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The Sewing Diaries – Week 5: 9 Ways to Embellish & Label Your Projects

2016 April 7

This past week I have been busy organizing, labeling and embellishing my projects. I’ve collected 9 ideas you can use with your sewing projects to make them more useful, or more fun! I’ve used the alphabet feature on the Janome Skyline S7 a lot for this week’s content. But I made sure to include several ideas that don’t require any special stitches at all – I hope you like them!

For my main project this week I wanted to make a couple of Fat Quarter Skirts. This tutorial is a few years old now and is so easy to make (and so cute to wear!) – a great beginner project. Perfect for embellishing, and using up any “spare” fat quarters you might have lying around! I added permanent shorties underneath these as well using this Add Shorts to the Fat Quarter Skirt follow-up post from last year.

The Fat Quarter Skirt PDF Pattern is Now Available!

Purchasing this fully tested skirt pattern gives you access to 5 sizes, child’s 2-6, to create a skirt that is 9-11 1/2″ (23-30cm) long. Expect lots of tips and tricks throughout, a glossary of terms, recommended best practices and instructions geared towards an absolute beginner. This pattern is truly a quick sew – allow yourself just 1-3 hours to finish, including your fabric cutting time. It’s also a great stash-buster, requiring only 2 fat quarters and a length of elastic… things you probably already have in your stash! To find out more about the pattern, click here.

Purchase the Fat Quarter Skirt PDF Pattern – $8.50 CDN

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Thank you for your support!

Back to the post… Each skirt uses just 2 fat quarters, and my sponsor Country Clothesline was kind enough to provide this week’s fabric. These fabrics are just gorgeous together. They almost look like the came from the same fabric line! Country Clothesline curates a lovely country-inspired shop full of fresh and pretty fabrics. The butterfly skirt is a mixture of  Kate Spain’s Aria in Begonia Butterfly and Bonnie & Camille’s Vintage Picnic Check in Coral. The floral one (my favorite!) is from Colette – Floral Leaf Paisley mixed with Tanya Whelan - Barefoot Roses in Pink Dot. The extra green on shown in the photos is from Tanya Whelan as well – Rosey in Green Plaid.

I thought it would be fun to add a book quote to one of the Fat Quarter Skirts using the Skyline S7 alphabet feature. It turned out so cute! Check out Idea #9 below for more details. (P.S. Do you know which book it is?!)

 Disclaimer: A Skyline S7 has been loaned to me for the purpose of writing this series.  As with all products I write about, I will always tell you my own honest opinion. I purchased and loved Janome machines long before they contacted me. Janome has not asked me to qualify my opinions in any way. Also, the fabric for this post was given to me by my sponsor Country Clothesline. Thank you for supporting my sponsors!

9 Ways to Embellish & Label Your Projects

Idea #1: Twill Tape Size Label – Three Ways!

  1. Cut twill tape to about 3″ long. Write the size using a fine tip fabric marker. Heat set the marker ink on high heat for about 30 seconds. Use pinking shears and/or Fray Check to seal the raw ends. Fold the ribbon in half. Sew into the back of your project.
  2. Follow the first method, but use your machine to embroider the size onto your twill tape. Make sure to use a stabilizer under your ribbon for a clean finish.
  3. Use your machine to write the size and any other embellishments (like a super-cute clothesline!) parallel to the ribbon edge. Remove excess stabilizer. Use pinking shears and/or Fray Check to seal the ends. Fold the ends under 1/2″ or so – I use a school glue stick to hold the ends in place. Sew across each short end to attach it to your project. You can also attach these over the side seam! Tip: Use bobbin thread that matches the outer fabric so the stitching is less visible. (Check out the blue Soleil Dress pictured + 12 tips for sewing knits in Week 4 of the Sewing Diaries.)

Idea #2: Decorative Ribbon Loop

Little ribbon tags are so cute and add a little extra to the side seam of your project.

Cut decorative ribbon to an appropriate length, depending on the ribbon pattern. Fold the ribbon in half. Insert the ribbon along the side seam of your project as it is being sewn. Be sure to allow for the seam allowance when you are aligning it – Ex. for a 1/4″ seam allowance, make sure the ribbon design is at least 1/4″ over from the raw edge of the ribbon.

 Idea #3: Fancy Top-Stitching

Use a zigzag stitch (or another decorative stitch on your machine) to top-stitch, instead of always using a straight stitch. I chose a medium width zigzag for the Butterfly skirt.

Idea #4: Leather Labels

I could have made these for days! I used one in the Forest Glen Mini Satchel a few weeks ago and it was so easy. I didn’t even need stabilizer – and they look so professional. Plus it helps that the Skyline S7 went through this leather like butter! Remember that any holes you make are permanent, and use a leather needle for your stitching. Check out these tips for sewing thicker fabrics from Week 3 of the Sewing Diaries.

Idea #5: Custom Stitches

The Skyline S7 comes with a really fun feature – you can build your own stitches! The Stitch Composer loads onto your home computer and allows you to build the stitch, save it, and transfer it to the sewing machine through its USB port. I found a butterfly picture to use as a template and then traced my own butterfly stitch. Woo Hoo! I would love to try to make a Little Red and the Wolf using my logo when I get more time to play with it.

My first butterfly had something like 175 stitches in it, and only came out about a 1/2″ wide! Oops! You can see what this tiny butterfly looked like on Instagram.

I can’t get WordPress to upload the file directly. So if you have a machine that can accept .stx Stitch Composer files and would like the butterfly file, please send me an email and I’ll send it over to you! 

