From My Carolina Home

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Making Card Carriers

With the NC Quilt Symposium coming to Asheville in 2018, our local longarm group is once again making small items to add to the goodie bags to get our group publicity.  For locals, and those who don’t mind mailing quilts to be quilted, we have a number of wonderful longarm quilters ready to make your creations sing with professional quilting services.  See our website at Carolina Mountain Longarm Association to find a quilter near you, or one that takes mail in tops.  If you are local, or you attended the Sympsium held in Hendersonville in 2015, you might remember our Chickens Project.   This year we decided to do small card wallets, or carriers, for credit cards or business cards, or even tea bags.  Each one of our members is making at least 30, so it is a stash busting project for me!

Card Carrier ~ From My Carolina Home

These are really easy to make. Start with cutting two pieces of fabric 7-1/2 x 5-1/4 inches. Cut another piece from another fabric 4-3/4 x 5-1/4 inches. Cut a piece of batting 7-1/2 x 5-1/4 inches.

Card Carrier ~ From My Carolina Home

Stack the batting with one large piece of fabric right side up on top. Fold the small piece in half, wrong sides together, and place this piece 2-1/2 inches from the bottom, with the fold towards the top. I find using my cutting board makes finding that placement easy.

Card Carrier ~ From My Carolina Home

Place the other large piece of fabric, right side down on top of the stack.

Card Carrier ~ From My Carolina Home

Place a few pins around to hold the pieces in position.

Card Carrier ~ From My Carolina Home

Sew around the edge, leaving an opening for turning, just be sure that the opening is not along the edge where the small piece is sewn, or along the bottom as that won’t get any additional stitching.

Card Carrier ~ From My Carolina Home

Clip the corners to reduce bulk and make the points nice.

Card Carrier ~ From My Carolina Home

Turn right side out, and press.

Card Carrier ~ From My Carolina Home

At this point, you can change your mind as to which fabric goes on the outside, and which one goes on the inside. Just turn the inside panel to the other side.

Card Carrier ~ From My Carolina Home

Now, turn the bottom up, leaving a bit of the inside divider piece showing. Be sure you have the folded edge showing, and the raw edge at the bottom inside the fold.

Card Carrier ~ From My Carolina Home

Top stitch all the way around, enclosing the raw edge inside, and the opening for turning.

Card Carrier ~ From My Carolina Home

When you are done, the raw edge will not be visible inside, and the divider will be fully sewn in.

Card Carrier ~ From My Carolina Home

Now add some sort of closure. I used round velcro dots with velcro glue. You can sew in snaps by hand, or any other kind of closure you like. If you wanted to sew in the closure, do that before folding and topstitching.

Card Carrier ~ From My Carolina Home

You can use the exact same fabric for all the pieces if you like. It does make the divider a bit harder to see.

Card Carrier ~ From My Carolina Home

There is more definition with a contrast fabric.

Card Carrier ~ From My Carolina Home

I have a good start on the 30 I need to make for the group’s total.

Card Carrier ~ From My Carolina Home

I know some people like to carry tea bags in these too. Tea bags do fit, but if I was making it for this purpose, I might add 1/2 inch to the top-to-bottom measurement to make the pocket just a bit deeper.

Card Carrier ~ From My Carolina Home

One more afternoon and I had more than my required share all done. These are so easy and fast, use up a lot of batting scraps, and I think I’ll make a few more. I ran out of round velcro dots, so just used regular velcro strips cut into 3/4-inch squares.

Card Cases ~ From My Carolina Home

So, if you are local, and attend the Symposium next year, you’ll get one of these with your registration. They will have the longarm group’s card inside to remind you to look at our website for quilting services.  I have made a wide variety of them in different kinds of prints.  I made a few extra ones too, just in case someone gets a print they really don’t like.  We’ll have a few extra ones available so people can trade for a print they like better.

Don’t you love a quick project with no hand sewing?!!



Linky Tuesday at Freemotion by the River

Brag About It!

