I have been working on more activity mats to donate to my local retirement facility. My first blog article showed how I like to construct the mats using dish drying mats purchased from the Dollar Store. You can revisit that post here.
These projects are great because they fulfill two purposes. The first and best one in my opinion is connecting with your community. When you create something selflessly with someone else in mind; you are giving a gift that is very valuable. YOUR TIME. The second purpose in making these projects is they help me get centered when I am not feeling very creative. You know how you sometimes lose your way and feel a little disconnected from doing artistic work. These are small enough to be completed in short bursts of activity. Also, end pieces, scraps of trims and endless choices make them relaxing as well as inexpensive.
I did four different themes this time making sure to have designs for men and women. My thoughts also were on things or events that were common hobbies or pastimes of older people in my life.
In each mat, I incorporated very simple textiles that resonated with that theme. It might be a button, ribbon, elastic, ink stamp or embroidery. The back of the mats have an extra special embroidery done also so the mat is attractive from both sides. Also, working on one mat at a time instead of trying to do them all together made it more fun. Once I had one done to my satisfaction, I put it aside and when all four were complete, I delivered them to the facility. The smiles and thanks were like a breath of fresh air to me. I also brought several small tissue covers wrapped neatly in plastic baggies. They hold Bingo each week and said they would use them for the prizes. There are four slideshows below so you can see all of the pretties. I hope you have enjoyed this post and get inspired by it; share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work!
A rag quilt is a good beginner project if you are not too sure about your sewing skills or are learning a new machine. I decided to make this quilt using a layer cake of fabric.
This flannel bundle is 10 x 10 inches and includes 42 pieces of coordinated fabric. So everything already matches and if you don't want to do a lot of cutting, you can use the whole pieces.
If you take twenty pieces and lay them out on a table, you can play with the design. Once you have that figured out, take another twenty and place them behind the front pieces. make sure you put them wrong sides together.
Each fabric sandwich can be sewn together using an X pattern. This will "quilt" the fabric and keep it all together when you start sewing the blocks. A fabric marking pen can be used to draw the pattern on also so you can follow more easily.
We sewed one fabric sandwich at a time and used a small piece of sticky paper to mark the top. That way once it was sewn, we knew how to lay it back down and not mess up our pattern.
We also used masking tape to help number the squares. Small directional arrows were drawn on each one. This helped us keep everything in order while sewing. When you have all of these fabric patterns, it will ensure you sew on the right edge. If you want to leave the quilt set up for several days and work in small batches of time this method works great.
We used a one half inch seam allowance when we sewed our blocks together. Usually in quilting you use a 1/4 inch seam allowance, but we will be clipping along the raw edges, so a larger area is needed for stability.
We started with our first two blocks and sewed them right sides together. Then each block in the first row was done the same way.
You can see that with a rag quilt, there will be open seams on one side. This will be the RAGGY side.
Pins will help keep everything straight while you sew the blocks in each row together.
Here you can see that all of the blocks are sewn and now the rows can be connected. Also note that using a 1/2 inch seam allowance will take up a good bit of your fabric. So this quilt will wind up being perfect for a baby or for a lap quilt. About 36.5 X 45 inches
Here is our first two rows placed right sides together and pinned very well. The joins of the seams will be thick so use as many pins as you need. Also go a little slower over those areas.
Once all of the rows are sewn, your quilt will look something like this. You will want to sew a one half inch seam around the entire perimeter.
Now you are ready to clip all of the seams. We advise using a small pair of spring loaded shears. The clips are done about 1/2 inch apart. You may want to do a little bit, rest and then come back to it as this part gets a little tedious. Be careful not to cut into your seams.
If you wanted to say your rag quilt was finished you could at this point. If you want to add a pocket so it will fold into itself you will need a little bit extra fabric.
Our layer cake had 42 pieces and we used 40 of them for the rag quilt. So we took the last two pieces and added some bling.
Since this was a gift we personalized one piece of 15 x 17 inch fabric using a leftover square of fabric with a letter and name. Our embroidery software and embroidery machine made this happen but you could do any embellishment to personalize your quilt pocket.
