Add a fabric tag to your handmade items

envelope tee with fabric tag

140615_baking is a science tagToday I want to show you a simple idea I had about a year ago. At the time I wanted to add the phrase “baking is a science” to a bag I made for one of my sisters when she graduated. This is when I came up with the fabric tag. I still think that tag is a great addition to that particular bag as it really personalised it.

This weekend we went to a party to celebrate the birth of a little boy and I knew it was probably going to be busy. I had made another Growing up sew liberated envelope tee using the left-over fabric from my own striped Lady Skater t-shirt. I usually tell people what size the garment is and how to care for it but when it’s a busy party the parents are likely to forget immediately (oh the faith I have in people’s memories…). I could of course have printed the information on a piece of paper and put that in with the gift but a fabric tag would look much cooler and I was at that point also a little stuck on how to continue with my current  project so anything to distract me was welcome.

envelope tee

It’s not difficult to make a fabric tag. I make them the same way as I make my fabric postcards, the fabric is just cut in a different shape. I also add an eyelet to thread a ribbon or safety pin through. If you don’t have the tools to add an eyelet you can make a buttonhole instead. The eyelet does give it a very professional look though. I always use my Prym pliers but the eyelets (and snaps that you can also attach using these pliers) always come with a plastic tool thingy that you can use to attach them using a hammer. I’ve never had much success with a hammer but there are sewers that always use a hammer so your preference probably depends on how good your aim is with a hammer.

140615_adding eyelet

What to put on these tags? The options are endless. For both tags I show here I used transfer paper to iron the text onto the fabric. Dutch readers, I got mine at Action a couple of years ago, I’m not sure they still have it in their assortment but it’s definitely worth a look if you plan on using transfer paper. You could also write with a fabric marker if your handwriting is pretty. These tags would also work as gift tags for Christmas presents. I’m also thinking it would be really cool to have a logo and put that on one side of the tag to show that I made the item. That would also be a great touch if you sell your handmade items on craft fairs.

Yes, I did go a little crazy printing labels...

Yes, I did go a little crazy printing labels…

Do you have any other good ideas for items that I could use these tags for?

140615_front&back

Completed: A random assortment of items

The one thing the items I made yesterday have in common is that I really needed to get them finished but I never started them because I wanted to make other things first. The problem was the other things didn’t get made either because I felt I had to make these items first. It was a rather depressing vicious circle but yesterday I finally decided to get a grip and just get it over and done with. The stupid thing is I enjoy making these items so it really is the lure of the even shinier project that can sometimes keep me from being productive.

First, I made this fabric pouch. Intended for someone I swapped some handmade goodies with. I received my package weeks ago and still needed to get my items shipped. Bit of a problem if they aren’t actually finished… I hope it was worth the wait. The dimensions at the base are 23.5 x 10.5 x 18 cm (l x w x h). I chose these fabrics because these colours should be her favourites. The outside fabric is “Journeys dot dot dash” by Kathy Davis for Free Spirit. I bought it in Stockholm two years ago when I was there for a conference. I really like this quite simple design.

fabric pouchOn the inside I made a zipper pocket and a patch pocket that is divided into two. I hope it will be useful for storing craft supplies.

Pockets in pouch

Then some fabric postcards and a bookmark. Made the same way as described here. This fabric has a bit of a retro vibe that I think is fun and even though (or maybe even because?) it is a large scale print I think it works very well for postcards. It is “Wild Child Passionate Petunias” by Jane Sassaman for Free Spirit. I believe I also have it in a different colourway so perhaps I’ll make some postcards with that one as well.

