We are sewnot ready for Halloween this year, and I want to chat about it.
First, the annual quick plug for my FREE Super Hero Cape Sewing Pattern. I updated it last year to include 4 sizes! 3 kid sizes and 1 adult size – so we’ve got all of your Superhero needs covered.
You can also read my series of 10 Halloween Costume Sewing Tips, sponsored by Janome Canada.
That taken care of… whew…
Why are we sew not ready for Halloween?
Well… actually we have the costumes, glitter and pink hair spray, fancy makeup and accessories. But this year I’m not going to be sewing them.
Why? Well – when I found out the first week of Project Run and Play coincided with Halloween week, I gave in. Our traditional time-consuming handmade Halloween costumes would have to take a bit of a break this year. And despite much mom-guilt on my part, it’s been a great decision.
The girls will have just as much fun. And I could never have made the costumes they chose for the cost we bought them for. We’ll return the tradition next year!
Time saved = saving my sanity = a happier family!
The youngest has changed costumes twice. (Thank goodness for great return policies!) And my oldest is going to wear this handmade shirt with hers – so I feel good about that. (I’ll post photos of them this coming Wednesday on Instagram.)
If you’d like to tour through our previous costumes… you can see this huge throwback list:
Check it out! This is my awesome new sewing shirt, with an added side zipper (a new tutorial!) to make it fancy. Plus, it’s this sewing nerd’s most fun thing to do to wear my hobby. #youknowit
Today’s tutorial will show you how to add a side zipper to a garment with a side seam. (Yes – the bottom of pants too!) I used my trusty Union St tee pattern as a base for the embroidery and zipper. This will be my 5th I think!
This post is sponsored by Janome Canada. I am a Janome Artisan and have been loaned a Janome Skyline S9 sewing and embroidery combination machine as part of this program.
To sew the zipper, I used the Janome twin Dual Feed holder with the AD twin foot. My zipper was flat enough to topstitch it without using a zipper foot! This foot hooks into the AcuFeed system in the Skyline S9 to feed the top and bottom fabric layers through your machine at the same rate – creating amazingly flat and accurate seams, especially when sewing knits and quilting.
Embroidering on the Skyline S9 is an amazing bonus! I’ve wanted to put this saying on something for a long time and I was thrilled to be able to design and execute my very own embroidered sewing shirt. Guess how many other things I want to embroider this on now? #lol #embroiderallthethings #andsewonandsewforth
Thanks for reading Thread Riding Hood. Don’t miss a post – come #alongforthreadride!
How to Add a Side Zipper to any Seam!
You will need:
Pattern and supplies for a knit garment with a side seam
Ballpoint needle (for sewing knits)
Zipper (in your desired length)
Fusible Interfacing scraps
Removable Marking Pen
Sewing Machine and Supplies
Prepare the garment
Sew your garment, according to the instructions, until you reach the step requiring you to stitch the seam where you’d like to add your zipper.
Mark where the garment’s hem will finish on the seam you’d like your zipper. My hem is 1″ deep.
Place the bottom zipper teeth at the hem mark. With the slider open and away from the hem, mark just above the zipper stop.
Measure from the bottom of the fabric to the top mark and add 1″. Cut 2 pieces of interfacing 1″ wide by your measured length.
Fuse the interfacing to the wrong side of the fabric on each marked edge.
Stitch the Seam
Stitch the seam as per your instructions, stopping at the top mark. Press sewn seam allowances open or towards the back. NOTE: If serging, stop 2″ above the mark and stitch to the mark with a sewing machine. This allows the zipper area seam allowances to be pressed open.
Draw a line on the back of your zipper just under the zipper stop. Also, mark two lines on either side about 1/4″ from the center of the zipper teeth. Place the zipper right sides together with the sewn seam (over the unsewn area) with the zipper slider away from the hem and the zipper stop along the previous zipper stop marking (shown here in blue). It is very important that the zipper teeth are well centered along the side seam!
Sew along the marked line on the zipper from one 1/4″ marking to the area. Don’t worry that the zipper seems oddly placed, this will all work out!
