Friday, August 15, 2014

Reminder About Stitching it Right's August 2014 Giveaway

Hey everyone, the month of August is half over, and so far, I haven't had a single entry have only had five entries in August's giveaway, the Stitching it Right Thanks for 100,000 Page Views Giveaway Contest.





It's easy to enter, and with, so far, no entries 5 entries, someone is going to get an easy $10 JoAnn Fabrics gift card or a $12+free shipping prize of vintage patterns from here on the site. (I know it's not a life-changing amount, but it can buy something to help you with your next sewing project.)


All you have to do for your first free entry is sign up for the site's newsletter (your email will never be sold because I hate spammers too)




Then, for a second entry, just like the Stitching it Right Facebook Page and then drop me an email to let me know how to contact you if you win.




Get your entries in if you're interested in participating! The drawing will be September first and I would hate for you to miss out if you enjoy sewing or crafting and would enjoy the benefit of one of these prizes.




P.S. I'm so excited to be able to come back announce a few entries came in... I can hardly wait to see how many of my readers enter and to announce the winner! Good luck everyone!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

How to Choose (or Make) a Halloween Costume for Your Dog

Consider your pet's safety, comfort and personality when selecting or creating a dog Halloween costume.

Halloween is a fun, relaxed holiday. Candy, costumes, trick or treating and parties all add up to a unique and enjoyable holiday mood. Almost anyone who enjoys Halloween with its sense of fun and great costumes can appreciate the fun of dressing their dog in a costume.

Dressing up in Halloween costumes is entertaining. Pets look cute dressed up, and depending on the dog's personality it may even enjoy wearing a Halloween costume for pets. Choosing the right dog costume can be almost as fun as dressing up the kids and getting dressed up in an adult costume.

The first thing to consider when choosing a Halloween Costume for your dog is the pet's safety. Things that impair the dog's vision are a bad idea. Your dog cannot safely walk if its line of vision is blocked by a floppy hat or fluffy collar. (Please note the pirate dog in the photo accompanying this article safely removed her eye patch before getting off of the sofa.)

A dog costume that has parts - like a flowing cape or long strap - that hang down and trip the dog are also a source of potential danger for your dog. Super Dog might look really cute in that dog costume but a fall could seriously injure your pet. Anything like a cape needs to be short and not too fluffy so your dog can walk safely in its Halloween costume.

Your dog's comfort is the next thing you will want to consider when selecting dog Halloween costumes. Dogs already have fur so choosing a lightweight dog costume will increase their comfort. A short haired dog might be able to comfortably wear a heavy Halloween costume while a longer haired dog will be more at ease in a light costume.

Your dog's personality is the last thing to consider when choosing a dog costume for Halloween. Some dogs love to wear clothes. These are the dogs that are the most fun to dress up for Halloween. They can easily be dressed in almost any type of costume.

Dogs that do not like to be dressed however - might end up biting if someone tries to force their legs into a cute outfit. Dogs with this kind of temperament can still be dressed up for Halloween. It is just easier to find a bandana that matches the owner's costume to tie around their collars. A dog in a bandana might not be as cute as a dog dressed up in a wiener costume or a witch Halloween costume - but people will still be amused if it matches the owner's costume.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Sewing Craft Ideas for National Sewing Month



T-shirt Tote Bags and Drawstring Pant Leg Pouches are a great way to participate in this year's national Sewing Month. They are easy to make and eco-friendly to boot.


President Ronald Reagan declared September as National Sewing Month with the issuance of Proclamation 5368. The home sewing industry at the time of the proclamation consisted of around 50 million women and men.

The home sewing industry has taken some hits over the last couple of decades. It has also seen growth in the areas of crafting and home decorating. The people who love to sew, however, have long recognized the sense of satisfaction and pride that comes from creating a unique and special handcrafted item.

The trend toward eco-friendly, green living has drawn even more attention to home sewing. Many people are now repairing worn items that might have been sent to the trash heap in the past. According to nationalsewingmonth.org, this year (2009 - was) the perfectly timed theme of National Sewing Month is "Reuse, Remake, Restyle."

The fabric from T-shirts that don't fit right or pants that have ripped beyond repair in the seat area can get new life by being made into something else. T-shirt Tote Bags and Drawstring Pant-Leg Pouches are two easy to make and useful craft ideas that fit perfectly with this year's National Sewing Month theme of "Reuse, Remake, Restyle".

Making t-shirt tote bags is a great, nearly free, way to get eco-friendly tote bags for shopping - or anything you might need to carry. Some t-shirts shrink so much when washed that they can n longer be worn. Sometimes a keepsake t-shirt gets outgrown before it wears out.

The supplies needed are an old t-shirt, sewing machine with universal or ball point needle installed, scissors, pins, and thread.