Idea #6: Add Ribbon

An easy way to make a zigzag stitch a bit fancier is to zigzag over ribbon! Cut ribbon to the width of the panel you are making. Glue baste or pin the ribbon in place before stitching a wide zigzag stitch over it. Start and end your stitching with 3 or 4 straight stitches to hold the ribbon in place. I also sewed ribbon on with a straight stitch in an embellished skirt tutorial a few months ago.

Idea #7: Quick & Dirty Camp/School Name Labels

Create quick fusible name labels for everything your kids own!

Stitch names onto twill tape, I didn’t use stabilizer for this one because I wanted these to be super-fast. You can see they are slightly wonky but not too bad! Attach fusible web to the back. I love to use Steam-A-Seam (#notanad) because it is tacky and allows for easy placement and trimming. Press the fusible lightly to adhere it permanently to the label. Cut the labels apart and store them until needed. Then just iron them on! You can Fray Check the ends if desired – but the fusible should be enough to stop them from fraying. (The shirt is my oldest’s well-loved Extraordinary Girl shirt. Pattern  from Filles à Maman.)

Idea #8: Printed Fabric Labels

Design and send a file to Spoonflower and have your labels printed! I ordereded these a few years ago on a knit fabric. This way they are easy to cut out with no need to hem because they won’t fray. You could apply fusible web to the back of these (as per Idea #7) and have simple- to-make fusible labels with your own design! Or you can buy a pre-made design and support a designer. #goodforyou!

Idea #9: Adding Text

I love the idea of personalizing a project with a fun quote and this floral paisley skirt just needed something from “The Secret Garden” on it! My kids love to plant flowers in the spring, water them (too much!) and watch them grow. I re-found my grandmother’s Ladybird Book copy of the book to go with the skirt so now we can read the abridged version together as well!

“However many years she lived, Mary always felt that ‘she should never forget that first morning when her garden began to grow’.” ― Frances Hodgson BurnettThe Secret Garden

  1. Type in a few words and test the width of your lettering. This is very general, since spacing depends a bit on how fast you are stitching! My machine works out to 5 or 6 letters/spaces per inch. So I would need about 22-27 inches for the quote + the length of my test text.
  2. Cut some twill tape double the width of the skirt panel. Enter the quote into your sewing machine. The Skyline S7 has a built in memory – so I stored the quote as 3 files in the machine. Double-check your spelling! This machine has a view screen where you can see all of the text all at once. Really helpful.
  3. Place stabilizer on the back of your twill tape. I used a glue stick very lightly to adhere the two together. 
  4. Start stitching about 1-2″ in from the raw end. I used a slower speed and it took me about 25 minutes to stitch, open the next file, stitch, add leaves to fill the open space and double-check my work. Remove the excess stabilizer and cut/remove the threads between letters if desired.
  5. Sew one side of the skirt panel/contrast border together. Glue baste or pin the ribbon near the bottom and edge-stitch it on. I like using the over-edge foot that comes with the S7 to make my stitches really straight. The edge of the twill tape runs along the edge of the black divider on the foot and works to keep everything in place.
  6. Once the ribbon is sewn on, finish the other side seam and then finish the skirt!

I hope you found a few new fun ideas to use from this list! Next week we are going to talk about quilting. I’m looking forward to trying all of the piecing/quilting options on the Skyline S7. Plus I’ve been wanting to make the project I’ve chosen for ages now. Nothing like a deadline to get ‘er done. Have a great week!

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12 Responses leave one →
  1. Jennifer permalink
    April 10, 2016

    Hi Sherri, love the ideas. Am going to try the one with the ribbon folded at the side of a purse I am going to make.

    Would like to try to have labels made, please let me know how I could have something designed, as I have an idea.

    Thanks!
    Jen

    • April 13, 2016

      Hi Jen! There are some label makers on etsy, but to be honest I haven’t looked into it so I’m not sure where to send you. They should also be able to design them for you, I think?

      • Jacqueline permalink
        July 5, 2017

        I love your blog…..
        I wanted to let you know that I think it is important when blogging not to show children’s faces. You hear so many weird stories out there about photos of children being stolen and claimed by someone else.
        I will return to check out your blog some more….you have some awesome things on here.

  2. mom permalink
    April 11, 2016

    Those are awesome! So cool for decorating and sewing and and and…

  3. Rhonda V. permalink
    April 12, 2016

    Love the ideas! Just starting to use my new machine and am excited to play with the font.

    • April 12, 2016

      Thanks so much! The alphabet options are endless. So great Rhonda! Have so much fun with it! :)

  4. April 12, 2016

    Great ideas! It looks so lovely and I love them. Many thanks for sharing with us.

  5. Andrea permalink
    April 16, 2016

    Hi Sherri, More beautiful ideas from you…I have some lovely fabric tucked away from FabricSpark for two fat quarter skirts for my little girlie girl. Do you have suggestions as to where I can find the right fabric for the shorts here in Canada? Thank you for the inspiration (and the oh so practical instructions)
    Andrea

    • April 17, 2016

      Thanks so much Andrea! :) I think I got my shorts fabric from Fabricland. But a few places online would likely have something that would match – off the top of my head: Fabric Please!, Funky Monkey Fabrics, L’Oiseau, Simplifi Fabrics and Fabricville all sell knits. There are a few more on the pinterest board as well: https://www.pinterest.com/sherrisylvester/canadian-online-fabric-stores/ Hope that helps! I’d love to see your skirts when they are done :)

  6. April 21, 2016

    Ahhh the twill tape is a great idea. I love the wee tag in the seam sooo cute.

    When my daughter was younger I used to sew a little bell (that we’d get off the lindt bunnies) Into the seam line. I did it for all the dresses and skirts I made as gifts as well. Little girls LOVED it, and it was easy to keep track of her in the mall ahahaha.

    • April 26, 2016

      That is such a good idea! So cute! Wish I had thought of that when mine were little :)

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