Turn the garment wrong side up and open the seam allowances. Mark two 45 degree lines from the center opening to the edges of the line you just sewed. Cut along these marks being careful not to cut through or past the stitches.
Finish the Zipper
Press each interfaced seam back 1/2″. Fuse or glue them down if desired.
Fold the excess zipper tape on each side of the bottom of the zipper to the wrong side at a 45-degree angle (left in photo), and then fold it up and out of the way (right in photo). Baste each side in place.
Lay the shirt right side up on a flat surface. Pull the zipper down from the wrong side of the shirt until the zipper slider near the shirt hem. Align each folded side seam evenly on top of the zipper tape. Glue or pin in place.
Topstitch around the zipper about 1/8″ away from the folded edges. Start at the bottom of one side seam and stitch around to the other side seam, pivoting at each corner.
Finish the garment
Finish the shirt as per the instructions. When hemming, make sure the hemline and stitching match on both sides of the zipper for a professional finish.
Congratulations, you’ve sewn a Side Zipper!
Sewing Machine: Janome Skyline S9 (on loan from Janome Canada as part of their Artisan program)
Last summer my kids went to sleep away camp for the first time. I was a bit nervous leaving them for an entire week, since they were 6 and 9 years old, so – being a sewist mom – I decided to make them a project.
Each of my girls received a personalized pillowcase with a glow-in-the-dark secret message. Every night when they went to sleep, the glowing message would say goodnight and that mom and dad love them. Made me feel much better!
This post is sponsored by Janome Canada. I am a Janome Artisan and have been loaned a Janome Skyline S9 sewing and embroidery combination machine as part of this program.
Today’s tutorial shows you how to incorporate a glow-in-the-dark message using a sewing machine with an alphabet function. (P.S. If you don’t have one, consider using the glowing thread to hand-embroider a message instead!) I added some embroidery as well since the Janome Skyline S9 can do that too!
There are so many uses for these pillowcases. Make one for….
a unique gift for your grandkids
a child in the hospital
your hubby while you are away traveling on business
a child who is scared of the dark
a fun surprise!
My lovely blog sponsor, Country Clothesline, provided the fabrics for this pillowcase. They have a gorgeous selection of fresh and pretty fabrics in her shop – think picnics and country gardens. My kids are debating who gets to use this pillowcase first as we speak! (Find links to the fabrics at the bottom of this post.)
It is best to follow your chosen tutorial, but, as a gauge – here are the measurements I used to cut fabric for my pillowcase. Each of these is cut across the width of the fabric from selvage to selvage – generally, this is about 42″-44″.
2″ wide accent strip (will be folded in half)
27″ main fabric
STEP 1: Make the Accent Strip with Your Secret Message
Fold the accent strip in half and press. Add a 1″ wide piece of stabilizer to one half of it. This will be where you will place your glow-in-the-dark message.
Program the message into your machine. The Skyline S9 allows you to check your work, do it if you can to make sure there aren’t any spelling mistakes.
Measure the height of your text and draw a baseline with a removable marking device. Check which way the text will face as you stitch and align the baseline so the text is right side up above the fold of the accent strip. If you are centering the text on the strip, allow for a 1/4″ seam allowance at the top of the accent strip.
IMPORTANT: Press your accent strip well before you embroider on it! You CAN NOT press the glow-in-the-dark embroidery thread with the same heat you use to press the cotton fabric because it will melt. (Don’t ask me how I know, blergh.)
Use the baseline as a guide and stitch the message, starting about 1″ into the strip to allow for the pillowcase seam allowance. Continue repeating your message until you reach about 1″ from the other end of the strip.
Remove the spacing threads between the letters if desired.
Re-fold the strip. (Do not press on high heat! Test your “synthetic” setting and use a press cloth if you really want to iron it.)
STEP 2: Embroider the Pillowcase
When centering embroidery, make sure to take seam allowances and folds into account. Embroidery centered on the top front band will appear on 1/4 of the band fabric. (see photo)
Place stabilizer underneath and hoop your project.
I used two rose designs included with the Janome AcuDesign app and changed the colours to use similar colours to the fabric so I could envision the final product.