Lay t-shirt out flat. Pin bottom edge in three or four spots. Cut just inside of the sleeve seams. As close as possible to the neck edge, cut straight across - or as close to straight as you can without ruining any logos on the shirt front. Sew across bottom edge closed with a zigzag or stretch stitch. Pin or mark 2-3 inches up from the bottom.

Turn shirt inside out but only to the marked fold at the bottom edge. Make sure the folded edge is tight against the side. Run a side seam down the edge of the shirt even though it probably didn't have one before. Make sure to catch the folded edge because this will form a boxed bottom on the bag to make it slightly stronger.

To make the straps cut the sleeves into 3" strips at the longest edge. Fold in so raw edges meet in center. Sew folds closed and top-seam the other side. Sew the straps onto the bag but make sure the seam is about an inch down because when the top edge of the bag is finished the finishing seam should catch the strap as an extra reinforcement.

Drawstring Pant Leg Pouches are even easier to make than t-shirt tote bags. Pouches make good gift bags for anything long and slim.

The supplies needed to make Drawstring Pant Leg Pouches are Sewing machine, drawstring cord or ribbon, scissors, and thread. Cut the hem off of the pant leg. Add 3" to the desired length of the pouch. For example, if a 12" pouch is needed cut the pant leg at 15". Turn the pant leg tube inside out. Sew the bottom edge shut with a ½"seam. Fold the top edge down 1/4 "and sew with a loose stitch. Make 2 buttonholes close together just inside of the seam. Fold again at 2". Sew right on top of ¼" seam line. Insert drawstring in one button hole, going all the way around the 2" seam, with it coming out the other. If more color is desired, try fabric paint or an iron on appliqué.

Sources:
http://www.reagan.utexas.edu/archives/speeches/1985/92785c.htm
http://www.nationalsewingmonth.org/files/media/National_Sewing_Month_PR_Jun09.pdf

Friday, August 8, 2014

Unique and Easy Fall Craft Projects

Step by step directions for how to make a "jeans and t-shirt quilt" or a fall foliage-inspired dripped sphere candle.

Jeans and T-Shirt Quilt & Dripped Sphere Candle

The colors that occur in nature during the fall season are pretty. It's natural to want to bring them indoors for a fresh splash of color. Making autumn crafts in charming fall colors, like a dripped candle done in fall foliage's prettiest colors, or a cozy jeans and t-shirt quilt, is also a fun and easy way to embrace the season as cooler weather sets in.

Jeans and t-shirt unlined quilt
(54"x72" finished size)
 
Skill level - beginner to intermediate sewer

A jeans and t-shirt quilt can be made from old jeans and t-shirts as a way to recycle them - or you could buy new fabric, preshrink, and cut it into squares. It is a great fall craft project because it is immediately useful. It is perfect for chilly autumn nights and is easy for new sewing machine operators to craft. (1/2" seam allowance)

Craft Supplies needed:
  • 108 - 7" squares of denim
  • 108 - 7" squares of colorful t-shirt (soft knit) fabric
  • Sewing machine
  • Thread
  • Steps:
  • Cut 7"squares of denim and t-shirt fabric.
Mix the colors up a little bit. This kind of quilt will usually look best the more the colors vary.
Note for when you start sewing - all seams will show on the denim side.

Steps
  1. First make "rectangles".
  2. Place one square of denim face down on your work table.
  3. Place one square of denim face up.
  4. Focus on lining up one edge for now.
  5. The wrong side of the denim and the t-shirt fabric will be against one another.
  6. Put the next different colored square of t-shirt fabric face down on the first piece of t-shirt fabric.
  7. Now place the last piece of denim face up on top of the whole pile - still keeping that edge lined up straight.
  8. Sew a straight along the one edge you kept lined up straight - making sure to back-tack both ends.
  9. Repeat that step 53 more times until you have used all 108 pairs of denim and knit fabric. (I know it sounds like a lot but it gets easier and faster after the first two or three.)  
  10. When you have all of the rectangles together open them so you can see the t-shirt fabric and mix up the colors some more.
  11. Make the rectangles into squares and then long strips.
  12. Take two opened rectangles, place t-shirt fabric to t-shirt fabric and line up the next long edge. Sew on the denim with a straight stitch. Keep seams open to reduce bulk. Keep attaching rectangles until you have 9 squares across.  
  13. Make 5 more of these until you run out of rectangles.
  14. Sew your six strips together. T-shirt fabric to shirt fabric and sew on the denim side.
  15. You should get 9 squares wide and 12 squares long.
  16. Sew all the way around the outside to finish the outer edge.
  17. Wash the quilt to fray the edges of the denim. It should look frayed with splashes of color that go around each square.
Dripped Candle  
Beginner level - super easy if you buy the sphere candle instead of making it yourself.
 
