Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Operation Summer Hair Rescue Part 3 - How To Make A Rose Hair Tie

I didn't intend to do a third part to the summer hair
accessories series, but I found this old rose elastic thingy
among my hair accessories earlier this week and it was
one of the more formal handmade things I've worn in my hair,
so I thought I'd share it with you all. I didn't have any black
silk satin (which was what I used for the original one - thicker
than regular satin, has a more matte sheen and used in
formalwear, generally) but I found some inky-black corduroy
scraps that would do for a slightly more casual version.

Here's what you need:

  • 2 pieces of fabric - each 9" x 2.25" (the ones in the picture are far bigger than that, sorry - I was experimenting)
  • Two circular calyx-shaped pieces of green fabric - mine were about 1.75" diameter and cut with a random number of sepals (the pointy things)
  • One double-leaf shaped piece of green fabric - each of my leaves was about 1" long.
  • A long piece of elastic hair-tie, or black garter elastic- the length doesn't matter.
  • Thread and a needle
  • Craft glue.
Note: For the calyxes and the leaves, I used some synthetic suede scraps I've had for a hundred years. It reminds me of the stuff they put on billiard/pool tables, but less radioactive-colored. You could use wool felt or anything that doesn't fray.

Step 1
  • Fold one of the fabric pieces in half lengthwise, wrong sides facing.

Step 2
  • Fold down a corner of the folded edge, and then fold a bit of the short edge over that. This is the middle of the rose bud.

Step 3
  • Thread a needle, knot the thread, and sew down your fold, at the unfolded edge of the fabric strip.
  • Begin making a loose roll around the folded bit, stitching along the bottom. Of course you should use thread of a matching color, not, say, white thread on black fabric like I did. My weird thread color choice is purely for visibility in the photos.

  • The top of the rose bud should be loose and irregular. It is the bottom of the rose bud that will be tightly gathered. So like this:

Not like this:
This is not a rose bud - this is sushi.
Which is what you will get if you roll too tightly.
So try not to.

Step 4
  • When you get to the end of the strip, tuck the short edge inwards and fold it down towards the bottom of the rose bud and stitch.

Set aside.

Step 5
  • Made two small slits about 1.4" apart in the center of one calyx.
  • Slip the double-leaf through the slit, right sides of leaf and calyx facing.

Step 6
  • Locate the middle of the length of elastic.
  • Slip the elastic through the loop on top of the leaf and position the calyx-leaf at the mid-point of the elastic.
  • Glue to secure.

Step 7
  • Flip the calyx-leaf-elastic assembly over, and spread glue on the wrong side of the calyx.
  • Place rose bud centrally on the calyx and wrap the sepals (the petals of the calyx) around the bottom of the rose bud. Hold for a few seconds to let glue dry.

Step 8
  • Make another rosebud from the other strip of fabric.

Step 9
  • Make another pair of slits in the other calyx.
  • Thread the elastic through the calyx and tie both ends of the elastic together in a knot.
  • Position the calyx as close to the knot as possible.
  • You can also tuck the ends of the knot through the loop and onto the wrong side of the calyx:


Tie a ponytail!
I've mostly used mine at the end of a french braid.

If you are younger than 20, you may also wear it on
your wrist when not in use, a la prom night.

This is a variation in Thai silk.
I love the two-toned sheen of Thai silk.
You can also make two smaller, separate elastic ties

or combine them

to achieve the same effect.

Happy tying!

OK, I am really done with the hair things now. Really.
I have lots of pictures of clothes to post over
the next few days, so drop by again soon!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Giveaway Winner!

Happy Monday, all! Sorry this post is so late -we had one
of those breakneck-paced weekends with activities
including visiting an art festival and several parks, and
picking strawberries! We just finished making jam and
prepping the rest of the berries for freezing and shortcake
sauce. So I should really be in bed now, but I wanted to
post this tonight while the children are
out of my hair in bed.

I am pleased to announce that we have a winner
for the camera strap giveaway!

Congratulations to commentor #21 Marielle, who said,
lovely! I was just about to try out the slipcover version since
hacking up my canon strap is not an option
but I'm glad to have seen your tutorial.