The AcuSetter app allowed me to send the design placements over WIFI to the Skyline S9, so the rose and the two vine sections would match up.
Embroider the pillowcase band as desired.
Step 3: Finish Making the Pillowcase
Follow your desired tutorial to finish the pillowcase. Insert the accent strip between the main and band fabric with the lettering facing the band fabric when sewing them together.
I used a french seam to enclose the raw edges of the pillowcase so they won’t fray.
Thanks for reading Thread Riding Hood. Don’t miss a post – come #alongforthreadride!
Are you ready for Halloween? It’s October and I’m excited to be posting a series of 10 Halloween Costume Sewing Tips, sponsored by Janome Canada. To start the series with a “Boo!” (hee hee) I’m relaunching my popular Super Hero Cape pattern – updated with new photos and 2 new larger sizes!
The smile on your child’s face when they see their handmade costume is the best! Be your kid’s Halloween costume hero and sew it yourself! Find the first Janome Halloween Costume Tip in the instructions below and follow along on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest so you don’t miss the others. You can also find great sewing information, contests and free patterns on the Janome Life blog.
When I made the first Super Hero Capes for Christmas (2011!), they were a huge hit. My girls flew all over the house solving mysteries and doing super hero business. Usually they were saving someone, sometimes a prince in distress. (You go girl!) Sometimes they’d stop to save kittens from trees, or rescue babies from mean monsters and other things of that sort. Since then they’ve grown up a little, but the capes are still in good use during their creative plays and shows.
Many of you have asked for a cape in larger sizes and I’m excited to be able to upgrade the free pattern and tutorial below! The old post was looking pretty dated with tiny, dark photos – I hope you like the new version!
Free Cape Pattern and Tutorial
As usual, please feel free to use my patterns/tutorials for your personal projects and gifts and for charitable fundraising events. Please do not sell anything made with this pattern without a license. Thank you! (P.S. Buy a Seller’s License or a tidy printable PDF version of this Cape Pattern in the shop.)
1 yard (child sizes) OR 1 1/2 yards (adult size) fabric for the cape outer
1 yard (child sizes) OR 1 1/2 yards (adult size) fabric for the cape lining
optional: felt for the hero applique
optional: fusible web (or a glue stick!) to attach the applique
hook and loop tape (1″ piece each)
sewing gear – scissors/sewing machine/pins/ruler/iron etc.
Print the pattern piece pdf on letter size (8.5″ x 11″) or A4 paper. Important: Do not select “fit to page” when printing, make sure you print at the original size. Once you have printed the pages, measure the 1″ test square to ensure the pattern is correct.
Want to save paper?
Size 3m-3 – Print only pages 1-7
Size 4-8 – Print only pages 1-7
Size 9-12 – Print only pages 1-9
Adult size – Print all 11 pages
Cut on each page’s outer gray lines and tape them together, matching the letters in the gray half-circles.
Cut the pattern pieces out (with paper scissors!) along the line that corresponds to the size you would like to make.
Cut your fabric:
Pre-wash your fabric before cutting to ensure it will not shrink in later washes.
Cut one cape shape per fabric colour using the pattern piece. * Be sure to place the pattern piece on the fabric fold before you cut it out!
I recommend that you read through all instructions before sewing, so you don’t miss something important!
Step 1:Cut out the applique that will be on the back of the cape. Be creative! I used stars, hearts and letters to make each cape unique. Each logo was sized between 6″-9″ tall, depending on the size of the cape.
Halloween Sewing Tip #1:
If you are making a long-term project, make sure your layers have fusible web on the back. If you are sewing a one-night Halloween project, use a less-expensive approach! A regular school glue stick will adhere an applique while you sew around the edges.
Center the applique on the outer cape fabric piece approximately 3″-7″ down from the neck opening.
Fusible web: Iron on the applique following the instructions on your fusible web. Use a press cloth if necessary so you do not melt the felt.
Glue Stick: Attach the applique in place using the school glue stick, press with an iron on low heat from the back of the cape to set the glue if necessary.