Vintage Charm





Another Lesson on Measuring Borders

Recently, I was discussing borders with a lady after her quilt was done.  I asked if she had measured the borders and she said yes she had. But they were too big, and it occurred to me that I have not yet talked about why you need to measure a certain way to get the result you need. I had Scrap Dance Waltz in progress, and used three blocks to illustrate this concept. So, do you ever ‘do the math’ when you are measuring your borders? I am willing to bet that 98% of you will say no. What I mean by this is figuring out what the border should be, then measuring correctly to see if it is close.

Measuring Wrong for Borders - From My Carolina Home

So here I have three blocks, each finishes at 10 inches. Three blocks x 10 inches = 30 inches + 1/2 inch for seam allowances (1/4 on each edge) = 30-1/2 inches. That is the target. So if I measure the border and get 33 inches, it isn’t right, not even close.  So, I lay out the little 3-block quilt and measure in the middle. Guess what, just a smidgen under 30-1/2 inches!

Measuring Wrong for Borders - From My Carolina Home

OK, now I am going to pick up the quilt, and measure on the edge by sliding the quilt edge and the measuring tape in my hands and working down the quilt edge. You know, pulling both through my fingers at the same time, this should put the tape along at the same rate as the fabric right?

Measuring Wrong for Borders - From My Carolina Home

Wrong! Sliding both the edge and the tape through my fingers gave me a different answer. And it was enough to be a problem, 31-5/8 inches!  I promise, I didn’t make this up, try it yourself to see.

Measuring Wrong for Borders - From My Carolina Home

More than one inch of excess fabric would be added in that border using that measurement, and it is only three blocks. Take that up to five or six or nine blocks and the numbers just get bigger.  So, how you measure the quilt flimsy is important. How you measure the border itself is also important. Using the proper method, I measured the first border for the Waltz quilt. I needed 70-1/8 inches. I set up an extension of my cutting board with a chair and a cardboard sewing mat.

Measuring Borders Properly ~ From My Carolina Home

Measure the border by laying the measuring tape on top and carefully smoothing it. Slip the cutting ruler under the tape and be sure it is in the right place.

Measuring Borders Properly ~ From My Carolina Home

Then cut it to length.

Measuring Borders Properly ~ From My Carolina Home

Then just for fun, I ran the cut border through my fingers to measure it again just to see what would happen. Oh my, again the measurement comes out too long! Measuring the border this way will make it too short, and will result in excess fabric migrating to the middle of the quilt, in this case a full inch.

Measuring Borders Properly ~ From My Carolina Home

Here is a better look at the setup I use, with a director chair under the cardboard extender.  I have the rose print border on the cutting table, which is the center one on the Waltz quilt. If you don’t have the space or a way to extend your cutting surface, then use the floor.  You can also do a bit more math and fold the border in half to get it onto a table, just be careful where you cut.

Measuring Borders Properly ~ From My Carolina Home

Ideally, take three measurements on your quilt top, one in the center, and two more between the center and each edge.  This picture is from a while ago, today I would use the center of each row as the measuring point on a nine block quilt.  On larger ones, I’d measure the center first, then halfway between the center and the edge on each side of the center.


So, why take three?  Why not just do one in the middle?  Well, because while the center measurement is often the smallest, it might not be.  It is much better to do three and take the average, and round that as needed.  I hear fellow quilters whine a lot about the math, then whine that their quilts aren’t flat.  Get a calculator, it isn’t that hard.  Sometimes you don’t have to, all the measurements come out the same, that is golden!  But often there isn’t more than a 1/2 inch difference between all three.  Use the measurement that is between the longer and shorter measurements to cut your borders.  It isn’t difficult to work in an extra 1/2 inch in a border, what is hard is working in two or three inches because it wasn’t measured right or it was done by the slap and sew method. (See my tutorial Quilt Borders Understanding the Why)  But, know your target.

So, lets say that you all are doing the Scrap Dance Waltz quilt – this one.  The blocks are 10 inches finished.  What size should the first cream color border be across the top and bottom?


Answer – 5 blocks x 10 inches + 1/2 inch = 50-1/2 inches.  Your measurement should be close, allowing for some variation in piecing.