fabric postcards

Lastly, a Growing up Sew Liberated envelope tee size 6-12 months for a baby boy born in April. This really is my go-to baby pattern. I kept it simple and used only one fabric (left-overs from the Comox Trunks) for the t-shirt but added some accents with contrasting thread for the coverstitching. This has the added benefit that I only have to thread my overlocker and coverstitch machine once instead of switching the right colour thread from one machine to the other several times during the construction. Because the sleeves on baby t-shirts are absolutely tiny I usually sew the hem first before attaching the sleeve instead of sewing it in the round. I did have difficulty matching it up when the sleeve seam was sewn. Apart from that I think the t-shirt turned out really good.

envelope tee

All in all, I had a productive day. Getting these items finished also helps to clear my mind because I can cross some items of my crowded mental to do list. Now it’s time to tick some non-sewing related items from that list…

Coverstitching details

UFO busting: Messed up top morphs into sporty baby tee

envelopetee3

This used to be an UFO, now it is a baby top!

Several days ago this was a top destined to remain unfinished forever. Now it has morphed into a fabulous sporty baby tee! This was one of my drama UFOs. I must have started this black and orange jersey top (7d, Knipmode August 2010) late 2010 and it turned into an UFO at some point during the first six months of 2011. It remained untouched for at least 2 years because that is how long we live in our current home…

knipmode7d_august2010

This is what was left of the original top after I cut out the fabric for the baby tee.

Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of the original top before cutting into it. The neckline was so messed up and screamed homemade in a bad way that I would never wear it. In fact, all of the problems that I had with this top involved the neckline. I made several stupid mistakes during the construction and had to unpick so often that it caused multiple holes in the fabric because the stretch stitch that I used was a complete nightmare to unpick (nowadays I use a simple zigzag stitch when sewing with knits which truly makes a world of difference). On top of that, the fabric got eaten by my sewing machine several times creating even more damage (wish I’d known about holding the thread ends when you start a seam, would have saved me tons of frustration). I also realize now that I used completely the wrong type of interfacing to reinforce it.

enveloptee8

The upper left picture shows some of the hideous topstitching. The other two pictures show the inside of the neckband. You can see how much thread issues I had. The fabric also somehow ended up twisted in several locations.

Could I have fixed this top to get it up to my current standard? I didn’t have any fabric left to redo the neckline. Buying more fabric also wasn’t an option because the solid knits from Hilco have changed slightly since 2010 (not just the colour but also the feel of the fabric) so I would have had to redo the entire top to make sure it looked good. And well, making a whole new top wasn’t really going to solve this UFO situation that I had going on with the original top so no, I couldn’t fix this top.

I couldn’t just throw this project in the bin though. The fabric is a really nice and soft viscose and lycra blend that didn’t come cheap. Enter my decision to get rid of all my UFOs. I realized that it would be totally all right to turn anything that I no longer want into something else! So, what would be the best way to turn this now unwanted top into something desirable?

The original top was made up of quite small pieces of fabric which made it difficult to turn it into another garment for myself. A baby top, however, is much smaller and this fabric is absolutely lovely for babies because it feels so nice on the skin.

evelopetee1

I absolutely love the colourblocking on the front of the t-shirt.

I decided to make the envelope tee size 6-12 months from Meg McElwee’s book “Growing up Sew Liberated”. I love this pattern and have already made it several times. It is a simple pattern but easy to customize and I think it makes a great gift.

In order to fit the front and back pieces out of the UFO fabric pieces I had to cut up the pattern. This gave me the opportunity to create a colour blocking effect (actually very similar to what I had planned in the original top). This is very much my style and I think it gives the t-shirt a sporty appearance. In the picture below you can see how I adapted the pattern to achieve this look.

sewliberated_envelopetee_patternhack

Schematic representation of the adaptations that I made to the front and back pattern pieces of the envelope tee size 6-12 months from “Growing up Sew Liberated”.

I consider this UFO properly busted because I ended up with a great looking baby top that makes me smile by only looking at it, while the old top made me cringe. It also made me realize that my sewing skills have really improved since 2010. I don’t think this top would have given me so much trouble had I tried to make it now.

Have you ever hacked up a messed up project to make something else with the fabric pieces?