Top-stitch the applique as you wish to tidy up the edges and make sure it stays on. I used the Blanket Stitch and Satin Stitch Foot F included with my on-loan Janome Skyline S9 to make the one of the appliques extra-nice!
Step 2: Lay the two cape pieces right sides together matching all of the edges. Pin. Mark a 6″ opening on the cape’s bottom edge by putting 2 pins in the same spot on each side. Leave this opening when you sew, it is where you will turn the cape right side out.
Stitch around the cape with a 1/4″ seam allowance, starting at one double-pin. Pivot around the corner on the neck opening. Finish at the other double-pin with a back-stitch.
Step 3: Clip the corners and trim around the curved edges of your neck opening to allow the cape to turn more easily. I use my pinking shears to trim tight curves.
Step 4: Press the seam allowance up on the bottom opening before turning the cape right side out. This creates an easy finished edge once the cape is turned.
Step 5: Turn the cape right side out and top-stitch. Push out your corners and edges neatly, press the cape flat and top-stitch 1/8″ or so away from the edge all the way around the edge of the cape. You can pin the opening shut before stitching or just wing it, the top-stitching will close the opening.
Step 6: Cut a 1″ piece each of hook and loop tape.
Use a zig-zag or straight stitch to sew the hook side of the tape onto the outer piece and the loop side of the tape onto the lining. This way the rough hooks are facing away from the neck when the cape is worn. Note: I like to cut off the corners of the tape when sewing for kids so they don’t get “stuck” with the pointy edges by accident. (* Don’t accidentally sew both hook and loop to the outer side of the cape, it won’t be able to close properly. Not sure why, but I have managed to do this more times than I would like to admit!)
Step 7: Sew a label or hero-worthy piece of ribbon onto the side of the cape.
Congratulations, give your cape a good press and you’re done!
I’d love to see your project!Please share your cape on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest using the hashtags #alongforthreadride and #threadridinghood. Thank you!
You can purchase a full Super Hero Cape PDF Pattern for any donation!
Star Wars! (Need I say more?!) Our family loves sci-fi so anything with aliens, the future or time travel goes over big!
I’m always in need of a fun idea for Father’s Day. So I decided to make him a throw pillow. Strange gift, maybe… and Father’s Day you say? Yup, you guessed it – I’m not really, really early – I’m really, really late with this one!
Last year I downloaded this Darth Vader paper-pieced pattern from Quiet Play’s free downloads and proceeded to make it. I love paper-piecing, it’s super fun and rewarding to be so precise! I hit a roadblock, though when it was time to quilt the pillow.
Turns out I’m super afraid to mess up my carefully pieced block! Thoughts of unpicking a quilted design and even thoughts of a more experienced quilter thinking I’d done it wrong (argh) ran around in my brain for… oh… about 5 months!
Yup, I put myself through…
The guilt of not finishing my husband’s gift… the fear of worrying about ruining my hard work… and, worst of all, being afraid I’d be seen as ruining my project or a “bad” sewer.
…and I thought all of this stuff for 5 months! Just thinking about the wrinkles it probably earned me is maddening.
I’m writing this because I don’t want to do it anymore…and maybe it is something someone else is dealing with? Especially someone that tend towards attempted perfection and are in general, not so easy-going. (Ooh, Ooh… *raises hand* Me! Me!)
and… I’m super hoping I’m not alone in this! Please tell me I’m not alone!
Now, there is an upside – I worry so much about what to fabric to cut into and how each seam will go that I rarely make major mistakes. (Bonus!) But I don’t think it’s healthy, and it causes me so much stress sometimes I don’t sew at all. Which is definitely not what I would like to be doing. Instead, I’d love to be churning out lovely projects by the dozens!
As it’s still January, I’m hoping to take a new look at my unfinished projects this year. Proceed with less caution… but still be careful. Not be so afraid to do what I think is fun and exciting, without worrying about how it is accepted. Then, if I can finish my projects earlier, the guilt of being “late” will go away too!
I really want to apply this to is my Lil’ Red quilt top. I’ve been SUPER afraid to quilt it for months now, despite the fact that it has been finished and even backed and basted for about 2 months. Hopefully, I can try not worry if the quilting is fancy or complicated and just finish the thing! I think I may just do some in the ditch quilting and maybe some echo quilting to fill it in a bit more.