Dripped candles are nice-looking easy to make candles that look like they came from an expensive boutique. Making them in fall colors is an easy fall craft you can be proud to display or give as gifts.

Craft Supplies needed:
  • 3 white sphere candles (you could just do one but all I found came in 3-packs.)
  • 3 tapered candles in bright fall colors
  • Newspaper - or something that won't get ruined when wax drips on it.
Steps:
  1. Set the white sphere candles on the newspaper with the wicks straight up.
  2. Light the darkest tapered candle
  3. Hold the flame a few inches directly above the sphere candle and let the colored wax drip over it and roll down the side. (It will drip faster if you tip it so the flame goes up the side of the candle.)
  4. Keep drizzling until you have streaks that run about every half inch.
  5. Get the next colored taper and start the process over.
  6. Some of the streaks will fill the empty spots and some will cross over the first lines of colored wax.
  7. Take the last colored taper and repeat the process one last time.
  8. If you aren't going to be burning the candles you could drape some silk fall foliage around them to make an elegant centerpiece. They do, however, look really nice on their own.
Sources:
  • Basic Candle Making: All the Skills and Tools you Need to Get Started by Stackpole Books
  • Personal experience

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Three Useful and Fun Back to School Crafts to Do With Your Kids

Fun and easy direction for how to make an eco-friendly lunch bag, a decorated tote bag, and a decorated notebook.
Making back-to-school crafts with your children can be a great way to make memories with your children and to get them excited about going back to school. It can be extra special if the crafts are something the child can take to school with them and use on a daily basis.
Reusable Cloth Lunch Bag

Supplies you will need:
  • One 3" strip of Velcro hoop and loop closure
  • Sewing machine to use
  • Thread
  • One rectangle of sturdy fabric - size 9 ½" X25" 
  • A pattern that your child likes or a solid and some fabric paint so your child can decorate the bag as desired.
A cloth eco-friendly lunch bag is an easy to make craft item. It is a good beginner -level sewing project if you want to teach your child to sew or a fun and easy project for you to work on together. This is not the kind of lunch bag you would want your child to put perishable foods in because it is not insulated. Think of it as being for days when your child wants to take a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, crackers, granola bars, etc.
 
Steps for Making a Cloth Lunch Bag
  1. Fold the length of the 9 ½" edge over ½", center the Velcro, and sew along the top and lower edge. This step both attaches the Velcro and finishes the edge.
  2. With the wrong sides of fabric together and the Velcro closures lining up at the top - measure up 1 ½" from the bottom and pin to mark the spot.
  3. Turn the right sides together. (Wrong side will now be exposed.) Pin again making sure raw edges line up. The bottom will be folded under in an accordion fold.
  4. Sew up the side seams and then finish the side seam with a zigzag stitch or a serger.
  5. Turn the lunch bag right side out, make sure the Velcro closes the bag, and if your child wants to add any further decoration this is where they can take over.
Decorated Tote Bag
 
This is an easy back to school craft project and your child can use it for carrying any number of things.
 
Supplies needed:
 
  • Tote bag: available at any fabric store and most department stores - unless you want tot make your own.
  • Fabric paint
  • Brushes
  • Stencils - letters, school buses, apples, rulers, etc. (Anything school-themed)
This is so simple because the fun of it is decorating it however your child likes it. If you are a good enough artist you can do this freehand and if you doubt your painting ability, or, if your child prefers to use stencils, then the two of you can decorate this back-to school tote in any way that pleases. Every time your child uses it they can be reminded of the fun they had painting and choosing the decorations they wanted on the bag.
 
Decorated Notebook
 
Supplies needed:
  • Notebook
  • Foam stickers
  • Paint
  • Paint brushes
  • Stencils
This is another project where creativity is what makes it fun. Combining textures by using foam stickers and paint add interest to the notebook cover. Your child might want their name, or they might prefer a fun back to school scene. Imagine a green foam dinosaur climbing into a bright yellow stenciled school bus carry a painted apple for the teacher. It could be anything your child likes.
 
Making these useful back to school craft projects can be both fun and rewarding. Make sure to let us know how it goes if you try any of these easy, crafty ideas.
 

Monday, August 4, 2014

Selling Online: Getting Started

Whether you want to sell online as a profession or just get rid of a few things, choosing the best site to sell through is the first big decision.

Choosing the Right Site for Your Online Sale Items

With a few boxes of extras to "get rid of" I decided I would take them to the local flea market and offer them (for free) to a friend who has a booth there. I was very surprised to get a polite but firm "No thank you" in response. I offered them to another vendor who has similar items. That vendor did not want them either. (Some of these items were actually still brand new so I was feeling very surprised now.)

I brought my boxes of goodies home and started looking for ways to sell them online. I decided it might be fun to have my own online flea market. I found some great options for selling online. Three sites I found that seemed especially easy for a seller to use were EBay, Craigslist, and eCrater.

