Monday, September 24, 2012

Hooded Towel: Part 2 Attaching the Hood

Now that the hood is done, grab some pins and get ready to attach the hood to the main towel.
Fold the main towel in half and mark the middle with a pin so you can line the middle of the hood up with the middle of the main towel.  I like to try and remember to keep the tag down in a bottom corner when picking what side to sew the hood onto.  I also try to keep the "back" side of the towel so that it is the inside side of the hooded towel when you're all done, or the side that is touching the body when wrapped around your little cutie.  I hope that makes sense as I don't know how to explain it really.
First match up the middle of the hood with the middle of the towel and then start pinning each side out from there.  It gets pretty bulky in some places and I've found putting the pins in horizontal to the towel top/hood bottom works best for me.  I like to pin the hood on the "inside" of the hooded towel, but you can certainly pin it on the outside if you prefer.  I think pinning it on the inside hides the bulky decorative edges areas better.
After you are all done pinning, head back to your sewing machine.
On the inside of the hood, sew a straight stitch down the middle of the towels edges, lining the hood edge up with the towel edge as best you can.  It's bulky in a few places, especially at the middle hood seam, so gently help pull it along.  This is where stitching the front edges of the hood where the decorative edge is folded up earlier really helps.  You won't have to worry as much about lining up three layers of towel edges.  Until I started doing this a few years ago, I would often have one of the three layers slip out and have to unpick and restitch that area.
Then go back and sew a zig zag stitch on top of the straight stitch you just sewed.  This helps catch any edges you may have missed with the straight stitch and helps tack all the edges on both sides down better.  I set my sewing machine with the stitch width around 4 and stitch length about 2.  Select a stitch width that fits best the width of your towel edges though.  Some towel edges are wider, some narrower.  It's okay if your zig zag stitch goes off the edge onto the fluffy part of the towel a little bit.  After the towel is washed and dried, it fluffs up and you can't really tell where the stitching is.
Next, turn the towel over to the outside and stitch another zig zag stitch right over your previous zig zag stitch.  This just helps make sure everything is tacked down and is nice and secure on each side.  Don't worry if everything doesn't line up perfectly, you want it as close as possible, but after washing and drying the towel, it fluffs up and hides the stitching a bit.  The more tacked down the edges are the better it looks over time.  So if you feel like it may need another set of zig zag stitches, go for it.

All done!
If you aren't doing this as a last minute gift, wash & dry it and it looks even better.  After you get the hang of it, it only takes about 15 minutes to make one of these.  You could make several in an hour for your whole family, or to have on hand as ready to go baby gifts.

This is how I fold a hooded towel up, it ends up fitting nicely on the shelf with all the other towels.
Hopefully your hood stayed fairly centered, you'll be able to tell when you fold it like this.  You can check by folding it like this before doing the two sets of zig zag stitches in the steps above if you're picky like me.

Hope this how-to made sense.  If you have any questions please leave a comment or email me.
I figure not many people ever look at this blog, so I didn't put a logo or watermark or anything on the photos, but please be courteous, if you do use anything from this how-to, please give credit to crafty endeavors.  Thanks!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Hooded Towel: Part 1 Making the Hood

In this post, I will attempt to show/explain how I make hooded towels.  I was first given two hooded towels by friends when my son was born.  I liked them so much that I studied the ones I had been given and began making & giving them out for baby shower gifts myself.  When my daughter was born, I made two for her and two for my son and they are still using them almost 7 years later.  So, don't think these are just for babies and young kids.  Maybe my children are strange but even at ages 7 and 11, they still like to use them.  And since they have their own colors, we always know who's towel is who's (and who's is laying on the bed, floor, etc...).
To get started you will need:
 one bath towel
one hand towel
thread that matches/blends in with the color of your towel
  I normally buy two of the same solid color, but I've seen cute hooded towels made out of striped towels, animal print towels, different colored towels, whatever you see at the store and like together will work.  Also if you plan to have any decorative ribbon/trim or applique on the hood or the towel, whatever supplies you need for that.

First, I take the hand towel and fold over one of the edges with the decorative strip.  I try to use the end without the tag.  I also try and fold the edge over so that the "back" of the hand towel is facing up, but when I fold the edge over it is showing the "right" side of the towel edge, if that makes sense.
Pin it in a couple of places along each edge where you folded it over and in the middle to help keep all the towel edges lined up while cutting.
I then measure and cut between 11 and 13 inches from the folded edge.  I use a ruler and my rotary cutter, but scissors work too.

Then I sew a straight stitch along the edges where is it double thickness to keep the edges lined up when sewing it onto the main towel later and also about 3 or 4 inches along the top of the part that's folded over to keep it in place as well. 
If you want to add decorative ribbon, trim, edges, or other items like patches or applique to the hood, now is the best time to do that.  Sorry I don't have any examples of that right now.