I'm working on more food crafting now than sewing - jams, etc.

Seems we're all making jam! Marielle, please email me
your name and postal address so I can send the strap to you!
I've also sent an email to you to say essentially the same thing.

Again, thank you all for participating! I've enjoyed
reading all your comments and imagining all the
lovely things you're all making. I leave you now with my
Crafter's Blessing: May your sewing machines have perfect
tension, your X-acto knives never slice your finger, your
knitting needles always stay in pairs, your felting sweaters
never turn out to be acrylic, your ovens always have even
heating and your children (if any) be astonishingly able
to occupy themselves for 5 hours straight each day.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Operation Summer Hair Rescue Part 2 - How To Make A Bun Maker

How are y'all with humidity? Me - not so good.
Back in the old days when I was a schoolteacher and
we had non-airconditioned classrooms, I always had my
hair up in a bun. It was crazy humid and my body did
not cope very well at all. I remember heading straight
for the pool (all lovely outdoor pools!) when school
was out because if I was going to be drenched all day,
I'd sooner it be in water than sweat.

I used to make buns the classic way with hair pins and
(during dance rehearsals) those icky hair nets. But I also
used these bun makers because they were so convenient
for casual occasions. They were also good for making
temporary curls if you used them with damp hair!

I still have the first one I bought. I made a few in different
fabrics way back then, and found that the best ones are
those a little plush or with a brushed surface, like velvet
or velour (not stretch) or flannel.
These just hold the hair better during use.

What you need:

For the adult version:
  • Two pieces of fabric 16.5" x 3" each, cut with rounded ends as shown.
  • One small piece of scrap fabric, about 2" x 1.5"
  • Bendable wire, 35" long
  • Craft glue
  • Pliers with wire cutter
  • Sewing machine and thread

For the child version:
  • Two pieces of fabric 11.5" x 2.5" each, cut with rounded ends as shown.
  • One small piece of scrap fabric, about 2" x 1.5"
  • Bendable wire, 27" long
  • Craft glue
  • Pliers with wire cutter
  • Sewing machine and thread

Step 1
  • Place the two large pieces of fabric right sides together and sew two lines of stitches around the perimeter. Use 1/4" seam allowance for each, so that the total seam allowance is 1/2".
  • Leave a 4"-5" opening along one straight edge, backstitching where you began and ended. You have just made a narrow casing along the edge of the fabric for the wire.

Step 2
  • Notch/snip around the outer seam allowance of the rounded edges.

Step 3
  • Using the pliers, make a small rounded loop at one end of the wire to facilitate smooth movement through the casing.

Step 4
  • Insert this rounded end of the wire through the opening and between the two stitching lines.
  • When the wire reaches the rounded end, bend the wire into a curve and continue to "thread" it all the way through the casing

  • till it emerges at the other end of the opening.

Step 5
  • Turn right side out. This step might take a little while (like 2-3 minutes, not hours) so be patient. It helps to gather the fabric around the wire as you go i.e. it's OK if a lot of the wire re-emerges from the opening as you work.
If you're thinking: why not turn the thing right side out and then insert the wire? I am sad to report that I tried that first, with three different thicknesses of fabric and it did not work. Too much bunching at the ends for the wire to move through. If anyone manages to do this, tell me, please, OK?

Here is one end done.

  • When you get both ends done, push as much of the wire back into the opening as possible to stretch the fabric taut over the wire frame. Then cut off the little rounded loop at the end of the wire with the wire cutter/pliers.
  • Twist both ends of the wire together, overlapping about 1.5"- 2". Cut off the excess with the wire cutter/pliers.

Step 6
  • Wrap the small piece of scrap fabric around the twisted wire to cushion it, using craft glue to secure.

Step 7
  • Tuck the wrapped wire back into the opening.
  • Fold in the seam allowance of the opening and top-stitch it shut- you can see this in the next picture in Step 8.

Step 8
  • You are now going to make a giant buttonhole in the center of the bun maker. If your machine has a superlong buttonhole foot, go for it. Otherwise, you can use the old-fashioned method of making buttonholes with just the zig-sag stitch.
  • Measure and mark a line 2.5" long (or 1.75" long for the child's version) in the center of your bun maker.
  • Sew around the opening about 1/16" away from the line all round.