Wow… tangent much? I believe we were talking about a Star Wars pillow here?! (Oops!)
I actually finished the pillow at my last Sewcial, having friends around while you make decisions is super helpful! The quilting hopefully represents the moving stars at the beginning of each movie. The finished pillow back is flannel, and I put a simple envelope backing on it.
The flannel is left over from lining the hood of an unblogged Finlayson I made my husband. (Side note: It’s pretty funny that Darth Vader is floating with no body! I should likely have put the block at the bottom of the pillow instead of the center. But I can live with that!)
Any Regrets? Probably only that I beat myself up for so long before finishing the pillow. (And the 17 other unfinished projects I’ve got going…) But, since it’s not going to happen anymore. (*she said hopefully*) I can let that one go now…
Here’s to a super productive year ahead!
P.S. It needs to be noted that I have never had another sewer say anything negative about my projects. In general, the community is amazing and fantastic and so supportive. No idea why I worry?!
Dear Diary, Week 2 of playing with the machine embroidery functions on the Janome Skyline S9 has been so fun! I’ve written a brand new beginner friendly tutorial for a simple lined Drawstring Backpack today. (Plus have one very happy girl who gets to use it!) This bag makes a quick gift and you don’t need an embroidery machine to sew one up.
Ever since Janome asked me to be one of their Artisans I’ve had the amazing chance to try out their Skyline series machines. I’d love so much to be able to let you try them too – but I’ll have to settle with telling you about them instead. Through today’s free Backpack tutorial I’ll be showing you the Skyline S9 – just released a few months ago! Here are a few exciting features I’ll be highlighting:
Tapering – automatic settings to create unique designs with decorative stitching
AcuSetter app – Amazing super-simple to use Apple app designed to allow for crazy-exact embroidery design placement. Check out the machine embroidery section of the tutorial for more details. (Trust me, I was grinning like crazy when I used it!)
Why a Drawstring Backpack? My 4th grader needs a change of clothes for gym class and asked for a bag to put them in – the perfect project for some machine embroidery and embellishment! She chose the design and the colours. (Still enamoured with pink!) I would have loved to use another Anna Maria Horner butterfly design in blue, pink and teal…. but you don’t argue with the 9-year-old. I’ve learned that she loves things she designs. When I don’t ask and make the decisions, handmade items tend to sit around unused.
Drawstring Backpack Tutorial
This lined backpack is easy to make and wear. It lends itself to all kinds of fabrics and embellishments – machine embroidery, hand stitching or applique! Of course you could use that gorgeous fabric you’ve been saving and skip the extras too. Using only 1 yard of fabric in total, the finished size is about 17″ x 14″. The straps are fully adjustable to fit anyone from a child to an adult.
This tutorial will assume you are machine embroidering your backpack. You can also add your own embellishments, omiting the parts of the tutorial that you do not need.
As usual, please feel free to use my patterns/tutorials for your personal projects and gifts and for charitable fundraising events. Please do not sell anything sewn with this pattern. If you are interested in making this item for sale, please contact me and I will set up a license for it in the shop. Thank you!
1/2 yard/metre outer fabric
1/2 yard/metre lining fabric (I used outdoor slicker fabric I had on hand)
160″ total (about 4 1/2 yards) 1/2″ ribbon, clothesline or double-fold bias tape
Two 1″ grommets
machine embroidery supplies such as stabilizer, appropriate needles, and thread
Prep and Cutting:
If you will be washing this bag, prewash and press it before beginning to avoid shrinking the fabric later on.
Cut the outer and lining. You will need one piece cut to 30″ wide by 18″ high.
Prepare the straps by cutting your bias tape/ribbon or clothesline rope into two equal pieces 80″ long each.
Mark the outer fabric as indicated below:
Stitch a 3/4″ buttonhole in the area indicated on the diagram above. This will be where the straps feed through the casing.
Decorative Stitching (with the tapering feature!):
My girl loves frills and so I decided to add some stitching near the top to simulate frills and lace. Just to make it prettier!
