Saturday, 31 March 2012

Threading Your Way ~ Features

I'm after ideas for a baby shower I'll be attending later this month, so it was great to read through all of the baby posts... so many cute, fun and practical items! We even had a video tutorial linked up! Our Baby Clothes and Accessories Link Party is an ONGOING linky which will remain open all year. If you make anything for a baby, add it at any time. We'd love to have a look.

I have so many ideas for future ongoing themed link parties... enough to begin a new party every week till the end of the year, but I'd like to hear your ideas. What themes would you like to see for our link parties? Leave me your suggestions in the comments.

And now, onto some features...


According to Mr Linky, the most viewed Baby accessories were:
And some more fabulous baby posts which caught my eye:
This awesome sunglasses case:
And these fun children's totes:

Head on over and visit these talented ladies. 

Each week, I will place a blog button, belonging to the blog which was most viewed, in my sidebar. This week, the most viewed link was the Baby Shower GiftsSherry, look out for your blog button in my sidebar.


Feel free to grab a button if you've been featured...


You can find the Master list of ongoing link parties at Threading YOUR Way with Threading My Way 

I look forward to seeing more of your creativity...


... Pam

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Subscribing to Blogs...

or What's in a number...


This time last month, there were numerous posts on the implications of GFC disappearing for non-Blogger blogs. There was lots of talk about how to keep following blogs. We were asked to sign up for newsletters,  subscribe to RSS feeds, sign up for email and to join the new Linky Followers.

Having a Blogger blog, there have been no changes for me. (I can't speak for non-Blogger blogs.) Without doing anything, I still receive all the RSS feeds I received before. They are in my Dashboard and in my RSS reader of choice.

I use Google Reader to keep track of all the blogs I read. The majority of blogs automatically show up because I follow the blogs via GFC. The rest, I add the RSS feeds manually, whether they be Blogger, Wordpress or whatever. I am happy with how Google Reader functions, but more importantly for me, I don't have to log in to yet another thing. Whether I count as a number on the blogs I follow, depends on how I follow. If I add the feed manually, I don't count, unless their blog is redirected and burnt to a feed. (I think.)

There are lots of other RSS readers out there, both free and paying. Google it and you'll see how many there are. I can't comment on their usefulness or how good they are, because I've never used them. I did investigate signing up for one of them, but the fact that I would have to sign in put me off. I would be interested in hearing the advantages and disadvantages of other RSS readers.

Last month there was a lot of talk about a new tool for following blogs; Linky Followers. I did add this to my blog, but am not sure whether I will keep it or not. I also followed a few non-Blogger blogs. As with all RSS readers, the blog you are following doesn't have to have the Linky Followers widget. Same as with Google Reader, you just manually add the URL for the blog you want to subscribe to. However, there is a difference between Linky Followers and other RSS readers... with Linky Followers, the blog owner has to manually update their feed each time they post. I haven't logged in to Linky Followers and updated my last post yet, so others who are using Linky Followers to read my blog, can't see my Easter Baskets post. There's a couple of big blogs I followed, who haven't updated their feeds since the beginning of March. Even though I have followed a few blogs via Linky Followers, I actually keep up with their blogs via Google Reader, so it doesn't matter to me whether they update or not. I would be very interested in hearing from anyone who follows Threading My Way via Linky Followers. Would it matter to you if I stop updating my posts via the widget and delete it?


How else can you follow a blog? Most blogs have a Follow by Email link. Put your email address in, click submit and your email is sent, to... Where is your email address sent to? If you are on a Blogger blog, perhaps the email will be sent to Google or perhaps Feedburner. I'm not sure. Do you know? On other blogs, I don't have a clue where your email is sent. The blog owner can see how many people are signed up to receive blog posts by email, but cannot see who is signed up or what their email addresses are.

There is another way to receive blog posts via email, without sending your email address to anyone. Well, I know it can be done on a Mac computer, so I assume it can be done on Windows. My email program (Mail) has an RSS reader incorporated in it. I simply go to File > Add RSS feed. You can then read the blog post from the email program like you would Google Reader, or you can click through to the actual post. Before I owned a blog, this is how I read blog posts and I still follow a few blogs this way; just a few that I don't read often.