Step 9
  • Cut along the line and between the rows of stitches flanking it.

Step 10
  • Use a very close zig-zag stitch to seal in the fraying edges, reinforcing at the ends of the opening. You can also zig-zag before cutting, the way we usually do buttonholes. I did it this way almost like an overlocking stitch because of the amount of wear and tear this opening will undergo when the bun maker is in use.

And here it is completed

although you are still wondering how in the world to use it.

Here are some useful instructions. I found their site
while looking for the instructions. The one I had years
ago was from another company (whose name escapes me)
but these are similar.

Emily's hair ends about an inch below her shoulders
so we managed a tiny little elegant bun at the nape of
her neck. Useful for ballet, if she would actually keep it
on and not prefer to swing her hair wildly around like
she mistakenly believes princesses do.

She tried it out as a hairband, too. Not as effective as
real hair bands but will do in a pinch.

So there you have it - the bun maker -
another way to beat the summer heat.

Next up: clothes! Yes, real garments at last! I've been
turning out nightgowns, dresses, shorts and skirts for
the girls. Very easy because there are no darts! Unlike
sewing for me, which is full of darts and zippers and
tailored necklines and serious drafting. Can't do that
with small children crawling all over the sewing table
and grabbing at stuff.

Operation Summer Hair Rescue Part 1 - How To Make Scrunchies

Since we are on the groove of simple sewing projects,
I thought we'd do a couple more. Remember these?

Such a rage in the 80s and 90s. So easy to make and
so many possibilities for variations. Each time a friend
picked up sewing as a new hobby, these were one of
their very first projects. And now that summer is finally
(and vengefully) upon us, I find I am reaching for my
old ones (I haven't made any new ones since I was in my
early twenties!) and leaving them all over the house
as the children pull them off my hair.

Perhaps it is because everyone knows how to make
them that I haven't been seeing tutorials for these on
blogs. I see a lot of hair clip and hair band tutorials,
though, but not many on scrunchies. Then the crazy
thought occurred to me that maybe people don't make
them much nowadays, or (shudder) they've gone out of
fashion and I'm the only one on the planet
that didn't get that memo.

So in the off-chance that maybe there are some folks
out there who haven't made these, and who might
want to, here's a tutorial!

Here's what you need:

  • Scrap fabric 16" x 4"
  • Elastic 7" long - I used the 3/8" kind
  • Safety pin
  • Sewing machine and thread

Step 1
  • Fold fabric in half lengthwise, right sides facing.
  • Using a 1/2" seam allowance, sew along the cut edge, leaving 2" at each end unsewn, to make a tube. Remember to backstitch!

Step 2
  • Turn tube right side out and spread out the ends.

Step 3
  • Fold one end up to meet the other

  • pin the ends together, right sides facing and sew a 1/2" seam. Remember to backstitch!
You will now have made a loop of
fabric like a deflated donut.

Step 4
  • Pull on the rest of the loop to pop the seam inside.

Step 5
  • Using the safety pin, thread the elastic through the opening and all around the loop.
  • Overlap 1/2" of each end (i.e. using up a total of 1" of elastic).
  • Stitch the ends of the elastic together.

Step 6
  • Fold in the seam allowance of the opening and topstitch the opening shut. Try to sew as close to the edge as possible.


Make a ponytail!

Here's another way of making it if you
don't want the topstitched opening.


This is one way to class it up a little:

Use two strips of fabric 16" x 2.5" each and sew them
together with piping.Then begin with Step 1
to make the scrunchie as usual.

The piping and coordinating fabrics add something to it, no?

Here's a child-sized one for littler ponytails.
They turn out smaller than the adult one on the left.
Use a piece of fabric 12" x 3" and
elastic 5.5" long and 1/4" or 1/8" wide.

Tune in next time for Operation Summer Hair Rescue Part 2 -
another very fun hair accessory from my bizarre past
(no, neither hair band nor hair clip-
I could never get those to tame my hair).