Sunday, October 30, 2011

Homemade Spray Starch

I don't typically use starch when sewing or ironing, but when making a shirt with homespun plaid it became very evident I needed some! I'd seem homemade spray starch recipes before, so instead of running to the store, I just whipped some up at home! The extra benefit to making my own (besides the cost savings) is that I was able to use a starch safe for my allergic little guy. :)

This is the recipe I used:

* 1 cups water
* 1 teaspoon arrowroot starch (you can use corn starch instead)

Bring the water to a boil and dissolve the starch completely. Let cool and transfer to a spray bottle.

Shake your bottle before use, spray generously on fabric and press with a hot, dry iron.

It created such a stiff fabric and made placket and sleeve cuff insertion so much easier! I've seen recipes say to only keep this for a couple days, then make a new batch, because it may go rancid. I haven't needed to use it again much since I mixed it up about a month ago, but did check mine and it seemed absolutely fine. I probably will go ahead and mix up a new batch just before a project requiring a lot of starch, just to be careful.

Orange Plaid Sketchbook Shirt

I had always planned to make my little guy a few more Oliver + S Sketchbook shirts for the cooler weather, but when I happened upon this lovely orange homespun plaid, I knew I'd found the perfect fabric! He ADORES orange and I can't resist a nice plaid, so it was a perfect match.  

The homespun is so very soft! But that also means it ravels a lot! The Oliver + S patterns hide most the seams, and I always do French seams wherever possible, but that leaves the edges around the sleeve seams raw. I usually just do an overcast stitch there, and the fabric doesn't fray much in the wash, but this time around I wanted to make sure everything was really covered. I made a narrow bias tape (finished to 1/4"), trimmed the sleeve seams by just about 1/8" after stitching (to removed fraying and threads), then applied the tape. I love the result!

I'm happy to say he LOVES his extra special orange shirt! As you can see, it's perfect for doing a little victory dance….

Or just standing around looking cool!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Little Things To Sew: Backpack - Cars version

The September Oliver + S Little Things to Sew-Along project was the adorable backpack! I was running late of course, and despite sketching out my idea in August and gathering supplies in early September, I didn't get around to actually sewing until the last week of September, and finally finished up this morning.

My little guy LOVES the movies Cars. I knew when I got Little Things to Sew I wanted to make him his own backpack to take to the library and to doctor's appointments, but one day mid-migraine I realized that Lightening McQueen is rather backpack shaped. :) So I was determined to take Liesl's cute pattern and give it a special spin for my obsessed little guy.

The pattern is basically the same, with just some added appliqués. I did have to lower the front pocket to accommodate the eyes. :) Most of the outer fabric is twill, but some of small appliqués are quilting cotton. The white zipper is his mouth which my girls think is alternately hilarious and creepy.

I ordered the strap adjusters from and went ahead with a few extras anticipating making more backpacks in the future. :)