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How to Make Chair Pockets August 27, 2009

Filed under: sewing — stephres @ 2:49 am
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One of the teachers asked if I would help her with a project: she wanted pockets on the backs of her chairs to the kids could keep their dry erase boards in there. I figured it was pretty easy to figure out and I was right. Here’s how I did it.

Start with a chair, measuring tape or a ruler, fabric and thread. I would use heavy duty fabric that is the same on both sides. My teacher bought bright denim that is heavy weight and cute for first graders. I also bought a denim needle for my machine and heavy duty thread.

Now it’s time to measure. You need to measure the width of the chair back, the height of the chair back and how high you need the pocket to come to hold what you want to put in it. It the chair is narrow at the top, measure at the widest point so your pocket will fit. Once you have your measurements, take your width and add an inch to an inch and a half to allow it to fit. To your height, take your height of the chair back, multiply by two, add the measurement for the pocket and add an inch for the hem. That is your total length. Cut out a rectangle to your measurements.

Zig zag stitch or serge the short edges. Press a half inch hem on one short side.

Flip over your fabric and press a half inch hem on the other short side. So you will have one hem on the “right” side of the fabric and one hem on the “wrong” side. That’s why you need the fabric to look the same on both sides. Stitch the hem.

Take your rectangle and flip up one end to make your pocket, according to your measurement. I made an eight inch deep pocket. You want the hem to look nice, not inside out. It’s hard to tell in the picture, but the serged edge is on the inside of the pocket.

Then flip the top of your rectangle down so it meets the bottom of your pocket. You should have the “wrong” side of the hem facing you.

Now stitch the sides at a half or quarter inch seam. Zig zag or serge the edges.

I “bury” the tails when I serge. You need an embroidery needle to do this.

Run the needle through the last few stitches of your serging, eye end first. Hold on to the other end and don’t lose it. I’m not holding it because I am holding the camera but really hold it!

Pull the “tail” tight and thread it through the needle, being careful not to pull the end of the needle out of the serger stitches.

Pull the needle back through the stitches, with the tail following. Pull out the needle and the tail is buried in the stitches.

Trim and do that for the other tails.

Turn it right side out and put on your chair. If you have a helper, he will admire your work!

Now make 19 more! It won’t take you as long as the first one!


Back to School August 18, 2009

Filed under: sewing — stephres @ 9:02 pm
Tags: , , ,

Back to school outfits are tricky for us because we live in Florida and it is still extremely hot in August (but frigid in the classroom’s a/c) and they have P.E. every day, which limits the fanciness of the outfits. We have always managed to have fun though, and part of the fun is letting Megan pick the fabric. It is never what I would have chosen, which is great. She gets total freedom and usually picks what pattern she would like, too.

For kindergarten, she went with froggy fabric and we made a skort. I loved this skort pattern and made it quite a few times. It was challenging having to lengthen it to ensure it was appropriate for school, but very easy to put together.

I cut a frog out and stitched it to her t-shirt and covered the seams with ric rac. I wrote her name on it with a fabric pen the last minute. Megan had the same teacher as Jacob, so this was mostly for her new friends.

The next year, Jacob allowed me to make something for him. I was thrilled! He picked camo fabric for easy fit shorts. Oh well, at least it was something. I found a shirt from wal mart that matched. He wore it exactly one time, the first day of school:

Megan had big plans. I made her a twirl skort out of crayon fabric and appliqued a t-shirt. I can’t believe how much fabric it took, but she loved it!

I was ruffling forever! I am old school when I ruffle, I never could figure out the ruffle foot and never really liked the dental floss or sewing over elastic method. I am very OCD about my ruffles so I do them by hand to make sure they are perfectly even around the bottom. Thanks to Tom, it is is easier with upholstery thread in the bobbin, but it still takes forever for one twirl skirt and two twirl pant legs! It is so worth it to see the twirl though. I was pretty sad to see that it is way too short to wear this year, so off to Tessa it went. It is so nice to have a friend the same shape as Megan (tall and thin) exactly one year younger. Otherwise, I would sit and cry over the outfits that are too small!

The headband was super easy but I don’t make them much any more. They just do not stay on an active girl’s head. If she would just stand there and not move (or jump or play), it would be fine!

I also had run all over town looking for a cream colored shirt, which I thought would have matched better. Fortunately, someone on the disboutique thread convinced me black would look like a chalkboard so it would be fine, which it was. I was also distressed to find I ran out of all matching thread when I went to applique the letters on the shirt. A normal person would probably wait until the next day and go to the store, but after all that ruffling I was itching to be done. I used denim thread to applique around the letters. It really made it too thick and I probably should have waited, but I was happy to be finished!

Here they are together:

This year Jacob declined a custom made outfit so it was up to Megan. I had purchased a cute German pattern, the Katrin, and really wanted to make the wrap jumper. Unfortunately, the fabric Megan picked out is rather loud. It is bright yellow, with red apples and bees all over it. I tried to steer her over to the trendy owls in fall colors but she was not having it. I decided maybe a top would be better (and I wouldn’t have to worry about trying to lengthen it). So what size? I looked at her chest, bust and hips measurements, and they were all different sizes! I just closed my eyes and picked a size (not really, I just picked the one in the middle of the measurements) and went for it. The pattern came together quickly and easily. The hardest part making my own binding. That took forever and was not at all fun, but I really like the look so it was totally worth it.

I am trying to decide if it needs anything else. I think I have learned my lesson from headbands that end up lost or stuffed on the bottom of her backpack, but the urge is still there to accessorize. Also shoes! Black ballet flats would be perfect but won’t stay on her long narrow feet. I think we are going to head to the Skechers store today to see what we can find. They have to be cute, able for her to play in, and stay on her feet. And on sale wouldn’t be hurt either. Wish us luck!

Man, it *just* fits her; no growing allowed! It was easy and fun to make, so I am sure I will be doing this pattern again. I would love to do it in knits, if I could find some cute fabric. It also has adult sizes so I could make one for me. Not in bees and apples though! 

This school year scares me a little bit. Will I be able to keep up with my duties of PTA President and my hobbies and blog? I hope so!