I wondered if other people have such a hard time trying to get rid of unwanted items. If you just have a few items you want to sell EBay and Craigslist are both nice - or if you want to start an online business eCrater is an excellent site to get started with no investment.

It is important to have a good photo of the item and to write a detailed explanation of the item you are selling. Customers making online purchases do not have the advantage of being able to touch the items so the picture and description are all the information they have to make the decision to purchase from you or not.
EBay is one option that has been around for a while. There is a small fee to list items plus a fee when the items sell so it is the most costly of the three sites. Registering as a seller with eBay is fairly simple. The screens pretty much "talk you through" the sign-up process.

I tried Craigslist on the recommendation of a relative. It is free to list most items on Craigslist. Registration for
Craigslist, similar to eBay, makes registration pretty simple. There are a few steps and some jumping back and forth from the website to check email. There is also phone authentication required to list some items. Overall I felt Craigslist was a good option for making a simple sale.

My personal favorite online selling option, eCrater, took a little bit longer to set up. This is a site that offers sellers their own online storefront - for free. It takes more maintenance than the other options, but it is closer to having your own online flea market - or whatever kind of stores you feel inspired to have. The name of your store will end in .ecrater.com - for example instead of everythingbutthefleas.com it will say everythingbutthefleas.ecrater.com.

The site guides you through the set up process and offers you choices in how you want customers to pay you. One option is to let AdWords be placed on your site and payments will be processed for free - making your online store front free to get and free to make sales on.

Whether you want to work from home, start an online business, or just get rid of a few things - selling online can be a great way to make some extra money.

Sources:
http://www.craigslist.org/about/sites">http://www.craigslist.org/about/sites</a>
https://scgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?RegisterEnterInfo">https://scgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?RegisterEnterInfo</a>
http://www.ecrater.com">http://www.ecrater.com</a>


Saturday, August 2, 2014

The Stitching it Right Thanks for 100,000 Page Views Giveaway Contest

The prize for this giveaway contest is the winner's choice of a $10 JoAnn Fabrics gift card or 4 vintage patterns from here on the Stitching it Right website.

How to Enter

Entry is simple, and no purchase is required, and you can secure two free entries for just a few moments of your time.

  1. Just sign up for the Stitching it Right Newsletter - required for a free entry in this contest. The newsletter is currently scheduled as a twice monthly send-out to my readers, with links to keep you updated about future contests and recent posts on thesite, as well as other fun sewing-related finds from the Internet. The entry form is posted at the bottom of this post as well as the sidebar of the website.
  2. Like the Stitching it Right Facebook page for a second optional free entry in the contest. If you add this option, and your Facebook name is not reflected by your email address, please drop me a note with the information at laurej@consultant.com - only so I will know how to reach you in the event you win. 
Contest Details

Stitching it Right is the sole sponsor of this giveaway, as it is solely to celebrate reaching 100,000 page views.

The winning entry will be randomly selected by, well, me, because I'm the one person not eligible to enter the drawing. 

The winner will be notified via email by September 2, 2014 and the winner's first name and last initial will be noted on the site via a congratulatory message here on the site. 

Entrant's email addresses and private information will never be sold or shared in any way. 

Winner will be required to provide a mailing address at time of winning notification so the prize can be delivered via the postal service. 

Thank you so much for visiting the site and for entering the contest. Good luck to everyone and I hope you'll enjoy my newsletter, though you can opt out after the contest ends if you find it doesn't interest you.

Here's the sign-up form I mentioned above:

Subscribe to the Stitching it Right Newsletter
* indicates required



Thanks for Visiting Stitching it Right!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Gearing Up for the JoAnn Fabrics Gift Card Give-a-Way

I can't believe how close it is to time to start my site's first ever give-a-way. I suspect by this time tomorrow entries will be open.


This give-a-way will be pretty simple to enter - mainly just an email address required and an option to opt-in for a bi-weekly newsletter (which will be handy for keeping you updated about my future give-a-ways.)


The prize will be the winner's choice of a $10 JoAnn Fabrics gift card or the winner's choice of four vintage patterns available here on the site (a $12+ $6 shipping value.)


Stay in the Stitching it Right Loop


I also recommend you follow the site by clicking the button at the side of the screen so updates will be waiting on you, or sign up for email updates or the site's RSS feed if you want to stay on top of contests and the new sewing projects featured on the site.


More Give-a-Ways to Come


I have some larger prizes planned for future give-a-ways - where entries include photos of something you've stitched up or a pattern review - so you'll want to stay in the loop or keep checking back if you're into sewing and getting fun sewing freebies.


Thank You


So, thank you, my awesome readers and site visitors, for helping my site reach 100,000 page views - I hope you'll be back often to be part of this tiny sewing community as it grows and as I start on the next 100,000 views.

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