OK, now do the vertical border, assuming the cream border is 2 inches finished width.


Answer – 7 blocks x 10 inches + 2 inches cream border on top + 2 inches for the bottom + 1/2 inch seam allowance = 74-1/2 inches.  If you measure and get 76+ inches, they are definitely going to be too big.  Go back and measure again, making sure you are not distorting the quilt while you measure it.  If you get 75 inches or 73-3/4 inches, it is probably correct for your quilt, assuming that is the average of three measurements.  You have a target to shoot for, so you will know if it isn’t right.

Once again, once you are completely done with your properly done borders, do this trick to be sure they are good.  Lay the quilt on a straight flat surface with the inner border seam at the edge.  A bed or a long table will work, or if you just don’t have that kind of space, use the floor. Bring up the bottom of the quilt up to meet the top, placing the border seams on top of each other, step back and look at the bottom of the fold.  If it bows up in the middle like this one, you need to remove the borders, remeasure and try again.

Loading the Longarm | From My Carolina Home

It should look like this, straight across the bottom, indicating the middle and the sides are the same length, which will mean the borders are flat without excess fabric.

French Cottage Quilt ~ From My Carolina Home

How about a New Year’s resolution to do your borders better in 2017?  Whaddya say?

Update – This post has gone viral, LOL!!  And I couldn’t be more delighted to get the word out.  If you are visiting my blog for the first time, welcome!  I hope you’ll look at my other quilting tutorials that are popular as well, just click on the Quilting Tutorials page at the top of the blog.  I also have lots of projects too, on another page.  The Scrap Dance series continues with the mystery quilt for this year Scrap Dance Two-Step – click HERE for the first post in January.  Thank you for visiting!  Please leave a comment to let me know where you found the link to this post.


Oh Scrap

Main Crush Monday

Freemotion by the River

Tips and Tutorials Tuesday

Let’s Bee Social

Needle and Thread Thursday

Whoop Whoop Friday

Crazy Mom Quilts

Show Off Saturday

Hands2Help Tutorials Linky


How to Re-cover an Ironing Board

Ironing board covers do wear out regularly, and need replacing. If you have a standard board that most people have, just buying a new cover is easy. But, my board is a specialty shape that is no longer made. It is larger than the standard board, with an elongated end for ironing in the round, like sleeves or yokes.  This is the second time I have had to re-cover it.  The last time was about 10 years ago. A dear quilter friend of mine has a large rectangle made of wood that is covered in this manner and fits over the standard board with some pieces underneath to keep it from sliding. Both boards are covered in the same way and it is easy to do. If you want a larger ironing surface, now is the time to make it bigger and more useful.  You can add a wood piece to your board, just nail it in place, or use screws if you have one of the older metal mesh boards. After years of ironing quilt blocks and pieced elements, mostly in the same spot, the fabric on my board finally got brittle and began to scorch. Then it began tearing. Naturally, every time I tried to iron in that spot, the iron would catch on the edge and make the tear worse.

How to Recover an Ironing Board ~ From My Carolina Home

Underneath, the muslin liner was scorching too. It was also very brittle and threatened to come apart any minute.

How to Recover an Ironing Board ~ From My Carolina Home

I purchased the silver ironing fabric at the fabric store in a long enough length to cover the board in one piece with plenty left over. For my board, this was two yards.  For yours, buy the length of your board plus about 12 inches.  The fabric is 42 inches wide, so that was more than enough.  You’ll also need muslin for a liner, two or three layers of cotton batting, and a staple gun, provided your board is particle board or wood.  This method will not work on a metal board.

How to Recover an Ironing Board ~ From My Carolina Home

I started by flipping the board upside down on the floor, and pulling off the old cover.

How to Recover an Ironing Board ~ From My Carolina Home

Pulling off the old silver layer, you can see how the muslin liner is deteriorating.  Remove the old muslin liner and old batting.

How to Recover an Ironing Board ~ From My Carolina Home

Remove any old staples or other fasteners that would get in the way of the new cover.