We created another piece of 15 x 17 inch fabric with the last square from our layer cake and remnants. Each side will become a front and back to our pocket.
We placed both pieces right sides together, pinned and sewed around everything leaving a small opening. This way we could turn it easily.
We trimmed all of our corners, turned it and then ironed it very well. Also, we used a hand sewing needle to sew that opening closed. Now the pocket was ready to attach to the quilt.
We laid our pocket on the smooth side of the quilt. Notice, the appliqued side is facing down. This is because when the quilt is folded into the pocket, you want to see the applique. So if you are using a design, you may want to pin it first, and do a test fold before you actually sew. Also, notice we placed it inside the sewn seam and not right at the edge.
This shows that you want the pocket opening to face the length of the quilt. Once you have the three sides pinned, sew around them and make sure you really reinforce the top corners.
We used a 3/8 inch seam allowance when we top stitched the pocket on and here you can see that reinforced stitching.
This view shows the quilt front.
This shows the quilt back.
Before you use the quilt, it is a good idea to launder it. We used a large fluffy towel inside the washing machine. It helps with the agitation and will "RAG" all of the areas you have clipped. Also, the towel will grab many of the fibers that will loosen. Depending on your flannel, it may be quite a lot so we took ours outside and gave it a good shake before we dried it.
All you have to do now is fold it.
Here is a slideshow of folding your rag quilt quillow
We hoped you have enjoyed this post, share what you have learned and are generous with what you make. Someone will appreciate your hard work! Check out our video to watch the entire process below.
What a neat project I have for you today. I have been very busy creating lots of new embroidery designs and stitching them out. So busy in fact that I had to get a booth at our local flea market because my studio was getting way too full. Since it is that time of year when the Holidays are right around the corner, and it is always good to decorate retail spaces, I decided to do something fun.
This little fireplace and all of my decorations were quick and inexpensive to put together. I made the fireplace from cardboard and wrapped it in white paper. The brick background came from the Dollar Tree. It is a plastic wall panel that I folded in half and taped to the back of the fireplace.
The top of the plastic was wrapped in packing tape to stiffen it up and fishing twine secured it to the above rafters. The Grinch's dog "MAX" was just printed on computer paper. The Grinch was machine embroidered and then glued to the front of the cardboard. Grosgrain ribbon around the edges makes it look like a fireplace insert.
A small table was placed behind the fireplace so it would remain stable and I also put a couple of bricks inside of it just in case. Look at all of those embroidered bags hanging on the wall. There are also several vinyl projects, caps, tissue holders and my husband's handmade fishing lures. If you would like to see his handy work jump over to Cowboy Tackle.
The Grinch is actually an applique project. I used my multineedle machine because it has a large 12x12 hoop and I wanted to make it as big as I could. The design was digitized in the Wilcom Hatch program. I love that software so much. Each time I open it up, I learn something new and I am never disappointed.
If you would like to try this project, I digitized a smaller version that should fit into most 5x7 hoop sizes. I also have instructions that you can download to follow along with. Since the Grinch is trademarked this design will need to be used for personal projects only. It is very intensive with a lot of trimming but I know someone out there might love to put it on a pillow, purse or even a sweatshirt. The addition of text would be very cute also. I have several different machine file types in the zipped file and I hope you will be able to use one of them. Also check out my You tube video below showing each step.
I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you have learned and are generous with what you make. Someone will appreciate your hard work! Joyeux Noel!
Patches have kept me pretty busy this year. I have spent the better part of it educating myself on their design and construction. There is a lot of information out there and if you are not interested in sewing or embroidering them yourself, many commercial production houses are available. You do have the option of designing the patch and having them assist you in turning your artwork into stitches if you are not familiar with digitizing software. *Note* they will charge you a digitizing fee in addition to producing patches for you. Usually small changes like resizing and stitch out corrections are free. If you make larger changes, they will most likely charge extra fees which is understandable. So go into your collaboration with them once you have a specific design in mind to save time and money. I have used Hatch by Wilcom for all of my digitized designs. After trying several different brands of software, Hatch is by far the one I now use predominantly for all of my design work. My first patch was a re-branding for a local volunteer fire department. They approached me to assist them in creating a patch for their turnout gear.