Choose your stitches. I wanted to play with the tapering feature on the S9. You can choose from any of the purple marked stitches on the machine and it will automatically taper the stitching for you using several angles. This would be great for the ends of collars or a tapered space like the angle on a sash.
Mark a line on the bag outer that is parallel to the top of the bag – you will use this to keep your stitching straight. Add a line of stabilizer behind your stitching line. This will not show, so you can use any type you’d like.
Set up your stitches. I chose an heirloom stitch with a 30 degree angle on each end to make the stitching look lacy and “ruffled”.
Begin stitching and the S9 will automatically taper the beginning of the stitch. When you wish to start the ending taper, press the auto-lock button.
The machine will memorize the stitched length and ask you if you’d like to repeat it. I used this repeat function to stitch to the other side of the bag.
I added a few other stitches. It was really handy to attach and use the guide bar to keep everything straight.
Here are the finished stitches, along with a few practice ones I made.
Machine Embroidery (using the AcuSetter app):
Choose and set up the design you would like on the machine.
Mark the center of your design on the fabric and hoop it. I did not center the hoop on purpose to show you the AcuSetter app. This app is free for Apple users – and Janome loaned me an iPad mini so I could use it. It’s absolutely amazing!
“Recieve” the design from the machine – it will show up right on your screen!
Take a photo of the hooped fabric within the app. Match up the small black lines using the magnifying circle in the center.
The design from your sewing machine shows up on the photograph for reference. You can move things around and resize it if you want! I tilted the heart and lined it up the center markings I made earlier.
Send the design back to the machine. It is automatically precicly placed exactly where you want it!
Run the machine to embroider your design. This heart took about 19 minutes + threading time and has 7 different colours!
Adding a Monogram exactly where you want is easy with the same steps. Program the monogram, hoop the fabric, receive the design, line it up and send the design back to the machine. Now, embroider it in the exact place you put it!
Sew the Backpack:
Change the machine from Embroidery mode to Sewing mode. Press the toggle button on the LCD screen and close the embroidery arm.
Match the top edge of the outer and lining with right sides together. Pin and stitch with a 1/4″ seam. Finish the raw edge if desired with serging, zig-zag stitch or pinking shears.
Open flat and press the seam allowance towards the lining. I used low heat because the slicker fabric melts easily.
Fold the lining and outer right sides together matching the sides and the seam you just sewed. The outer and lining sides will match up with themselves. Stitch with a 1/2″ seam and finish the raw edges if desired.
Fold the lining into the outer with wrong sides together, creating a tube. Press and pin along the finished seamline and match the bottom raw edges.
Edgestitch along the pinned edge about 1/8″ away from the fold. Also stitch along the pre-marked line (aprox. 1 1/4″ down from the top edge) to create the casing.
The buttonholes should be centered from top to bottom within the casing.
Turn the bag wrong side out and align all 4 raw edges. Flatten and pin the bag bottom with the back seam centered on the back of the bag. Stitch through all 4 layers with a 1/2″ seam. Trim to 1/4″ and finish the raw edges if desired.
Turn the bag right side out again. Push out the bottom edge and the corners and press well. Mark 2″ out from each corner and connect the lines to create a triangle in each corner. Also mark a stitching line 1/2″ up from the bottom fold. Stitch on the marked lines to enclose the raw edge and create a sturdy corner for the grommets.
Attach the grommets in the center of each stitched triangle as per the manufacturer’s directions.
Insert one strap through the right buttonhole, around the entire casing and out the same buttonhole. Match the right side strap ends and bring them through the grommet from the back. Knot to hold in place.
Insert the other strap through the left buttonhole, around the entire casing and out the same buttonhole. Match the left side strap ends and bring them through the grommet from the back. Knot to hold in place.
Fray-check or finish strap ends if desired. They can be re-knotted at any length appropriate to the wearer. Remove all markings and press well.
Enjoy your new Drawstring Backpack!
I’d love to see your project! You can share your project on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram (links below) using the hashtags #alongforthreadride and/or #threadridinghood. Thank you!