How to Recover an Ironing Board ~ From My Carolina Home

I layered the new cover elements on the floor wrong side up, with the board in the middle, starting with the silver cloth, silver side down. I used the silver ironing cloth, a layer of muslin to hold the batting, and two layers of cotton batting. I did reuse the thin foam layer as it was still in good shape. What you use can be tailored to your needs, one more layer of batting if you don’t have foam, or just two layers of batting alone. I like a bit of padding when I am ironing, but not so much that it is difficult to get a good crease when I need one.

How to Recover an Ironing Board ~ From My Carolina Home

Fold the larger end (if you have a difference in the size of the ends, if not just start with one end) over the board and place a few staples in to hold all the layers in place.

How to Recover an Ironing Board ~ From My Carolina Home

Now fold the opposite end over to the backside, and pull it tight. Staple in place.

How to Recover an Ironing Board ~ From My Carolina Home

If the layering is too thick, cut away the excess batting under the silver cloth and muslin.

How to Recover an Ironing Board ~ From My Carolina Home

Now do the center of the long sides. Start with one side, then pull opposite side tight and staple.

How to Recover an Ironing Board ~ From My Carolina Home

When both ends and both sides are done, move to the corners or curves. Make pleats in the fabric to take up the extra, and staple them down, pulling the fabric tight. Distribute the fullness equally around the edge to smooth out the edge.

How to Recover an Ironing Board ~ From My Carolina Home

Keep working around the board until all the corners and curves are done. This is easier to do on a curve that goes outward from the center. It takes a bit more care for a curve that go inward like I have in the middle of this board. Just keep working the fabric, stapling it down as you go.

How to Recover an Ironing Board ~ From My Carolina Home

When it is all stapled, cut away the excess fabric near, but not next to, the staples. Leave about an inch of fabric away from the staples to maintain the integrity of the fabric.

How to Recover an Ironing Board ~ From My Carolina Home

All done, now there is a nice new surface ready for any pressing duty, and will last a long time.

How to Recover an Ironing Board ~ From My Carolina Home

Keep the leftover silver fabric, it is perfect for potholders.  More quilting and sewing coming up!

Click on Autumn Jubilee for the kickoff post to a month long event with giveaways in October 2016!

Have you ever re-covered your ironing board?



Pieced Pastimes Saturday Sparks

Sew Can She Show Off Saturday

Threading My Way

WIP with Friends

Needle and Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation

Tips and Tutorials Tuesday at Quilting JetGirl



Christmas in July! Sewing Kit Tutorial

Today I kickoff a Christmas in July Event at From My Carolina Home!  Get ready for 12 days of ideas, tutorials, giveaways, downloads and fun on my blog PLUS a quilt along over at a blog hop with more blogs to visit full of ideas.  On this post, I’ll show you a tutorial for a great little jewelry case or sewing kit, something to make in multiples for holiday gifts.  Are you ready?  Let’s get inspired! Read all the way to the end for a special surprise!

Sewing Kit | From My Carolina Home

You’ll need:
1/2 yard of fashion fabric (in the tutorial, the snapdragon fabric) for the outside
1/2 yard of lining fabric (in the tutorial, the pink fabric) for the inside
1 yard cording, cut into two 18-inch pieces
1 3-inch plastic canvas circle
Optional – fusible interfacing 15 inch square

First make your pattern. You’ll need circles of fabric, so I begin with folding a piece of paper into fourths. Make 2. Measure out 7-1/2 inches from the center on the larger, and 4-1/2 inches from the center on the smaller, in several places. Draw a quarter circle line from edge to edge to make two circles, one 15 inches in diameter and one 9 inches in diameter.

Sewing Kit | From My Carolina Home

Cut out your circles.

Sewing Kit | From My Carolina Home

Using each pattern circle, cut one fashion fabric and one lining fabric.

Sewing Kit | From My Carolina Home

Optional, if you like your case to have a bit more body, iron on fusible interfacing to the back of the fashion fabric.