If you follow a blog via email, will the blog owner be able to count you as a number?
  • If you send your email address via the Follow by Email link, yes, the blog owner will be able to see you as a number.
  • If you add the RSS feed to your email program, the blog owner won't be able to count you as a number, unless their blog is redirected and burnt to a feed. I know next to nothing about burning a blog feed and redirecting, but I would be interested in finding out how this works from anyone who uses it. I know that when you add the Follow by Email widget, a feed is burnt via Feedburner, but the blog is not redirected.

Most Blogger blogs have this little widget in their side bar. This gives you the option to subscribe to a blog's RSS feed via a variety of readers. I think (but I'm not positive), that you don't count as a number when you subscribe this way.

On some blogs, when you subscribe to RSS, you are taken to a Feedburner signup. The blog owner will not know who you are, but will be able to see you as a number.

Does it matter if you count as a number on someone's blog? I personally don't worry about how many followers I have and I'm not too keen on the term followers. Don't get me wrong, I am very pleased that people like to stay up to date with and read my blog and I do get a kick out of seeing those numbers grow. However, it is more important to me that people want to read my blog and interaction is even more important. I can gauge interest most readily through comments. My stats tell me how many have visited, but not what they thought.

Pinterest is an exception to this. Someone can come, read and leave without a comment, so they just show on your stats. If they pin a post, that's as good as a comment to me. In fact, it means they like the post enough to want to come back to it. I know there's a lot of talk about the pros and cons of Pinterest  at the moment. I'll leave my mixed thoughts on that for another post.

Facebook and Twitter are other ways to follow blogs. I'm sure there's lots of other ways that I am unaware of, too.

If you read my blog on a regular basis, whether you leave comments or not, I would love to know how you receive updates on posts.

Two more questions for those of you who use Google Reader. There is one blog (that I follow via GFC and with whom I want to stay up to date), that keeps disappearing from my reader. No matter how many times I add their RSS feed to Google Reader, it just disappears. Can anyone help me?

Secondly, I am trying to unsubscribe to one blog, but no matter how many times I unsubscribe, it keeps reappearing. Has anyone else had this happen?


As you can tell, there's a lot I DON'T know about RSS feeds. If anything in my post is inaccurate, please leave me a (nice) comment.

... Pam

Monday, 26 March 2012

Easter Basket...


Here's how I made the Easter Basket pictured above. It's a small basket, measuring 6" x 5" x 1.5".

Materials:
  • 2 pieces 8 inches x 6 inches - main colour for the outside of the bag
  • 2 pieces 8 inches x 1.5 inches - main colour for the handles
  • 2 pieces 8 inches x 6 inches - contrast colour for the lining
  • 2 pieces 8 inches x 1.5 inches - contrast colour for the handles
  • 2 pieces 8 inches x 6 inches - interfacing
  • 2 pieces 8 inches x 1.5 inches - interfacing
  • 2 small pieces - double sided fusible webbing
I used a medium to heavy weight, woven sew-in interfacing, but you could substitute this with a different weight interfacing, with iron-on interfacing or with batting.

Instructions:

All seams are 3/8" (1cm), unless otherwise indicated.


Glueing the appliqué shape to the fabric:
You will need double sided fusible webbing to glue your appliqué to the material. Do NOT cut the appliqué shape out until the fusible webbing is glued to the fabric. One side of the fusible webbing feels rough or bubbly. This is the side you will iron onto the fabric to appliqué. The fusible webbing should be slightly smaller than the fabric. Because I was doing four appliqués, I fused the webbing onto the one large piece of fabric and then cut it into the four smaller appliqués. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for fusing your webbing. Here's I did it:

  1. Place the rough side of the fusible webbing on the wrong side of the material to appliqué.
  2. Place an old cloth under the fabric and on top of the fusible webbing, so glue doesn't get onto the iron or the ironing board.
  3. Set the iron to the correct temperature for the fabric and don't use steam.
  4. Press the iron rather than sliding it, to attach the fusible webbing to the fabric.
  5. Trace the appliqué shape onto the paper side of the webbing.
  6. Cut out the appliqué.
  7. Peel off the paper. There will be a thin film of glue left on the wrong side of the fabric.
  8. Centre the appliqué onto the front piece of the bag. This bag will end up with a bottom of roughly 1.5", so take that into consideration when placing the appliqué
  9. Put the old cloth under the front piece of the bag and on top of the appliqué.
  10. Press as in Step 4, until the appliqué shape is glued to the fabric.

Sewing the appliqué shape to the fabric:
You can hand or machine sew the appliqué to the fabric. This will help to prevent it from fraying. Experiment with stitch types, lengths and widths to achieve the look you are after. I use an appliqué foot, simply because it makes it easier to see what I'm stitching. It is not necessary. For this project, I have used a zig zag stitch, with a width of 3.3 and the length .7. I find it also helps to loosen (or reduce) the upper thread tension. On my machine I set the upper thread tension to 3.

  1. If your machine has a knot stitch, begin with that. Otherwise do a couple of straight stitches and backstitch before you zig zag.
  2. Do the same to finish.
  3. For the corners stop with the needle on the inside so the needle is down and going through the appliqué. 
  4. Lift presser foot
  5. Turn fabric
  6. Put the presser foot down
  7. Put the needle up
  8. Reposition the fabric so the needle will be at the end and will line up

Sewing the lining:

  1. Sew the two side seams.
  2. Sew the bottom seam, leaving a gap of 3 inches.
  3. Probably not necessary, but I neaten the edges.


Making the box corner:
The first time I sewed a box corner, it took me ages to work out what to do. Now, it's easy as! If you've never done one, practise. It gets easier every time. If my instructions don't make sense, google it, as there's heaps of tutorials out there.

  1. Measure .75 inch (3/4 inch) from the corner seam (don't measure from the edge of the fabric) in both directions and on both sides of the fabric. 
  2. Put a mark to show where 3/4 inch is. You will have four marks.
  3. Pull out the sides of your bag.
  4. Place one seam on top of the other seam.
  5. Put your pin through the top mark. If the pin comes out through the mark on the other side, your boxed corner will line up. 
  6. If the pin is not coming out through the mark on the other side, reposition the fabric until it does.
  7. Face the seams in opposite directions to reduce bulk.
  8. Take the pin out and hold the fabric in place. If you would like, hand sew in place to hold.
  9. With a ruler, draw a line across the fabric.
  10. Sew across the line. I sew a couple of times for reinforcement.
  11. Cut the fabric and neaten.
  12. Repeat for the other side.



Outside of bag - sew front to back:
 I sew the interfacing to the fabric, before I sew, to stop any movement. If you are using iron-on interfacing, follow the manufacturer's instructions.

  1. Sew the interfacing to the wrong side of each outside piece of fabric. Sew close to the edge of the fabric.
  2. With right sides together, sew the side and bottom seams.
  3. Make boxed corners as per the lining.


Handles:
  1. Place two handles right sides together.
  2. Place one piece of interfacing on the wrong side of one of the handle pieces.
  3. Sew the long edges together.
  4. Finish seams with a zig zag.
  5. With a safety pin, turn the handle to the right side.
  6. Iron the handles.
  7. Topstitch 1/8inch (3mm) from the edge of the seams. I increase the stitch length a little to topstitch. I use a stitch length of 2.6
  8. Repeat for the second handle.


Join the handles to the bag:
  1. Place each end of the handle 2 inches (5cm) from the side seam on the outside of the bag.
  2. The right side of the handle should be next to the right side of the bag.
  3. Baste (hand sew) into place.
  4. Machine sew the handle to the bag. I go back and forth four times for added strength.