They sent me some original artwork to work from and we tweaked it over a few weeks to come up with the finished patch. I also designed some alternate color combinations since they have different ranks in the department. The colors would help distinguish that. The gray and orange was the main patch and here is a gray subdued patch the officers chose.
Subdued Color Patch
I will advise you that if you are going to work with a fire department, you will need to research their equipment before you sew anything on them. Although they originally requested the patches for their turnout gear, we ultimately sewed the designs on caps and polo shirts for them because the gear needs to be fire rated including anything that is attached to it. There are fire resistant patch materials and threads that need to be used for that purpose. Also, there is a warranty that comes from the manufacturer of that gear and it can be voided if someone alters it who is not authorized by that manufacturer. So it is best to go through a company that does that as part of their regular services. These companies clean and inspect that turnout gear also to ensure the firemen are safe while going through their duties. You could still design the patch for them and have a production house sew it out for you then contract to have the fire rated patches sewn on. Just be very careful in altering any of their gear without first speaking to the manufacturer and make sure you use the fire rated materials or advise whoever is producing those patches for you to do so. In this case, the caps and shirts were a great way to help the department update their look.
Original Design and Patch Sewn Out
Another re-branding I worked on was for a local grocery store. Earlier this year, our area was hit very hard with tornadoes. This grocery store was forced to close for several months while re building. While their store was being brought back to life, I helped them come up with a new logo and then tried a few designs for patches on shirts.
I also worked on adding a vinyl application to T Shirts for their employees because they wanted something a little more casual. An extra "Lagniappe" bonus was this little headband for their daughter to wear for the Grand Reopening. Too cute.
Motorcycle groups are usually great admirers of patches and many collect them at every event or dealership they ride to. I worked with a small group to design a custom patch for a ride to Racine Wisconsin. They were attending an event and wanted to commemorate it. Although I didn't have any artwork for this design, I did have specific colors they wanted. I worked on the design and once they approved it went into full blown production.
I have played around with several different border design thicknesses as well as backings while embroidering patches. For me I found that on a free standing patch, going at least 3mm wide on the border helps to fully cover the edges of the material. You can go wider than that depending on the look you want to have. I tried both a mesh washaway stabilizer backing and a heavy duty plastic washaway. Both worked really well. Also, I found that stitching the design first, trimming away the excess material, re-hooping and then doing the border works quite well. It is a little more labor intensive but makes beautiful patches. In production houses, they use huge metal dies to cut the patches out after stitching and then they use merrowing machines to individually sew each patch border. The trick in using an embroidery machine is to mimic that merrowed edge. The next time you purchase a patch, please know that although small, there is a lot of love that goes into each one. Some of my designs also worked well to stitch completely with a single hooping if there was not a lot of dense stitching in the design. If there were too many stitches, by the time the border sewed out, the entire patch would be torn away defeating the purpose of the stabilizer. So the registration would be off on the design. You will want to do some trial and error with your designs if you want to try and get a complete patch sewn out in one hooping.
This design came to me from one of the motorcycle riders who is also a family member. They wanted to give this patch for Christmas. I worked on the design and it is probably the one I am am most proud of.
I made the patch as big as my largest hoop would sew out so it is about 10 3/4 inches wide. Just for informational purposes, this patch takes about 1.5 hours to stitch out because of the size. It is about 50 % to 60 % covered in stitches. The yellow background is actually fabric so that cuts down on the stitch time. So if you are thinking about producing patches as a profession and have a single head machine, each one will be time consuming even if you gang them up in one hooping. You may want to invest in either several machines or a multi head once you get up and going.The background fabric is a duck material which I have found is really great for patches. The cross weave is dense enough to hold all of the stitches and keep it's shape. It is also washable so depending on what they sew it on they should be able to launder. Another fabric on the market is called "twilly". It is similar to the duck fabric but has a diagonal twill weave with a ironed on backing that keeps the patch material stable while stitching. I have tried it also and it works well also but has a lighter feel than the duck. Felt is another fabric that many patches are made of. If you look in stores notice the edges are not always sewn with a border because the felt does not ravel. If using this material I would advise you to preshrink the felt before you stitch on it so your finished product can be laundered and it does not degrade your design with shrinkage or twisting. If you purchase felt from a hobby shop, you can't always determine the materials. A good practice would be to also stitch out a test patch and run it through your laundry just to see how it performs. This will help research any probable issues and it is fun to experiment with different fabrics and techniques.