Sewing Kit | From My Carolina Home

Measure in from one edge on the larger 15-inch fashion fabric circle 1-1/2 inches and make a buttonhole one inch in length.

Sewing Kit | From My Carolina Home

Make another one on the opposite edge of the same piece of fabric.  Cut both buttonholes open.

Sewing Kit | From My Carolina Home

Place the large circles right sides together and sew all the way around the edge. Yes, all the way, do not leave any opening for turning. Repeat with the smaller circles, right sides together.

Sewing Kit | From My Carolina Home

Fold the sewn circles into fourths to find the exact center. Mark a one inch line on the edge in the center (1/2 inch on either side of the center point) on the lining.

Sewing Kit | From My Carolina Home

Cut a slit in the LINING ONLY. Don’t get scared, it will get covered up. Just be careful to only cut the lining. Repeat for the small circle.

Sewing Kit | From My Carolina Home

Clip the curves on the edges all the way around both circles.

Sewing Kit | From My Carolina Home

Turn right side out through the slit.

Sewing Kit | From My Carolina Home

Smooth out the edges, I like to use a chopstick for this.

Sewing Kit | From My Carolina Home

Iron both to sharply crease the edges.

Sewing Kit | From My Carolina Home

Fold the larger circle into fourths and finger press to find the exact center. Place the plastic canvas circle in the center on the lining side over the slit, making sure the center of the canvas is on the center of the larger circle.

Sewing Kit | From My Carolina Home

Fold the smaller circle into fourths, lining side out and place on the plastic canvas to find the center.

Sewing Kit | From My Carolina Home

Open out the small circle over the plastic canvas, lining sides together, pin around the plastic canvas through all the layers.

Sewing Kit | From My Carolina Home

Sew through all the layers around the canvas circle. Do not sew through the canvas, just around the edge of it. This will encase the canvas in the bottom providing a firm base and cover both slits in the lining fabric.

Sewing Kit | From My Carolina Home

Beginning at the sewing line in the middle, sew spokes out to the edge of the smaller circle. Sew four spokes, one each pointing north, south, east and west (or like a clock face 12, 3, 6, and 9).  Do not sew through the plastic canvas.

Sewing Kit | From My Carolina Home

Add four more spokes of sewing to make eight pockets.

Sewing Kit | From My Carolina Home

I hope you see the stitching here to create the pockets in the smaller circle.

Sewing Kit | From My Carolina Home

Now, sew a line around the outer edge of the larger circle about 1/2-inch in from the edge to make the top ruffle. Be sure to keep this line of sewing to the outside of the buttonholes.

Sewing Kit | From My Carolina Home

Sew a second line of stitching about one inch further in, this time going to the inside of the buttonholes.  This will create a channel for the drawstrings.

Sewing Kit | From My Carolina Home

Using a bodkin, or other means, thread the cording through one of the buttonholes, all the way around the channel and back out through the same buttonhole.

Sewing Kit | From My Carolina Home

Tie the ends together in a knot.

Sewing Kit | From My Carolina Home

Repeat with the other piece of cording using the opposite buttonhole.

Sewing Kit | From My Carolina Home

I put a dab of frey check on each knot and clip off the taped ends.

Sewing Kit | From My Carolina Home

Pull on both cords at the same time to close the bag.

Sewing Kit | From My Carolina Home

Give it empty for use as a jewelry case.  Earrings are kept together in the pockets.  Since the bottoms of the pockets end at the plastic canvas liner, they are flat instead of cone shaped.  This makes it easy to reach in and get your items.  The sturdy base can hold several pieces as well.

Sewing Kit | From My Carolina Home

Another idea, fill it with sewing goodies for a wonderful sewing kit.  For travel to classes, or just to keep on hand, a kit with the basics we use all the time will be appreciated.  Needles, pretty scissors and Aurifil threads are always welcome to a quilter or sewist.

Sewing Kit | From My Carolina Home

Even more fun, make one with sewing motif fabrics!

Sewing Kit | From My Carolina Home

This one has a gold lining fabric.

