Thursday, 4 April 2013

Tutorial - Ribbons 101

I'm sure I can't be the only one who has a problem with all the scrappy little bits of ribbon you end up with after a project but can't bear to throw away.... I guess I have a teeny ribbon obsession and really hate waste, so here are some tips I have come  up with to turn those scraps into gorgeous items!
The best part is, you probably have all the materials lying around anyway. In my case, it was this half-forgotten tin of ribbon pieces and a pair of scissors, needle and thread. And that's it!

The pictures should be pretty self explanatory, but there's some guidelines too for those who prefer to read the tutorials

No. 1 - The Sew Bow
1. Cut the ends of your ribbon on a slant
2. Fold & hold in place with a single stitch.
3. Fold down the top loop of ribbon & anchor with another stitch
4. Bring your needle up in the centre loop it down under the top piece & back up in the
5. Pull to gather the bottom half
6. Bring your needle up through the centre again, loop it up over both pieces....
7. ... & bring it back out of the centre
8. Pull to gather the top half
9. Wrap your thread around the middle of the bow a few times to pull it all in & make a stitch on the back to hold it all in place. Done!

No. 2 - The Rosette

1. Sew a running/basting stitch along the length of ribbon
2. Pull to gather
3. Sew ends together and cut off excess
4. Use a longer/thinner ribbon....
5. ..... for a tighter gather
6. Ta-dah!

No. 3 - The Wrap Bow
1. Fold both ribbons into loops and pin
2. Pin smaller thinner piece on top, with ends facing down
3. Stitch together
4. Wrap thread around the centre and pull to gather
5. Wrap a thin ribbon around to cover this and stitch in place on the back
6. Turn over and admire!
*extra* you can also make wrap bows with just one thicker ribbon (see floral and gingerbread bows in the title image) by sewing a running/basting stitch across the width, gathering and wrapping:
No.4 - The Rolled Ribbon Rose
note: I used a spotty pink ribbon to demonstrate as it clearly has two different sides, and then went back to my classic red rose to finish, but both were made in the same way
1.Fold the corner in
2. Start rolling along this folded edge until you meet the 'raw' (ie unfolded) side edge
3. Fold the ribbon down
4. Now roll along this folded edge until you meet the 'raw' edge again, then fold the ribbon down in the opposite direction and continue rolling and folding until your rose is the desired size or you run out of ribbon
5. Push a pin through the back to hold it together
6. *Do not unfold your rose - this is more of a side not to show how I folded my ribbon in the opposite direction each time*
7. Stitch through the back of your rose to secure
8. Sew a loop of ribbon on the back to form petals
9. Complete!
No. 5 - Teeny Bow
note: this is essentially just a regular bow without the knot so that you can pull the tiny loops and ends to make it all even - very simple really, just make sure to hold the correct ends and go slow to so that you don't pull it apart :)
1. Fold
2. Wrap right end around the fold
3. Bend right end in half and push through loop you just created
4. Insert a pin into this bend and hold the right end (this is important so that you don't just pull the loop out!)
5. Carefully pull the pin to tighten the knot and lengthen the left loop. Repeat this on the right loop if uneven, making sure hold on to the opposite (left) end to prevent pulling it through
6. Grasp the two ends and ease downwards to create a perfect bow, even on the shortest of ribbons!
No. 6 - The Folded Ribbon Rose
this is a quick method I have seen quite a few times on the internet - it makes quite different roses to the rolling method, but just as pretty!
1. Fold ribbon at a 90degree angle to give one shorter and one long end (the long end will be cut off later, so don't worry about waste)
2. Fold shorter end over to the opposite side (mine was the right end to the left)
3. Fold longer end over to the opposite side  (mine was bottom end to the top)
4. Keep folding the ends over to the opposite side, one strand then the other, (ie. left end to the right, top end to the bottom, right to left, bottom to top, left to right, top to bottom etc) until you reach the end of the shorter tail. Pinch the ends together
5. Holding the two ends, let go of the concertina and it should look like this 
6. Keeping your fingers pinched, slowly pull the longer end to gather the rose (don't pull to far or the petals will pull through the centre and the rose will fall apart!)
7. Knot the ends on the back.....
8. .... and the front should look like this!
9. This is a great way to use up old/scrunched up ribbons, as it makes cute rustic looking roses :)
Hope this was helpful, feel free to comment below and have fun using up all those accumulated ribbon scraps!
Ella Elizabeth x

