washing instructions. As a fiber enthusiast, I should have known better. After a trip through the dryer, the burnout shirt was basically see through except for the printed area. Then it hung it my closet, unwearable for months.

Luckily, I have a couple blog friends (Lisa from Cucicucicoo and Agy from Green Issues by Agy) who frequently post about mending and altering textiles. So I thought I would do a little t-shirt refashioning of my own.

I hang my head in shame as I show you my burned out burn out. :( Luckily, I found a plain blue shirt ready to be spruced up with a new look.
I started by cutting out the printed area on the old shirt leaving a couple inches around the printed area.
Next I applied a lightweight, fusible interfacing to the back side of the image. This is a good thing to do any time you are going to cut up a t shirt. It stabilizes the area and keeps it from fraying.
Then, I cut out the image.

I had a bit of Pellon Wonder Web in my sewing stash and decided to use it to fuse the image to my new shirt.

I cut the Wonder Web slightly smaller than the image because the web tends to spread out a little as it melts.
Next, I positioned my image on the new shirt with the Wonder Web between the image and the front of the new shirt.

Pro Tip - When you are placing an image onto a shirt, a good rule of thumb is that the top of the image should be 3-4 finger widths from the bottom of a rounded neck line.
With the help of a press cloth and my iron, the image was fused to the new shirt in seconds.

Theoretically, I could have stopped there. The Wonder Web should hold the image and shirt together.
But I wanted to add my own little personal touch, so I grabbed a needle and some embroidery floss and did a blanket stitch around the outer edge of the image and a simple backstitch on one of the inner borders.
I am so happy I was able to save my vacation souvenir and refashion it into a wearable shirt.

How to move the logo or image from a worn tee shirt onto a new shirt or bag.

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