Attach the lining to the outside of the bag:
  1. Place the bag inside the lining. ie: the right side of the bag is next to the right side of the lining.
  2. Line up the top edges of the lining and the outside.
  3. Tuck the handles between the outside and the lining.
  4. Baste (hand sew) the top edges of the lining and the outside.
  5. Sew a 6/8inch (1.5cm) seam to join the top edges of the lining and the outside of the bag.
  6. Reinforce where the handles join the bag, by going back and forth a few times.
  7. Finish the seams with a zig zag stitch.



Turn the bag right side out:
  1. Put your fingers through the hole in the bottom of the lining.
  2. Gently pull the right side of the bag out through the lining.
  3. Topstitch the gap in the lining.




Finishing off:
  1. Push the lining back into the bag.
  2. Iron the top edge of the bag.
  3. Topstitch 1/8inch (3mm) from the edge, around the top of the bag.


I know I should have photographed my bags with some Easter eggs, but I was too impatient to wait for a trip to the shops, so I've used a cotton reel to give some perspective.



A quick and easy little project. Of course, the basket doesn't have to be used for Easter eggs. This is the same little basket I made to put fabric letters in for the Typography Challenge. Just change the fabric to suit the purpose.

Have you seen our Ongoing Bags and Totes link party? At last count, there were 147 fabulous bags linked up... lots of ideas, tutorials and inspiration.

... Pam

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Threading Your Way ~ Tops and Shirts for Children ~ Link Party

Welcome to the thirteenth edition of Threading YOUR Way with Threading My Way. I've been thrilled with the success of our link parties and have received lots of very positive feedback, with the majority of comments referring to the fact that the parties are themed and ongoing.
    Remember, these linkys are ongoing, so you can continue to add projects throughout the year. Add as many projects as you would like.

    Our thirteenth linky for 2012 is everything Children's Tops & Shirts... tops, shirts, blouses, vests, jackets, coats.

    Children's Tops & Shirts
    Link up any family friendly posts that you have written on tops and shirts for children. Your posts might (but don't have to) include any of the following:
    • how you made it
    • tutorials
    • photos
    • pattern reviews
    • tips for making
    • what you learnt
    As long as YOU have made it, link it up and show it off. If you have previously linked up a shirt or top in another category, feel free to link it up again here. Link up as many posts on Children's Tops & Shirts, as you would like. Come back through the year and add more.

    Guidelines for linking up:
    • Each post needs to be about a child's top or shirt that you have made.
    • Link to a specific post (not the home page of your blog).
    • No direct links to shops or giveaways.
    The fine print:
    • By linking up, you are giving me permission to use one of your photos in a feature. I will, of course, link back to your post, giving you full credit.
    If you'd like:
    • Subscribe to Threading My Way (GFC, RSS, Linky Followers, email), to keep up to date, to see if you've been featured and to know when the next themed party starts.
    • Grab a button to spread the word about Threading YOUR Way with Threading My Way and put it somewhere on your blog. 
    • Visit some of the other links. Everyone loves comments.
    I usually post Features each Saturday on Threading My Way




    I look forward to seeing your children's tops and shirts...

    Master list of ongoing link parties at Threading YOUR Way with Threading My Way 



    Master list of ongoing link parties at Threading YOUR Way with Threading My Way 
    1. Bags and Totes
    2. Dresses for Girls
    3. Dresses for Women
    4. Hair Accessories
    5. Pillows and Cushions
    6. Boys' Clothes
    7. Skirts for Girls
    8. Aprons and Art Smocks
    9. Purses, Clutches, Pouches
    10. Dolls' Clothes
    11. Women's Skirts
    12. Baby Clothes and Accessories
    13. Children's Tops and Shirts
    14. Women's Tops and Shirts
    15. Softies, Dolls, Toys
    16. Sewing Tips and Techniques
    17. Sewing with stretch fabric
    18. Quilting and Patchwork
    19. Embroidery, Stitching and Appliqué
    20. Jackets, Coats, Raincoats, Ponchos
    21. Hats, Bonnets, Beanies and Scarves
    22. Pants, Shorts, Trousers for Children
    23. Drawstring Bags and Fabric Baskets
    24. Pretend Dress Up Clothes
    25. Clothes for Men
    26. Kitchen Accessories
    27. Swimwear
    28. Sleepwear
    29. Gift Wrapping
    30. Electronic Gadget Covers and Cases
    31. Blog Tips
    32. Refashioning with Denim
    33. Pants for Women
    34. Sewing Accessories
    35. Home Decor

