“Fashion changes, but style endures.”

Coco Chanel

Hello Chumingtons! Long time no see! How I have missed my little blog over the past few weeks…sadly my attention has been required elsewhere of late! That shiz is done now though and once again I can snuggle up in my cosy internet home. Now often in the world of blogging, following a little hiatus people often have a bombardment of stuff to show and share from their time away…well unless you happen to have a particular interest in the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of warfarin, that isn’t going to be happening here!

Instead I will be sharing with you a quick tutorial which I whipped up today….and quick is the word, after a craft lull, I always like to indulge in some instant gratification and this fits the bill splendidly!

So some background, if only to remove some of the randomness. Recently I was asked if I could whip up some dog collar bandanas for a charity dealio…all very nice (and obviously I’m going to do it) but I’m personally not a bandana fan. If I’m going to dress my dog up, I want them a bit classier…and so, after failing to convince them a monocle was an excellent style choice, I managed to persuade them to sport a bow tie…and if I haven’t made it clear in the past, I think bow ties (very much like bow ties) are cool!

And so I give to you…

The Dog Collar Bow Tie

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Rather Dapper No? So what does one need for this…

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You’ll also need a sewing machine…a festive pin cushion is not a requirement but I do very much like it (’twas a crimmble present, thank you Anne!).

So I’ll keep this fairly brief, as they are super simple and I really don’t want to insult your intelligence (Should any of it be unclear however, just holler and I shall expand). So to business, first we need to cut out 2 rectangles of 11cm x 7cm and 2 mores of 3.5cm x 7cm.

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While in the grand scheme of things, direction of print isn’t likely to make much odds for something this wee (small for the non Scottish among you) I will point out that on both pieces 7cm is the “height” of the piece.

We shall start with the larger pieces…place them right sides together and sew round all four edges using the edge of your foot (as in machine foot, not you actual foot, obviously) as a guide, remembering to leave a small gap at the centre of the bottom edge. I shall now display this in pictorial form…

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…Trim and clip those corners….

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…and flip it right side out through the hole and press

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Not very bow tie-y as of yet…but wait…we need to concertina the centre by pinching it together and stitch in place

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We’re getting there now…but we shan’t dilly dally…onto the smaller pieces…right sides together again and using the edge of the foot as a guide, sew down each of the 2 longer edges.

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Aaaaaaaaand again, trim the seam allowances, turn right side out and press.

ImageSew the short edges to create a ring, and slip this onto the bow piece we created previously, once again hand stitching in place (through the back so it doesn’t show on the pretty side).

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My my my, isn’t that just beginning to look like a little bow tie! but how can we attach this to the collar? well if you’d give me a minute I’ll explain…jeez!…anyway, now comes the elastic portion of proceedings, cut a 6cm piece of elastic and sew it into a loop (I did mine by hand because it was quite thick and my machine was having a temper tantrum about it…very unlike him!). then simply sew this onto the back of your bow tie…et voila…

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Simply slip this elastic loop round your dogs collar and position…don’t he look fancy! Obviously, as well as making an awfully spiffy bow tie, you could equally use this tutorial to make a lurverly bow for the female pooches in your life…all my dogs are male however, with most of the bits to prove it, and so I spared them the indignity of sporting a girly bow…you’ll simply have to use your imagination…

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Originally I had booked the oh so marvellous Bruno for this photo shoot, but apparently he was channelling his inner Diva that day and pulled a Naomi Campbell-esque strop…this was probably best of the bunch but it’s far from ideal…

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He gets away with it though because he’s so gosh darn adorable…“dwee dwee, stop pointing the camera at me, dwee!”

That’s all folks!!!

“As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect.”

The Metamorphosis, Franz Kafka

Sometimes I look at fabrics in my stash and seriously question what the heck I was thinking when I purchased them…enter stage left, shiny shiny fabric!

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Now it’s not that it’s particularly offensive, I just have no idea what I’d planned to do with it…but with my aim of actually depleting some of my stash this year I decided to come up with a new plan. So after several cups of tea and some mad sketching I settled on a 50s inspired silhouette…dress, halter neck, sweetheart neckline and a 1/2 circle skirt…while the inspiration was based in the 50s, I definitely think in reality it’s going more bad 80s prom dress. Now this may sound like a bad thing, but if anything I think I love it more (please don’t judge me!)

Now I had concerns that using the fabric ‘as is’ for the whole dress might be a bit much so A bit of fabric manipulation was in order. It’s one of the things I love most about fabric, a few chops…a few changes…some razzle…some dazzle…and shazzam, you have something new and unique!

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In this instance I decided to use a shredding/cutting technique to chevron up the bodice…I likes it I do! To give you a better idea here’s a close up Mr DeMille…

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TRANSFORMED!!! And super duper easy too! Should you wish to give this technique a go, you are in luck because I’m about to delve into the world of tutorial-ing (I’m a total newbie at this so please don’t be mean if it’s a bitty rubbish!)…

Tutorial – Fabric Manipulation: Bias shredding

Firstly… You will need…

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Oh and thread (matching or contrasting, whatever takes yo fancy!) and a sewing machine (hand sewing would work, but ain’t nobody got time for that!).

Once you have all these things, arrange them nicely to comply with any OCD tendencies then we’ll begin…

So firstly we need to determine the bias (if it isn’t already marked on the pattern piece). The easiest way of doing this is to use the grain line marked on the pattern and draw a square like so (mine is 2cm FYI)…

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All you then have to do is draw a line which crosses opposite points of the square…et voila…bias!

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Using this first line, further lines can be drawn to cover the pattern (I’ve opted for 1cm spacing but there are no hard and fast rules…go crazy!)

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These lines can be transferred to the fabric in a number of ways but I like to use carbon paper personally. Place the carbon paper face up, then put the 2 fabric pieces on top (these will become one layer eventually) with the equivalent of the wrong side facing down…and pop the pattern piece on top and go to town with your tracing wheel!

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You should now have lines a plenty on the ‘back’ of your fabric (the fabric here is double-sided which is why it looks the same as the front).

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Sewers…to your machines! Sew down each line, making sure reverse stitches are in the seam allowance (for neatness sake…which is important!). Also make sure you sew in the same direction…also makes it all nice and neat!

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I’m only pretending to sew here as I needed my other hand to take the photo…the joys of being a one man show! Anyway, sew sew sew till you’ve sewed all the lines…

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Now, as you can see the carbon lines are still pretty obvious but we don’t care because this is the wrong side and no one will see it (unless you want them too!)…now flip it over to the pretty side!

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Now begins the scissor wielding section, so if you are prone to clumsiness please ask a proper grown up to supervise. Simply slip the blades between the two layers of fabric and cut the top layer only between each row of stitches.

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Keep cutting…I find it hurts my hand after a while so if you’re doing a large piece schedule some breaks…ideally with cake but it’s not obligatory (who’m I kidding!…cake cake cake!)

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In this photo I’m once again faking it…I’m actually using my feet to hold the scissors…not recommended for actual cutting!
Finally all that’s left to do is marvel at your handiwork…having cut on the bias your edges shouldn’t fray excessively so nowt to do with those…simple!

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I’ve used a small square to demo this here but it works just as well on proper pattern pieces and using most fabric (stretch fabrics not so much, or not without some technique adaptions)…I will say however that if you’re using pattern pieces with darts and such, be careful with the thickness of fabric you’re using as it quickly gets quite bulky!

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I hope you have enjoyed. This presentation was brought to you by B with no help whatsoever from the moon…lazy blighter!