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

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Tutorial: Decorative jar hats

I made some strawberry & raspberry jam two weeks ago. What, in April? Isn’t that completely out of season? Yes, that’s why I used frozen fruit *gasps of horror from the jam police*. Ever since I started making my own jam I’m not really that fond anymore of the store bought varieties. I usually find them too sweet. I suppose I should make a huge batch in summer when fruit is in season and available everywhere but life doesn’t always work out like that. As a result we were out for ages and I missed it.

Ingredients

I suppose we should be glad she didn’t use orange juice from a carton…

The thing with using frozen fruit is that you have to wait for a bit for it to thaw before you can start the jam making process. So, while waiting I decided to make a little tutorial on how to make decorative jar hats, because I’m sure that’s what you’ve all been waiting for, right?

Jar hats

I recycle jars from store bought jam to put my homemade jam in but those jars aren’t always very pretty so I thought of a way to make them look more attractive when I turn them into a gift. It is a little hat that is placed over the lid and stays in place by either a piece of elastic or a ribbon. You can make them to fit any jar and would also be great when you gift a jar with homemade cookies, apple pie filling or even chocolate easter eggs. (Uhm, yes, I did plan to post this before Easter, but got completely sucked into Downton Abbey. I’ve just finished season 3 and am now eagerly awaiting the arrival of the season 4 DVDs…)

Materials

Materials

  1. Fabric for top and bottom of hat
  2. Matching thread
  3. Paper to make pattern
  4. Compass
  5. Piece of elastic or ribbon
  6. Pair of scissors
  7. Chalk or disappearing marker
  8. Pins
  9. Measuring tape
  10. Safety pin (not in picture)
  11. Optional: embellishments such as embroidery floss, buttons, applique, fabric paint

Method

140419_measure jarStep 1: The jar hat pattern consists of two circles that have the same center. The inner circle has a diameter of A+2*B (see figure), this circle will cover the jar lid. You can either measure A and B separately with a ruler, or determine the whole measurement in one go with the tape measure. I used a tape measure and rounded my measurement up to 11 cm (don’t round down).

Step 2: The large circle has a diameter of A+2*B+2* 2 1/4” (5.5 cm). This will create a 2” (5 cm) skirt around the jar hat with a 1/4” (0.5 cm) seam allowance. For a very small jar you may want to make the skirt smaller, for a very large jar you might want to make it larger.

140419_schematicsStep 3: Use the compass to draw the pattern on your patten paper. Since you put the compass in the centre of the circles when drawing, the distance between the two legs should be half the diameter of the circles. My small circle has a diameter of 11 cm, so the distance between the legs was 5.5 cm. For the outer circle the distance was 5.5 +5.5 (skirt) = 11cm

Step 4: Cut your pattern from the paper. Cut around the large circle and cut out the smaller circle so you end up with a ring.

140419_pattern

Step 3 and 4

Step 5: Layer the two fabrics on top of each other. If you want to use elastic place the fabric for the underside right side up. If you want to use a ribbon place the fabric for the outside right side up. Place the pattern on top and pin. For this tutorial I made a hat with elastic so placed the solid pink fabric on top.

Step 6: Use the disappearing marker or chalk to trace the inner circle on the fabric. (First test on a scrap whether the markings will come off)

Step 7: Cut around the outside fabric. Do not, I repeat, do not, cut out the inner circle!

Marking and cutting the fabric

Step 6&7

Step 8: Make a buttonhole just outside the marked circle. For the hats with elastic the buttonhole should end up on the inside of the hat, for the hats with ribbon the buttonhole should end up on the outside of the hat. For very delicate fabrics you might want to reinforce the location of the buttonhole with some fusible interfacing before making the buttonhole.

140419_buttonhole

Step 8

Step 9: Layer the two fabrics right sides together and sew around the edge with a 1/4” (0.5 cm) seam allowance. I used my 1/4” foot. Leave a small gap for turning.

Step 10: Trim the seam allowance. I used pinking shears to ensure that the edge would be smooth after turning the fabric right side out. If you don’t have pinking shears you can also clip small notches into the seam allowance. Do not trim the seam allowance at the gap.

140419_sew outside

Step 9 & 10

Step 11: Turn the hat right side out. Roll the seam in your fingers to smooth it out and press flat with an iron. Fold the seam allowance to the inside at the gap.

Step 11

Step 11

Step 12: Edge stitch 1/8” (3 mm) from the edge of the hat. This closes the gap. If you have an edgestitch foot that can be helpful. I used my blind hem foot and changed the needle position.

Step 13: Stitch over the inner circle markings. This creates the tunnel for the elastic or ribbon.

140419_sewing

Step 12 & 13

Step 14: If you are using elastic, measure how long the elastic should be for a snug fit around the jar. Cut the elastic a little bit longer.

If you are using ribbon measure how the long the ribbon should be to fit around the jar and tie into a nice bow.

Step 15: Use a safety pin to thread the elastic or ribbon through the buttonhole.

Step 16: If you are using elastic, tie a knot in the elastic and trim off the excess. Pull the elastic completely inside the hat. You are done and can put the hat on the jar.

If you are using a ribbon, place the hat on top of the jar and gently pull the ribbon so that the jar hat is shaped around the jar lid. Tie a bow into the ribbon and you are done.

Elastic

Step 14, 15 & 16

Did you ever consider dressing up your jars?

Jar hats