Fold the towel in half right sides out and stitch a straight stitch along the raw/cut edge.  I stitch about a 3/8" seam on this part, but it may vary depending on the fluffiness of your towel.

After stitching the raw/cut edge, turn the towel right sides together.  Make sure to push the top corner out so it looks nice and gently push out the seam edge you just sewed to make it as flat as possible.

Next, making a french seam (here and here), stitch about 5/8" from the edge to encase the seam with the raw/cut edge.  You may need a wider seam depending on the fluffiness of your towel and how wide our previous seam was.  You just want to make sure you enclose the raw/cut edge completely but also making the seams as small as possible so it's not too bulky on the back of your little cutie's head if they were to be laying down on it.
When you've done that, it should look like this on the inside of the hood (which is facing out at this point), no raw edges on the seam showing anymore.

Turn it right sides out and this is what the outside back of the hood looks like when you're done.
Next part is attaching it to the main towel.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Hooded Baby Towel with Bias Trim

I saw this hooded baby towel tutorial on sew can she from just another day in paradise and a blog post (on Sept. 9th)on sew can she that I thought I should give it a try.  Especially since I already had a pink towel on hand that I intended to make as a hooded towel anyway.  It was pretty easy, just took longer than the hooded towels I normally make since making my own bias tape was involved.  I haven't made bias tape for awhile and it was fun to pull out my bias tape maker.  And I cheated and didn't cut my strips out on the bias.  I used a cute little pink, green & blue polka dot print fabric from JoAnn's and a pink towel from Target.
It was hard to get a decent picture, the apartment doesn't have great lighting and it's been overcast the last few days and there aren't any little ones around here to wrap in the towel.  So enjoy the pictures from the tutorial and blog for a better idea.

I also made a hooded towel the way I normally do today and am working on a tutorial to show the way I do it.

Citronille Daisy in Orange Buttercup

The Citronille Daisy shirt pattern.
Yesterday/last night, I made this shirt for K* in a size 6.  I'm so happy with how it turned out.  I was a little worried how it was looking last night as I was finishing it and wondered if it would be comfortable. I quickly slipped it on her this morning before school (I had to know, I couldn't wait until after school to know if it fit and looked okay). It is definitely cuter on a little girl than a hanger (you'll see below).
I bought a few yards of this fun orange small buttercup floral fabric at JoAnn's last week.  You may recognize it from the Brynnberlee Brooke dress I made last week.  I also bought it in pink and blue.  I just love it's sweetness.  And the orange might be my favorite, a color I love for Fall but don't usually wear myself or put Kayley in.  So you'll see several things made from this fabric in those three colors.
Anyway, I came across Citronille patterns while browsing online for sewing inspiration.  I saw a pretty dress made from the Citronille Antonine pattern and while ordering it, decided to get this one as well.  The patterns come from France and the directions are in French (shipping was really fast), but the pattern is simple and the diagrams are great so I was able to figure it all out without much trouble.  They seem to be well drafted & written patterns, I've read online others comparing them to oliver + s patterns (which I love the bedtime story pj's I've previously made).
I almost forgot to mention the alteration I had to the pattern.  If I used the cutting layout in the pattern, my fabric wasn't wide enough to cut everything out on the folds, but it was a more efficient use of the fabric.  So, rather than using a lot more fabric with more "wasted" fabric space,  I decided to make the front & back pattern pieces about an inch smalled in width, which equalled 4 inches total after cutting on the fold.  So, the shirt should be a lot fuller, but I think it is still plenty full the way it ended up. I have no idea if fabric in the US is a different width or what the issue was.


Yes, my kids are both in school, hubby is out of town, soccer practice was cancelled last night, we have no TV, satellite or cable, so I've had plenty of crafty time as you'll see, I made some hooded towels and  started on a hooded towel tutorial today.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Construction Birthday Cake

My sister made this really great construction birthday cake for my nephew for his 2nd birthday.  Isn't it just so fun!  Wish I could have been there.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Brynnberlee Brooke Dress

The Brynnberlee Brooke dress pattern.
 I saw it on probably actually last Fall and just thought it was so cute.  It took me until now to finally sew one, I made a size 18 months for my niece who's turning one. I'm excited to make one in K*'s size soon. The orange floral fabric is from JoAnn Fabrics and so it the pink polka dot fabric I used for the lining.  The two slight changes I made were to make a hem facing from the lining fabric and to make half of the sleeve from the lining fabric.  I think the pink is so fun poking out against the orange.  It's hard to tell in the photos but the centers of the white flowers are pink. I also added an inch or so to the length.  I was pretty quick to sew, it took me a leisurly three hours or so this morning.