Here it is on a jacket back. I think it looks really nice and that yellow color is just beautiful. If you do any designs like this one, be careful of any copyright issues or trademark infringements before designing and selling. When I digitized this patch, I did some research on the "Laughing Indian" just in case. I know the person I did the patch for is giving it as a gift and will not be reselling so I felt safe in using the original design for them. You could also get permission from the original artist if they are available to ask. A great place to research is the US Patent Office. You can search by keywords and see if something has been registered or even expired. There is usually information on who applied for the trademark which may make it easier for you to contact them. Not all designs are registered but still have trademark rights so keep that in mind also. Pretty interesting to read through the Patent site and with this design I would make contact with the Indian Motorcycle Manufacturer or Polaris if I wanted to make several of them to sell instead of one for a family member..
Here are just a few other original designs I am working on myself. Once you get started, it is kind of addictive with patches. Each one gives you the opportunity for a small piece of artwork. Then knowing that someone will think it's good enough to wear makes it really satisfying. Other advice I might tell you is to research whether you will need any kind of adhesives on the patch backs. All of the ones I have constructed were going to be sewn directly on garments or caps. There are many different ways to adhere the patches with irons or heat presses. You will want to ask about that if designing patches for someone because there are adhesives that are not meant to be sewed through. If you have a difficult item that can't be hooped and embroidered but can be ironed, a patch might be an alternative. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you have learned and are generous with what you make. Someone will appreciate your hard work.
We took a trip recently in our motorhome and noticed that the lining was beginning to tear on the privacy curtains. I had never really looked at the quality of the curtains, but the material used for the lining is actually not very sturdy. This wouldn't be a problem except the tears are very visible when you close the curtains and if you have ever stayed in an RV park, you know people like to walk at night and see each other's rigs. So this needed to be fixed or I knew it would bother me while on the road.
Once the curtains were taken down, I was able to see how difficult it would be to make the repairs. I really didn't want to take the entire seams apart. Here you can see the corner and when you look at them from the front, they are actually put together with what looks like a blind seam.
In addition to the inferior lining material and the blind hems, there is a trim that is used to hang the curtains. I didn't want to disturb this either. Looking at all of the materials, I was worried that using any kind of seam ripper might damage the curtains. I went through my stash and found a brand new set of twin sheets that I purchased at my local thrift store. The curtains were 54 inches by 36 inches each, so I would have more than enough fabric using the flat twin sheet.
After taking my measurements, I cut the curtains one inch wider all the way around. I will tell you that there was a slight curve to the curtains on the sides so if you do a project like this, give yourself some extra fabric. The travel of the curtains on the sliding system in our motorhome does curve so I expect this variance helps them hang better. You can always trim a little bit or take up your seams as you pin. I used my iron and seam press tool to do two 1/2 inch turns on all of the sides. I pinned them well and then laid the sheet and the curtain wrong sides together because once sewn, the right side is what you will see when the curtains are closed.
I worked around the curtains taking the pins from the ironed hem and transferring them to the curtains. You can see that I butted the lining right against the hemmed areas of the curtains. This also allowed me to adjust that ironed hem as I went around the perimeter.
Here is a view of the lining pinned and ready to sew. I knew that the seams were going to be visible unlike the existing blind hems.
An easy way to help hide them was by using a bobbin thread that matched the curtains. This way I could sew from the lining side and watch my seams, as well as hide the bottom thread as much as possible.
Here is a picture of the seam once completed. As you can see the bobbin thread matches the curtain material and unless you knew to look for it, the new lining fits well.
Here is a picture of one of the curtains hung in the motorhome and drawn.
