“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!!!

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“Some hats can only be worn if you’re willing to be jaunty, to set them at an angle and to walk beneath them with a spring in your stride as if you’re only a step away from dancing. They demand a lot of you.”

Anansi Boys, Neil Gaiman

So over the past week…in and around doing a myriad of Masters work (so many deadlines and the looming threat of EXAMS…TERRIFIED!)…I’ve been moving my stuff out of storage. While that may not sound like a massive task, I can assure you it was…so much stuff…so much of it really heavy (why did I put loads of textbooks in one box?…how I didn’t end up with a hernia I’ll never know!). It’s fun to go through all the stuff I’ve been separated from though, including this little box set of delights…

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For the sake of not boring you I will refrain from going into quite how awesome this shiz is, but if you’re a fan of a costume drama or two, watch it I tells thee!

Being set in the twenties, the costumes are beaut…some serious quality headwear…turbans (very much like bow ties) are cool! As such I thought I’d whip up a wee turban style headband and share the process with you fine folks should you wish to try it for yo’self (I have been led to believe they are popular with the fashionable folk and Pinterest would seem to concur). So andiamo…

Turban Headband

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Adequately modelled by Little Sis

So what does one need…

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Aaaaaand a sewing machine…and potentially a seam ripper…

Allora, so the first step is to measure the circumference of the old noggin (head)…or more accurately from the base of the skull, across the ear and round the forehead like so…

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If you’re anything like me you will then spend some time amazed at actually how massive your head is.

Now we need to cut our fabric which means we have to break out some highly complex maths (or math if your Americanly inclined)…

Head circumference + 3″ + (2 x seam allowance) = length
(Desired width (I used 5″) x 2) + (2 x seam allowance) = width

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We also need a square that is 4″ + (2 x seam allowance)

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Make sense? Well you can’t answer so I’m continuing regardless. Starting with the little square, we’re going to make the little cinching band that sits at the front of the turban…

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Fold in half, right sides together and sew…

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Turn right side out and press

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Fold in half along the short edge, and sew again.

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Trim seam allowance and turn to right side…huzzah! Cinching band DONE!
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Now onto the larger fabric piece. Again we fold in half, right sides together along the long edge and sew (just along the long edge).image

Turn so right side is on the outside and press carefully

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So now to provide some orientation for you. The centre of this band will sit at the back of the head…once stitched together, the seam will sit at the front hidden by the small cinching band we completed previously.

We’re now going to use shirring to provide the elasticity so it fits nice and snug while still allowing it to be put on and taken off with ease. This will sit at the back of the head, and as such will be centred around the centre of the band. The centre can be found easily by folding it in half and pressing…the crease being the centre line. From this line, measure 4″ either side and mark with tailors chalk on the right side.

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Ok, so the photo here isn’t the clearest but it’s clear enough in real life…now we simply have to shirr from top to bottom, this 8″ section. If you’re comfortable with this technique jump on a bit, however if you need some hand holding read on…

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First things first, we need to replace your bobbin thread with shirring elastic…this needs to be hand wound (i.e. Don’t use your machine) with a slight stretch put on the elastic. Then bang it in your machine as you would otherwise.

With the right side uppermost (so shirring elastic sits on the wrong side) line up the needle with the tailors chalk and so the foot lines up with the edge of the fabric.

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Sew till you reach the second line of tailors chalk. The first line of shirring won’t be particularly dramatic, but don’t panic it’s totally normal, see…

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Repeat this again, however this time line up the edge of your foot to your previous line of stitches. As you sew, stretch out the fabric so it lies flat.

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Keep repeating this over and over…

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Till you’ve made it to the bottom.

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To secure the elastic you can back tack at the start and end of each row, however I prefer to tie them by hand (much neater!). By pulling slightly on the elastic, the upper thread is brought to the back and the two can be securely tied together.

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Finally, hover your iron above and blast some steam onto the shirred area…you’ll see it shrink down further, which I feel is quite pleasing.

Before sewing the two remaining edges together, slip on the cinching band (It won’t go on otherwise).

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Now line up the raw edges and sew.

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Press the seams open and slide the cinching band over the seam to hide it.

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Aaaaaaand finally, hand sew the cinching band in place on the wrong side to hold everything in place.

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And we are done…I would add that you can also do this with stretch fabric, which is even easier (assuming you enjoy working with stretch). In this instance you simply don’t add the 3″ to the length of the band, and omit the shirring stage…über simple! Now all that’s left to do is pop it on, grab some Champaign and Charleston the night away.

Toodle pip!