Sewing Kit | From My Carolina Home

You can make your own sewing kit with this black background fabric, available in my Etsy store, or use the scissor fabric also available at a wholesale price. Filled with sewing goodies they make great gifts.  A yard will provide enough of the pretty fabric for three sewing kits, just add one yard of lining solid in your choice of colors.  There are plenty of choices with this adorable print.


SimplyColorful-Large-Outside SimplyColorful-Large-Inside

To win this set of 12 V&Co Simply Color Aurifil thread, visit the Aurifil website at, check out Auriworld, see the designers and collections, or visit the blog, then come back and leave a comment on this post with your favorite Aurifil thread collection or designer, or if you decided to follow them via any of their social networks like Pinterest.   International entries are welcome, Aurifil will ship anywhere in the world. You may leave a second comment and entry if you follow my blog and just say how you follow me. I’ll draw the winner on July 24th, so you have plenty of time to enter. Good luck!
Update – Drawing has been held and the winner has been sent an email.

12DAYSOFCIJ2016bannerMORE FUN!! Hop over to Confessions of A Fabric Addict to see more Christmas In July ideas, begin a quilt along for a Christmas quilt, and see the other bloggers on the hop over the next 12 days.   Lots more projects are planned for the hop you won’t want to miss.  Fellow blogger on the hop today is Sharon Vrooman who has another Christmas project – click on Vroomans Quilts to see the feather trees.

And come back here for more ideas throughout the house tomorrow.  Linking up with some of the great parties on my party page.  Also sharing at …

Bag It! at Elm Street Quilts Bag Tutorials

Sewing Kit | From My Carolina Home


Patriotic Star Mini Quilt

I wanted a red,white and blue mini quilt for my quilt stand, so I got out some patriotic colors and prints and had some fun.  I did something really different this time, and I’ll show you step by step.  Here’s what you need –

Four 2-1/2 inch squares each of blue and white,
Four 3-inch squares each of red and white,
Four 2-1/2 x 8-1/2 inch rectangular border pieces of star print.
One square of blue, 4-1/2 inches square

Patriotic Star Mini Quilt ~ From My Carolina Home

Pair the red and white 3-inch squares and make HSTs.

Patriotic Star Mini Quilt ~ From My Carolina Home

Lay out the block and sew in rows as usual.

Patriotic Star Mini Quilt ~ From My Carolina Home

Patriotic Star Mini Quilt ~ From My Carolina Home

Then, loading it on the longarm, I stitched around the edges to hold it in place.

Patriotic Star Mini Quilt ~ From My Carolina Home

I had this pattern from Twice Quilted designs, but I don’t like the way you have to use these. The pattern calls for flipping and reversing the page, and it just gets too involved to be practical. Maybe if you are marking and hand quilting, these would work, but for a machine quilted project it is just too convoluted.

Patriotic Star Mini Quilt ~ From My Carolina Home

But, I liked the idea of two lines of quilting in different colors. So, I got out my Golden Threads paper and made my own. I started by laying it over the mini quilt to get the size I needed.

Patriotic Star Mini Quilt ~ From My Carolina Home

Then, I traced some of the motifs, putting them closer together to cover a smaller project.

Patriotic Star Mini Quilt ~ From My Carolina Home

I used two colors of pencil to help keep the paths straight. The fireworks and stars will be quilted in different colors.

Patriotic Star Mini Quilt ~ From My Carolina Home

I started with red thread and the fireworks motifs.

Patriotic Star Mini Quilt ~ From My Carolina Home

Then I did the star motifs in blue.

Patriotic Star Mini Quilt ~ From My Carolina Home

I noticed that the actual quilting didn’t cover the whole piece evenly, so I added a freehand loop in white thread to finish it off.

Patriotic Star Mini Quilt ~ From My Carolina Home

Here are a couple of close up views.

Patriotic Star Mini Quilt ~ From My Carolina Home

Patriotic Star Mini Quilt ~ From My Carolina Home

I put the little hangers on the back, two wide loops to hang the little quilt on the frame two inches wide by one inch folded to 1/2 inch.  It is stitched down under the binding, and the loops will turn up but not show over the top of the quilt. (see here), then added the binding in the same star print.