Here is the other side. They hang just the same as they did before. The only exception is a slight pattern because of my fabric choice.
Here is a view of them from the outside. Now instead of torn linings, passersby will see beautiful fabric. I am going to also estimate that the weight of the sheet will help insulate much better than the factory material.
Here is one if the curtains pulled back. As you can see, the fabric lining doesn't impede the tieback or make it look bunched up at all.
So privacy has been restored. Now all we need is a road trip! I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you have learned and are generous with what you make. Someone will appreciate your hard work!
I have been working with my digitizing software this week working on some new techniques and I am so proud of how they turned out. I wanted to try my hand at Trapunto quilting on my embroidery machine. Most of the Trapunto work I have seen is done mainly with White fabric or some type of Satin so you can see the negative space clearly on the fabric. An extra layer of batting is used to make those areas very puffy.
Here is the work on my machine just after it has stitched out. Inspiration to design and sew for me more often than not happens one step at a time. I usually keep quite a stock of materials in my stash so I can work when I get an idea. That is what happened here. I wanted to do a design that leaned more toward a masculine feel. Once it was embroidered, the white fabric was contrary to the design and I love it.
I also challenged myself to use some of the trims I found in one of my fabric grab bags. Here you see just using a little bit makes all the difference. Layering is a wonderful trick and even in a small area it can make your work look luxurious.
So by now in this project I had pretty much decided to make a pillow, but not just any throw pillow. I thought a ring bearer pillow with a woodland theme would be very unique. Most of these little pillows are silky satin material with lace and wind up in a hope chest after a ceremony. I wanted to make something that would be loved by the wedding couple and hopefully used after the vows in their home. The addition of elastic will make it easier for the item to be held and not dropped by the ringbearer.
Here is a view of the finished back. I love that it is cotton batiste. The additional batting really makes it feel substantial. Of course the white color is traditional and very pretty but I wanted to see what another pillow would look like in a more vintage color scheme.
This one has a similar design with more detail stitching and a different trim. It is also a little smaller than the first pillow but with the addition of the extra embroidery, it still makes a statement. On both of the pillows, the addition of a blue ribbon will help cover the something "new and blue".
Elastic was added to this one also. There are many tutorials on the internet on how to tie the rings to the pillow so I simply tacked them to the front so the bows can be untied and used for that purpose.
An off white ring bearer pillow might not be traditional but I can imagine this fitting into a less formal affair or even a re-commitment ceremony. In our area, weddings held in barns and rural settings are very popular also.
These were so much fun to make and each one is unique. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you have learned and are generous with what you make. Someone will appreciate your hard work.
My latest project came about because the seasons are changing and it is time to pull out those in between clothing items. We have cool mornings and warmer afternoons. It makes it hard to judge what to wear. If you are like me, you probably have those few items in your closet that you will automatically go to because they either fit you well and they are most comfortable.
The gray shirt above is one of those for me and since I can't find it in the store, I figured I might be able to duplicate it. The floral shirt is just one of several I have been able to sew after drafting a pattern from the original shirt.
I used folding techniques, a couple of rulers and some brown paper to trace off the pattern.
I had fun shopping for several pretty fabrics and I didn't spend a lot of money either.
Here are a couple of pictures of me wearing my shirt.
I think it turned out really nice and it is so very comfortable!
Here is a picture of part of my drafted pattern. I think the secret to this one was I chose a very easy shirt to copy. If you are interested in the process, I have two you tube videos below you can watch. The first one goes over how I did the pattern and the second one shows me sewing the shirt with my serger and sewing machine. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you have learned and are generous with what you make. Someone will appreciate your hard work!
Recently I made the decision to upgrade my embroidery machine.
I have actually been researching different machines for about two years. Although I love my single needle machine, I have been fascinated with the thought of putting a design on and not having to sit to change the colors. Also, the idea of having a much larger sewing area is a great option to have.
So I made the decision to purchase the Happy 12 needle machine. It was based on a lot of good comments from the online forums as well as looking at how the machines are made and a lot of investigating at stores and conventions. The only concern I had was could I maintain a commercial machine. There is so much more to them than what I am used to with a home machine.