    ... Pam

    Saturday, 24 March 2012

    Threading Your Way ~ Features

    We have to start sewing more for ourselves!!! We have three times more girls' skirts linked up than women's skirts. Why is it that we sew more for our girls than we do for ourselves? Now that I've made myself a t-shirt, perhaps I should think about a skirt next. Don't forget, our Women's Skirts Link Party is an ONGOING linky which will remain open all year. If you make any skirts for yourself, or for anyone else, add them at any time. We'd love to have a look.

    And now, onto some features...


    According to Mr Linky, the most viewed Women's Skirts were:
    Two fabulous, comprehensive dolls clothes tutorials just linked up:
    And two awesome Girls' Skirts:
        Head on over and visit these talented ladies. 

        Each week, I will place a blog button, belonging to the blog which was most viewed, in my sidebar. This week, the most viewed link was the One Hour Wrap SkirtTara, look out for your blog button in my sidebar.


        Feel free to grab a button if you've been featured...


        You can find the Master list of ongoing link parties at Threading YOUR Way with Threading My Way 

        Remember, all of our link parties are ongoing. You can add projects at any time.
        A new party for Children's Tops and Shirts  begins tomorrow.

        I look forward to seeing more of your creativity...


        ... Pam

        Thursday, 22 March 2012

        Typography Challenge...


        Yay!!! I've finished my entry for the Typography Challenge and there's still eleven days to go!!! That's definitely a record for me.

        Here's my entry: a set of letters and numbers, with two fabric baskets to put them in.


        My inspiration came from a rag quilt letters tutorial, by Jessica from Happy Together.

        As a test, I made some numbers first, using the NSW Foundation Handwriting font. I made my numbers much smaller than the tutorial and used cotton fabric sewn onto felt. The tutorial suggests clipping the edges and putting in the dryer to make the edges raggy. As I backed my letters with acrylic felt, I didn't think the dryer would be a good idea, so I just zig zagged the edges.


        For the letters I used Jessica's free pattern and scaled it to 75%. This still makes the letters larger than the numbers. Once again I used acrylic felt as a backing. This time I just sewed the cotton and felt together and have left the edges raw. If the fraying annoys me, I'll zig zag the edges, but they definitely look better without the zig zag.


        My letters and numbers needed something to be stored in, so what better than two fabric baskets, using a brightly coloured material covered with numbers.




        When time permits, I'll do a set of lower case letters and also duplicates of common letters. Little people I know will be receiving the letters of their name as birthday presents. I think I'll make their names with full size letters and maybe I'll use batting, quilt the letters and make the edges raggy as in Happy Together's tutorial.


        Rikka and Keren, from Ricochet and Away and Sew la Vie! have hosted four challenges:
        1. The Retro Pillow Challenge
        2. The Solids Only Tote Challenge
        3. The Naughty Notions Challenge
        4. The Typography Challenge
        There's still time to enter the Typography Challenge. Entries are accepted right up until the end of March. You can see the entries finished, or nearly finished, here. If you don't have time to sign up for this month's challenge, these two talented ladies hold a new challenge every alternate month, so that makes the next one in May. Well, I'm hoping there'll be another challenge in May.

        Here's my entries for the previous three challenges:
        I'd have trouble picking my favourite or saying which challenge I've enjoyed the most.

        Thanks Keren and Rikka for hosting yet another challenging challenge!!! Count me in for the next one...



        ... Pam



        Edited to add: I've written a tutorial on how to make the little fabric basket with handles and another tutorial on how to make the fabric basket without handles.