Patriotic Star Mini Quilt ~ From My Carolina Home

The hand sewing to the back only took one evening.  Hanging on the stand, it was the perfect decoration for the patriotic holidays of summer.

Patriotic Star Mini Quilt ~ From My Carolina Home

It goes well with the Value Play quilt on the wall.

Patriotic Star Mini Quilt ~ From My Carolina Home

Fireworks and stars, the perfect quilt pattern for a star mini quilt.

Patriotic Star Mini Quilt ~ From My Carolina Home

Have you ever quilted a project with two or three different colors and motifs?



Crazy Mom Quilts

Saturday Sparks

My blog is a variety of subjects, quilting and sewing, tablescapes and recipes, book reviews and hand stitching, crafting and mountain living. I love to have new followers, too!  See the buttons on the sidebar to follow by your favorite method.  If you are visiting from Fave Quilts, Pinterest, a blog hop or link up, please stay a bit and have a look around, my tutorials are gathered at the top in pages to make them easy to find.  Lots of fun is had here, and I invite you to follow with any of your favorite methods, see the sidebar for ways to follow.  My third mystery quilt is in progress, click on Scrap Dance Two Step on the sidebar for the first post.  Click on the Home page to see the latest posts on the blog.


Sewing Rayon Lounge Top Nightshirt

This tutorial is the companion to the lounge pants in the previous post, using the same rayon fabric.  Click on Rayon Lounge Pants for that tutorial.  Cutting out the rayon uses the same principles of not stretching the fabric, and using pattern weights helps.  For the top, I have a favorite nightshirt that I wanted to copy.

Rayon Pajama Top - 23

For a simple garment, it is really easy to make a pattern from another piece of clothing.  All you need is the garment, some wide freezer paper or newsprint, and some marking tools.  I use my French curve ruler, along with a couple of straight side rulers, a pencil and a sharpie marker to darken the lines.  This works best with super simple lines and few extra seams like darts.

Rayon Pajama Top - 1

I start by laying out the garment right side up and smooth it out so the seams are at the edges. Then I draw around the garment with a pencil.

Rayon Pajama Top - 2

I mark the center, then fold the garment in half to mark the center front line at the bottom.

Rayon Pajama Top - 3

Do the same at the top neck edge, marking the center of the lower neckline too.

Rayon Pajama Top - 4

I remove the garment, go over all the lines with a sharpie. I use a dashed line for the fold line, and mark it with arrows like the commercial patterns do.

Rayon Pajama Top - 5

Then I mark a cutting line 5/8″ away from the edge. Leave this off the fold line so you won’t mistakenly cut that one.

Rayon Pajama Top - 6

Repeat with another piece of paper, and the back side of your garment.

Rayon Pajama Top - 7

Be sure to mark the fold here too.

Rayon Pajama Top - 8

Now, line up the patterns for the front and back and make any adjustments to keep the side seams even. Note that the back is often a bit wider than the front, that is OK.

Rayon Pajama Top - 9

Looking at the lower edge, I’ll make these line up a bit better.

Rayon Pajama Top - 10

Moving the top one, I redraw the lines on the bottom so the side slits line up.

Rayon Pajama Top - 11

Now, using your new pattern, cut out the rayon, being careful to place the fabric and pattern with the folds lining up. If your fabric is one directional, be sure to place the top of the pattern pieces oriented the same way.

Rayon Pajama Top - 12

Serge the side seams and top sleeve seams. Or, with your domestic machine using a walking foot, sew the seams.

Rayon Pajama Top - 13

Press seams inside and outside.

Rayon Pajama Top - 14

Try the garment on and make any adjustments. I wanted this one to be more of a top, so I decided to shorten it. Using the French curve, I drew a new cut line with chalk and cut way the extra length.

Rayon Pajama Top - 15

Now, serge the raw edges of the neckline, hem, and sleeve hem.