It has been a learning experience even with all of my research and my prior embroidery experience. I ordered the machine sight unseen and didn't have much trouble setting it up once it arrived in the crate. I can say the instructions that come with it are cumbersome and if you want to start embroidering right away, you may have better luck going to the location where you are purchasing and getting a crash course.
I put the machine on a cabinet from the hardware store so it would be nice and stable. If you are considering purchasing one, keep in mind that they are much taller than the home based machines.
This cabinet holds all of the hoops I have purchased so far really well and it is very sturdy although the machine does not move around as much as I thought it would.
There are a lot of tools to keep up with and maintenance procedures so make sure you really look into it before you make your final decision. As with most things in my studio, I want to know how they work so I don't have to depend on anyone unless I absolutely have to. With this machine, I did have problems getting the tensions set up right. I just could not get it together. Then one day it clicked after I had just about given up. If you are interested in seeing what I did to figure it out, I have uploaded a video to my youtube channel here.
I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you have learned and are generous with what you make. Someone will appreciate your hard work. If you are in the market for a multi needle machine, they are wonderful to sew on. Once you do your research, go for it. Happy sewing!
My latest project has truly been a labor of love. I brought two things together that make me very happy: sewing and French Bulldogs. If you have read any of my previous posts, you know that I am learning how to digitize in my embroidery software. Although it has been a journey, I think I am starting to see some success.
For these projects, I started with a picture of a French bulldog that I got from the internet. I made sure I used one that was free for use from the public domain. I pulled it into my software and hand digitized the image. If you have done any digitizing you know that any design can be challenging, but animals are unique because of their fur.
I did a second French bulldog that resembles Jean Luc. Once I had both dog images the way I liked them, I added other elements and text around.
I decided to embroider both designs on duck fabric. I was really pleased with how they turned out. In the digitizing, I wanted to see if I could reduce the amount of jump stitches and keep the density down so the sewn out designs would stay soft. It has become kind of like a game to see if you can retain the best qualities of the design while reducing stiches and time to complete.
I had some beautiful decorator weight fabric and ribbon that helped complete the pillow wraps. These are a really great way to change the look of a pillow for seasons.
I cut the decorator fabric about 2 inches larger than the embroidered front, tacked the ribbons to the front with a basting stitch and then wrapped the decorator fabric toward the front with a 1/2 inch bound edge mitering the corners. Then I sewed an overcast stitch all around the perimeter of the wrapped edge.
For a 14 inch square finished pillow wrap, the decorator fabric was cut 16 inches square. I also made sure that my ribbons would be long enough to go around larger pillows so each one of them was cut to 24 inches. That means the pillow wraps could also be used on a chair back.
This picture shows one of them on my sewing chair. This would be a great gift for someone in an office that wanted to have a little personalization. You could also use something like these on your dining chairs.
These pillow wraps were not difficult to put together and the possibilities are endless. With the decorator fabric on the back and the way the ribbons are sewn into the seams, they are completely reversible. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you have learned and are generous with what you make. Someone will appreciate your hard work.
Sometimes, you just want to sew with no plan in mind and see where it takes you. When I made this shamrock block, I wasn't sure what the finished product might be but I really enjoyed the process.
One of my new tools in my studio is an electronic cutter. I had some glitter Heat Transfer Vinyl and I thought a shamrock would be an easy object to cut out with it. I used my cutter software and my embroidery software to create the cutting line as well as the placement line so I could applique the vinyl to a piece of denim.
If you are thinking about purchasing an electronic cutter or if you already have one but are afraid to use it, take a close look at the text. That is not embroidery. It is the fabric background from the text being cut from the vinyl. This is so precise if you have a good blade and all of the correct settings. Once I had it cut out, I embroidered a placement line, put it exactly where I wanted on the fabric and then tacked it down with a zig-zag stitch. A warm iron applied on the vinyl secured it to the fabric and finally the outline stitched around the shamrock. At this point it looked so pretty I knew I wanted to make something that could be displayed.
