Sewing Math For Circles
Sewing Math. If that gives you a headache, I totally understand. My math skills have always been something that is continually evolving and also a disappointment when I just don't "get it". I can't blame my teachers because they taught math in the setting that was available to them and it was the only one I had access to. Now with the internet and so many generous people out there, we have a lot of different learning methods. I am convinced if someone would have found out my sewing interests way back then and applied Math Skills directly to that, my skills might have improved. I "see" measurements and projects in Pictures more than numbers. Another thing that I have come to understand is memorizing formulas is only as good as being able to physically practice them. This tactile learning process is so much more helpful to me than say a WORD PROBLEM. YUCK. Also, a little advice to you out there who beat yourselves up when you can't remember those formulas? Don't. You can never remember everything, but if you have a general understanding and can look it up, you will be A-OK. So how do you figure out the circles you will need when you want to make a bolster or neck pillow?
Here is a remnant piece of fabric I used to test out a Waving Flag Embroidery Design. Which you can see here in my store. When I stitch out my designs, I always have a lot of these around my studio and I like to make small quick projects with them. I am not working from a pre-determined pattern. Instead, I am using the piece of fabric in the size I have available. So, to make a bolster or neck pillow, I need to figure out how big the circle needs to be for that specific size fabric. First you need to do some measuring.
I know that when I sew this pillow I am going to fold the right sides together and sew that long edge to make a tube.
This opening on the ends of that tube is where the circles will be inserted into. So I will need that measurement. It is too hard to try and get it measured right when it is in a circle.
If I open it back up and lay it flat, I will measure that edge. This is called the Circumference. Now stick with me if that makes the brain fog start to come over you like it does to me. For some reason, the word Circumference is confusing to me. It sounds so much like the word circle. If you remember that circumference can be a "Linear" or a flat LINE measurement it might make more sense. When I lay out my fabric edge flat , I have a "Line" or "linear" measurement that will be my circumference.
If you look at the formula above, you will put that measurement where it says Circumference. My edge was 13.25 inches. Then you will divide that number by pi (3.14) Once you have done that, you will have the Diameter of that circular opening. Mine was 4.219. That is all you need to know. If I keep my fabric edge length this size I need to cut a circle that will measure 4.219 inches across. Using this formula, you can work with any size fabric you have in your stash to make a quick bolster pillow. I didn't want to try and cut out a circle that had all of those numbers after the decimal point, so I figured out my formula again until I had a number close to 4.
I cut my fabric edges to 12.5 inches and my formula showed 3.98 inches. I rounded it up to 4 so now I know I should be able to cut a circle that is four inches wide (Or has a 4 inch DIAMETER) and if I use the same seam allowance on that long edge and when I sew the circles in, everything should fit. How will I cut out a perfect four inch circle though?
You have many different choices. You can use a compass, ruler with many holes or a pencil and piece of string.
Another great option is to make your own circle template. This is my choice because it makes more sense to me and the way I "see" measurements. Also, the circle sizes are already figured out for me. Once I know my size circle, I just pick the right number and the template does the heavy math lifting. If you will be sewing bolster pillows on a regular basis and you want to be able to quickly cut out circles, this template will make your measuring and cutting easier.
I really like to use the cutting mats from Dollar Tree for my templates. They are easy to lay on top of things I have drawn out on paper and trace.
So here is how I drew this circle template out. I used my cutting mat and since I will be drawing circles by placing something on one end and tracing around, I know that I need to use half of my circle measurements. See the one inch mark on my mat? If I place my pencil there and move the template around, I will actually trace a two inch circle. If I use the two inch measurement it will make a four inch circle and so on.
Here is my circle. I used the mark at the 4 and now I have a four inch circle.
I sewed the long seam on my pillow right sides together. Leave a small opening in the middle of that long seam so you can turn the pillow later. Then I pinned the circles with right sides facing in to the tube ends. If you finger press the circles and the pillow it is easier to match your seam.
Sew around the circles, clip the curves and turn the pillow. Stuff it and sew the opening closed.
Now you have a finished bolster pillow. These are really nice when lounging on your favorite couch or chair. I am using this one in my studio at my desk chair for lower back support.
Here is a graphic if you want to try to create your own circle template. I also have a PDF download below. If you print it out, use the one inch scale to make sure it is accurate. Then trace over it onto one of the Dollar Tree Cutting Mats. I also have a You Tube video that shows the template in action and sewing the pillow. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work!
Embroider and Sew A Garden Flag
Did you know you can sew your own garden flag? I am a fan of exterior decorating throughout the seasons. Flags are one of the ways I do that because they add that extra pop of color and excitement. Even when my landscape is in the cold dreary days of winter, I will usually have some kind of flags stuck in the ground to cheer me up. Memorial Day is fast approaching and I digitized this design in honor of that.
Here is my flag installed on a hanger. I used a fabric called Oly Fun. You can find it at most hobby or craft stores. It is a synthetic fabric that will melt if you apply too much heat. You can sew with it easily though. I have seen projects where it is used for costuming because of the light weight and non fraying quality.
I have a You tube Video below that shows how I created my garden flag. If you don't have the Oly Fun Fabric, you could use another type and have a lot of fun changing with the seasons. Check out the design in my store here.
Thank you to all who served our country in the past and currently. We all owe our freedoms to you. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work!