Rayon Pajama Top - 16

Turn under and topstitch to finish the edges.  If you don’t have a serger, just turn under 1/4 inch and press, then turn again another 1/4 inch and topstitch.

Rayon Pajama Top - 17

Sometimes the rayon will ruffle a bit while sewing.  Minimize this by not pulling on the fabric as it is taken through the feed dogs.

Rayon Pajama Top - 18

Just press with a bit of steam to flatten it out.

Rayon Pajama Top - 19

OK, all finished with the basic nightshirt or lounge wear top.

Rayon Pajama Top - 20

I like to embellish a bit to make these more interesting. So, I added a lace medallion. Find these in the fabric stores in the bridal area.

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I use a couching stitch through the lace by hand so the lace floats on the surface and the stitches don’t show.

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I added a ribbon rose to the center to finish it up.

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Voila, finished! Ready to wear around the house with the Rayon Pants on a warm day, while relaxing with my next good book.

Rayon Pajama Top finished

Have you ever made a garment from a finished piece?

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Sewing Rayon Pants with Perfect Fitting

I have several yards of lovely rayon fabric that I wanted to sew into night wear and lounge wear.  Rayon is wonderful to wear, and not difficult to sew (with a couple of tricks).  Serging is perfect for this fabric. The first tip is to place pattern weights on the portion of the fabric that is outside the pattern, especially if the remainder of the fabric is hanging off the table. This will keep the fabric from distorting while you cut.

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Start with any pants pattern that has adequate measure in the waist and hip circumference.  Take a tape measure and place the zero point at the waist in your middle back.  Pass the tape between your legs and up to the center waist in the front.  Note that number.  Holding the tape at the correct number in the front with one hand, use the other hand to reach between your legs and pinch the measuring tape at the midpoint between front and back.  Note that number – it is the center back crotch measurement.  Then subtract that number from the total to get the center front crotch measurement.  Now measure the crotch seam on your pattern, and add paper to the pattern if needed to get the right amount on both the front and the back center seams, measuring to the finish point leaving additional at the top waist for turning.  Taper the end into the leg seam.

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So, for example (and these are not my numbers, LOL!!), say your total crotch seam is 56 inches, and the midpoint is 32 inches.  Your back center crotch measure would be 32 inches, and the front would be 24 inches.  Make sense?  OK, make the adjustments and cut out your pants pieces.

Now, match the center leg seam on each front to the center leg on the back pieces and serge them together.  You can sew them as well, use a walking foot to reduce drag on the fabric.  Use a 70/10 needle with a thin thread like Aurifil 50/2.  Try not to pull or push the fabric, just let the feed dogs take it smoothly.  Puckers in rayon aren’t as easy to press out like cotton.

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Now match the front and back crotch seams, aligning the leg seams. Serge that seam.

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Continue by serging the raw edges of the waist and hems to finish them.  This isn’t really necessary as rayon doesn’t ravel, but it makes for a professional looking finish.

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Measure the foldover for the waist elastic. This should be about 1/2 inch larger than the width of your elastic. Sew the channel keeping an opening to insert the elastic.

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Insert the elastic using a bodkin.

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Overlap the ends of the elastic and join with a zigzag stitch. Or stitch both ends to a scrap, butting the ends up to each other to reduce bulk.

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Try the pants on.  Now is the time to remove any excess bulk on the legs or waist.  Be sure to leave enough to get the pants on when the elastic is inserted.  Evenly distribute the fabric around the elastic and stitch through all layers on the four seams to hold the elastic in place so it doesn’t roll.  When you iron the seams on the inside, there is sometimes not a clear press on the outside.

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Fix this by pressing the seams on the outside of the garment too. This will give the seams a professional look and works on any type of fabric.

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Turn up your serged edge hem to the correct length, and topstitch.  Another way to finish is to use a twin needle set up on your sewing machine to topstitch the hem, trimming the excess from the wrong side after it is done. Done!  Just need to press these again and they are ready to wear.

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Next time, I’ll show you the top that goes with them. A lovely, comfortable set to wear around the house on a Sunday afternoon, sipping iced tea on the veranda.


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