So I went into my fabric stash and found the floral quilting print. I recently attended a seminar at my local quilt shop and the floral was part of a free sample. I only had one piece so I knew I had to do something on the small side. I cut the center fabric to 8 x 8 inches. Then I cut four 2x2 squares for the corners and four 2X8 pieces of the floral.
I pieced everything together and ironed the seams.
Next I added a piece of quilt batting behind the pieced front and started playing with several stitches on my machine.
I lowered the feed dogs and did some free motion stippling
I tried a decorative stitch along all four sides and also quilted in the ditch.
I used heavy duty interfacing and made a couple of tabs so I could hang it like a sign. My sewing machine has a decorative stitch that sews a circle. This was perfect to pass some organza ribbon though.
I used the remainder of the floral print for the back without any quilting. So it was a simple sew around three sides turn and then topstitch the perimeter.
This was a very relaxing way to bring a project together. I just kind of played with materials I had on hand and I used the tools in my studio.
I hope you have enjoyed this post and that it inspires you to sew for relaxation once in a while. Share what you have learned and be generous with what you make. Someone will appreciate your hard work.
We have a new furry buddy "Rambo" and he likes to chew and drag everything. So much that he has already gone through two beds. Luckily they were older beds that we had already. Instead of purchasing a new bed, we decided to make one that wouldn't be a great loss if it too went to the trash.
Here he is enjoying the new bed. The project was very easy and the addition of elastic helps keep it looking neat while hopefully deterring him from pulling the pillows out.
He really was excited to have a new place to call his own and so far it is working out great.
Of course we made one for Jean Luc as well. He looks so content here. If you are interested in making a pet pillow, download the pattern below. We hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you have learned and are generous with what you make. Someone will appreciate your hard work!
A tissue box cover is one of my absolute favorite things to sew and then give away. They are really easy because all of the fabric cuts are rectangles. If you can sew a straight line, you should be able to create as many different varieties you want. There are many patterns on the internet. I decided to add pockets to my cover because I always seem to have small items near my bed or couch. I thought the pockets would be a great way to keep up with small things. If you move your box of tissues to another room, all of your stuff moves with it!
I designed this one for one of my favorite people and as you can see they live in Louisiana. So an applique with the state was a great way to personalize. These covers would be an awesome gift for any time of year. You could use the seasons, hobbies, monograms or professions. I mean really the possibilities are endless. Tissues are kind of universal.
I have a download below with the measurements and several color photos showing my process. The seam allowance is an exact 1/4 inch. That is the only thing that I would advise you to stick to. When you make your cuts, anything more and the cover probably won't slide on the box. You may want to measure your brand of tissue and make sure the measurements will work for you just in case. I tend to buy whatever brand is on sale and haven't had any issues but you never know.
My receiver had a little extra "Lagniappe" tissue holder. I sewed a quick personal cover that they can either keep in a separate area of their home or in their car. I used the flannel material from the applique for the inside of the cover. Like I said this is a wonderful universal gift. They don't take long to sew either. If you are looking for a project to donate to your local retirement homes this would be fantastic. Also, your dentist, veterinarian, doctor, hairdresser etc would love to have something like this. If you have embroidery software and can personalize for their business, they will be thrilled.
I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you have learned and are generous with what you make. Someone will appreciate your hard work!
If you are a crafter, you are probably like me always on the hunt for free projects. I use fiberfill all of the time and there is a pattern on the back of the Poly-fil bags. As you can see from the photo above, it is a stuffed elephant. I was curious to see how it would turn out.
It was an easy project and could be completed within a couple of hours.
I decided to make three elephants. They were going to be a gift for three different children in the same household, so I made them exactly the same. You could do a monogram on the rump area which would be very sweet.
I also chose to use two different fabrics. Convertible toys are a unique gift item and will add to the imaginative play.
The original pattern did not include a tail, but I thought it would be an easy addition by using ribbon and yarn. You can really customize these as much as you want. The eye for my elephants was done with an embroidery machine. You could hand embroider or use buttons, ribbon or paint. Just be mindful of the receiver and be safe with things that might be a choke hazard.