P.S. Thanks to Wendy at, Allison at, Gina at, Liz at , Kim at  and Bridgett at for the great link parties! Some gorgeous stuff on all of these, thoroughly recommend checking them out x

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Tutorial - Simple Elastic Waistband Skirt (Lined)

Despite the length of title, this skirt really is very simple to make and the best part is it looks like it took a lot more time and effort than it did! Please do not be put off by the amount of steps and photos - I wanted to make the tutorial as clear and detailed as possible, but this really is a quite straightforward project that you can make in less than an hour :)
You can make so many variations of this skirt too as it can be made in just about any length, in almost any material. Depending on the width of material chosen, you can make it with more or less gathered (the greater the width, the more pleaty the skirt will be) - its all up to you!
  • Material for top (patterned) layer - cotton or jersey/knit work best
  • Material for bottom (lining) layer - try to use the same type of fabric as the top layer
  • Thick elastic for the waistband
  • Fabric scissors
  • Flexible measuring tape
  • Sewing thread
  • Pins
  • Safety Pin
  • To cut your materials, you'll need to take a few measurements.
  • The width of your materials should be at least big enough to slip over your hips + 3cm/1.2in for seam allowances and the longer the width, the more gathered the skirt will be. I just cut my material from selvage to selvage so for me it was already 120cm/47in wide
  • The length of your lining material should be the desired length of your skirt  +  3cm/1.2in for seam allowances and the length of your patterned material will be the same plus the width of your elastic - so I cut my lining 54cm/21in  long (51cm+3cm) and my floral material 57cm/22.5in long (51cm+3cm+3cm) 
  • Measure around your waist - your length of elastic needs to be at least as long as this
Once you've chosen and cut the two fabrics, we're ready to go! The basic steps are: hem the bottom of both materials, fold materials right sides together and sew a side seam. Place lining inside patterned material and sew together around raw top edge. Pull patterned material right way around and push lining inside and down so bottom hems meet. Sew a seam 3cm (or the width of your elastic) down from the top of your skirt through both materials - should be along the line where the two materials met on the inside - forming a waistband channel the size of your elastic. Seam rip a small gap in this, thread elastic through and sew together ends of elastic at the right length for your waist. Sew up the ripped seam and anchor the elastic in 3 other places.... finished!
However, I much prefer detailed instructions with photographs, so here they are:

No. 1

  1. Fold the bottom of your lining material up about 1cm and then fold up again to create a hem. Iron, pin in place and then stitch along the top of this seam (shown by dotted line on photo 1)
  2. Fold the piece of material in half widthways, right sides together (the folded seam should be on the outside) pin together and stitch down the open length.
     No. 2
  3. Repeat steps 1&2 with your patterned material. You should now have two 'tubes' , with one end raw and one end hemmed.
  4. As my patterned material already had the bottom and side seams stitched, I didn't have to do them (yay!) but it meant that it was about 3cm wider than my lining material (not so yay). To fix this, I simply sewed a diagonal line from 3cm in to meet the seam and cut off the excess, as shown in diagram 4. This can be used if you accidentally sew one material wider than the other - just lay them flat on top of each other with the side seams together to check if they match up. If you sewed your hems perfectly, ignore this step!
     No. 4
  5. Now, keeping both materials inside out with the seams at the bottom, put the lining
     material inside the patterned material - both should be right side facing inwards. Line up the side seams, pin the two together all around the top and sew this raw edge.

6. Next, peel the top (patterned) layer back the and it should form a long tube with the outer material the correct way around but the seam of the lining layer on the outside. This is probably the point where you'll panic as it will look rather strange but honestly, this is just right so 

No.6a.... It looks strange but this will work, I promise!

don't be disheartened! Just push this lining down and inside the skirt until the two bottom hems reach (the patterned material will form the hem around the top) and you should be left with something like photo 6b. Lift up the top layer and you'll see that the lining is now the correct way around... See, I told you it would work!