Embroidery Designs For Mom
Mother's Day should really last a lot longer than 24 hours don't you think? I wanted to do several embroidery designs in honor of my mama. I know she would love this Mom Frame design. When I was growing up, one of my chores was to press laundry. My mother loved to see crisp linens and she always had beautiful things in our home that were feminine. This design would be right up her alley. Perfect for pillow cases or tea towels.
Mom really does make it all better. With a kind ear and sage advice, most moms can sooth frustrations away and keep us in check so we don't feel too sorry for ourselves. This design is digitized to stitch out quickly. It would be precious on pillows or bags for your mom. Check it out here.
Mama Needs A Nap. Oh yes she probably does. What better way to let her get some rest than an eye mask that will tell everyone to SHHHH!! We stitched this one using some really pretty elastic with ruffles.
If you are lucky to still have your mom, give her some love and let her know how much she has helped you. You know moms show up everywhere in our lives. Don't forget those moms that are mentors, co workers, friends and family members. The best gift for moms is your TIME ... and a NAP. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work.
Make Your Own Cord Stop
Cord stops are a great little piece of hardware. You probably have a jacket or bag that uses one on a drawstring. Here you see I am using one on a mask. I originally created a pattern with shoelaces because I was having a difficult time finding elastic. I also did a You tube video showing how it was put together. After wearing that mask for a while, I decided to try and see if I could eliminate one of the shoelaces and add a nose piece. This allowed me to use the cord stop with just the two mask ends. It really works great. See the original blog post with the video and updated pattern here. Now that I am looking for the cord stops, it seems that they are becoming harder to find in a short time frame. I can order them online but there is a lag in the shipping dates. So I wanted to find an alternative and here it is.
This little knot works pretty well. I used para cord to create it and so far it is proving to be a good substitute. The knot will slide along the mask tie and stay put. It does work best on synthetic materials as they will slide but bind as they are tightened. Cotton will bind but it might not slide as easily. The best thing is I can make a new one if this one gets lost or wears out. I have a You tube video below that shows how easy it is to make. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work.
I am rarely able to surprise my husband with gifts. This past Christmas I really did good because I bought a back up camera for his Jeep. He loves to drive that vehicle but the only problem he has ever complained about is it didn't come with a back up camera. Weird because it has that tire on the back that creates blind spots and takes up part of viewing area of the glass. Anyway, I made myself pretty proud by actually finding the one that would work for his model and getting it delivered to my house without him even suspecting it. Since we are currently at home social distancing , he got brave and finally installed it and wow it works great! Only one issue though. I had sewn a tire cover for him last year that either needed to be retrofitted or re sewn. I decided to make a new one because the last material I used was vinyl and it was starting to show some wear and tear. He also has a birthday coming up so bonus opportunity.
Sewing your own tire cover is not hard. See the graphic above. I took a measurement across the tire, then I measured the thickness of the tire. I overlapped the tape measure toward the back so when it was installed, the cover would go over the sides a bit. The third measurement was around the tire. That's the tricky one unless you are good at math. (I'm not) Once I had those I added one inch to A, Two inches to B and 10 inches to C. I used a 1/2 inch seam allowance so my final measurements were A=33 inches , B= 16 inches C= 110 inches. Those will vary according to your tire sizes. I added 10 inches of extra length to C because it gives you a little bit of fudge room as you are sewing the gusset to the circle fabric. I did have several extra inches that were cut off once it was sewn together. I am always scared to cut exact on gussets so I always seem to leave extra for mistakes. Again, I am Math challenged but if you are not, you will probably be able to figure that out just fine.
I used a tape measure and french curve ruler to get my circle just right. This would be the front of the cover.
The gusset had to be pieced because of the length. I also had to use two different color fabrics due to my stash. I am using DUCK canvas which is good for outdoor projects. It is not UV rated so I do expect fading but this is an easy project and I can make a new one in a year or two.
Here you see the gusset has been sewn around the circle right sides together and then I did a dry fit before I added the elastic. I used my chalk marker to trace around the small triangle where the camera was mounted.
I picked a center point on the drawn triangle and then drew lines to each corner. I cut on each of these lines toward those corners so I would have three flaps.
This shows me cutting the flaps and then folding them toward the back.
I did a quick stitch around the perimeter and trimmed the fabric edges with pinking shears. If you wanted to do a bit more, you could sew binding around also but I think this will be good enough for me. The thread I am using is a heavy duty outdoor type also. I used a denim needle to put the entire cover together.
I created a casing for the elastic by double folding the edge 1/2 inch. Then I stitched around leaving a small hole so I could pass that elastic through.
I used 1/4 inch elastic and a bodkin to make it easier. Then I stitched the elastic ends together and sewed the opening. Time to install on the Jeep.
Here it is! I made sure I had the placement where the camera still worked and surprised him again. I think the color looks so nice with the Jeep. I will probably use some clear fabric spray just to protect the colors as long as I can. This was an easy project and if it only lasts a year or so, no problem making a new one. This would be a great project for Father's Day which is coming up! Maybe do some embroidery on it too? I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work!
Lagniappe Peddler believes that the process of working with our hands can be one of the best forms of healing the hurts in our lives and welcomes all who visit this safe little corner of the world.
What is a Lagniappe Peddler?
ˌlanˈyap,ˈlanˌyap - something given as a bonus or extra gift
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