No. 7
 7. Now, the reason you cut your patterned material longer in length (an extra 3cm in my case, as this was the width of my elastic - photo 7) should make sense now. The seam you have just sewn around the top of your skirt will be on the inside of the skirt to form a tunnel for your elastic - as you pulled the shorter lining down to meet the hem of the outer material (photo 6b) you will have pulled this hem over on to the 'inside' of your skirt and this section, which will form the waistband, will be just slightly longer than the width of your elastic....

No. 8
8. It's easiest if you turn the entire skirt inside out again at this point - take care to ensure the bottom hems stay level. Pin all around this line where the two materials meet on what will be the inside of the skirt (dotted line on photo 8) making sure you go through both layers of material without pinning up the waist-hole (if that's a word....)! Hold your elastic up against this waistband i.e. this patterned strip above the line to double check it will fit through once you've sewn along the line - the waistband strip will probably be a few mm larger than the elastic, which is good. Sew all along the pinned/dotted line between the two fabrics

9. Nearly finished! Now you should have what will look like the finished shirt, inside out and minus the gather in the waistband. To inset your elastic, seam rip though a small section of the waistband seam and thread your elastic through by attaching a safety pin to one end......


....try on your skirt and pull the elastic to the correct length. Pin the two ends together at this length and take the skirt off, double checking it will stretch over your hips

10. Sew the two ends of elastic together next to the pin and cut off the ends. Hold up your skirt and stretch the waistband to ensure a nice even gather. Sew directly down through the waistband to re-secure the opening where we threaded the elastic through, and in 3 other places around the skirt (I did mine every 1/4 of the way around) to secure the elastic and an even gather. Pull the outer thread through to the inside, knot and snip the threads......

Elastic Waistband - easy to make, easy to wear

...and done!


I hope this tutorial was helpful and easy to understand. Feel free to leave any comments or feedback :)
Thanks for reading!

Ella Elizabeth x

Monday, 25 March 2013

Fingers crossed...

Thanks for visiting my blog - as my very first post on my very first blog, I'm not entirely sure how to start.... I've been thinking about starting this up for quite a while so I guess its time to just run with it or I'll never get going!
Although this blog is designed to be a useful (and hopefully interesting!) site bringing together the various tips, tricks and tutorials I have gathered through my crafting efforts, I always like hearing a little about the person whose blog I'm reading, so:
I'm Ella and Little Scarlet Robin is my way of demonstrating that you don't need a lot of time, money or even experience to craft and refashion your own clothes, jewellery and accessories - although I'll probably throw in a couple of art, baking or photography posts for good measure :)
Like many other bloggers, I have been making things my entire life (although, I doubt anyone wants a tutorial for the sorts of things I created age four!) - my mother and grandmother taught me to sew & knit, and haven't stopped since! I started by making small alterations to my own clothes and simple jewellery; since working in a jewellery shop and teaching myself to quilt for my Art A-Level my passion has expanded into just about anything crafty I can get my hands on.

   Whilst most of the blogs that I follow are written by stay at home mothers (and I love reading about their lives) I found that there were few sewing/jewellery making/crafting blogs by students and the more I thought about it, the more I thought I could do that!

   As a seventeen year old in the last few months of my school career (eek!) I often make things as a break or distraction (oh alright then, mainly procrastination if we're being honest) from studying and find that crafting something yourself - whether it be a whole new outfit or a simple refashioned cushion - just the most enjoyable, relaxing and above all rewarding experience. It may sound a little sad (my friends jokingly call me an 'old soul' for my love of all things crafty and homely) but what could be better than learning something new whilst saving money, relaxing and getting something entirely unique out of it?

   So, I have set up Little Scarlet Robin to document my various crafting endeavours and hopefully both share my knowledge and gain some great feedback - think of LSR as a sort of forum if you will, for likeminded people to share their ideas and spur each other on :)

If you've stuck with me this far, thank you! I guess it'll take a while to sort my writing voice and gain confidence etc so feel free to comment as any feedback would be greatly appreciated.... Now, here goes nothing!

Ella Elizabeth x