The Poly-fil brand is very common and I use it a lot because it is the brand my local stores carry(*No affiliation*). They also have a website that has many more project ideas. You can click here to be redirected. I have a download below with more detailed instructions than what are printed on the bags. There are color pictures and my process. I also have a download below for the embroidery file of the eye. This was digitized by me and you are free to use it for any projects. There should be several different file types in the zipped file so I am hoping you will be able to use it on any embroidery machine with a 4x4 hoop size. If you use the file for any projects, I'd love to hear about it. Let me know through the comments below or on my contact page. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you have learned and are generous with what you make. Someone will appreciate your hard work.
Cords for electronic devices are just a fact of life. I always seem to have some kind of bag, purse, or backpack with me and my cords were becoming quite messy. I was beginning to worry about the wires becoming frayed so I knew I needed to sew some kind of keeper for them. Although you can find other patterns for these on the internet, I wanted to customize mine with the device that each one belonged with so I used my embroidery machine.
I used very little fabric and was able to make four in just a couple of hours. I did use canvas for the outside and soft flannel for the inside. My thoughts were the flannel might protect the cords from friction and excessive wear.
I love everything about these, especially the cheerful color combination. They have also made it easier to find the specific cord if they wind up in the bottom of my bag. So I went from a tangled mess.....
To a much better alternative.
There is a link below to my process and it is very simple. If you don't have an embroidery machine, you could still sew several of these and decorate with applique or puffy paint. Using different ribbon or buttons would also be a great way to tell the keepers apart for specific devices. These would be a most welcome gift to sew for birthdays or Christmas. I have not seen anything like these in my local stores so it would be something unique.
I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you make. Someone will appreciate your hard work.
This post is a follow up to my remnant worksheet blog. I thought as long as I showed you some great deals on remnant pieces, I could also tell you about fabric store grab bags. As you can see from the picture, This bag is about the same size as a quart zipper baggie. I paid $5.00 and rolled the dice when I got it because there were so many trimmings stuffed inside, I couldn't really tell what I would wind up with.
Here is a close up. Can you see any good items in there? Let's open it together.
Well immediately, I have already made my money back on this purchase. There were two brand new packages of lace and chenille trim. The only thing wrong with them is the packaging. So if they don't look pretty on the shelf, they may wind up in a grab bag. As you can see from the price, just one of them is regularly $2.99. I am feeling pretty confident now. Everything else will be bonus treasure after this.
Fabric remnants were included
About a yard of hook and loop tape and some cording will come in handy.
Beautiful eyelet trims
Lace, lace and more lace!!
Pearls, crystals and decorator trims
So many possibilities with these wonderful trimmings! If you are wondering what can be done with them, just use your imagination. They are all end pieces or left overs, but I bet you can think of something a small piece of lace would work on. Perhaps a T shirt pocket or inserted into a too low V neck? Purses and bags can always use additions. What about hair accessories or socks? Handmade belts and choker necklaces. Anything that has a small pocket or diameter would be a possibility. Doll clothing is another great way to use smaller pieces.
Have I convinced you to look for these grab bags? You may have to dig around for them. Most of the time they wind up underneath all of the other clearance items and because they look so messy in the bags, most people don't want to take a chance. You can see that when they are laid out, $5.00 was an excellent investment. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you have learned and are generous with what you make. Someone will appreciate your hard work!
Are you a person that loves to look for discounts or coupons? If you currently sew or are thinking about starting you may be hesitant because fabric can be expensive. When I talk to most people about my sewing hobby, I usually get a similar response. "I'd love to sew but I can buy it cheaper already made at XYZ store." You can fill in the blank for any big box location and that will be mostly true. If you truly love something you will find a way. Most of my sewing projects involve using remnants. These are small end pieces or precuts that are too short to go back on a bolt. They are usually rolled up and put in a separate section of the store with some kind of discounted price.
Warning! They are Addictive.......
As you can see from the picture, this remnant is 44 inches wide and regularly sells for $6.99 a yard. The quantity of this piece is 5/8 of a yard.
Now look at the new price. It is $2.62. You might ask, but is that really on sale or if it is cheaper, exactly how much? The fractions make it hard to work out because of the conversion from inches to yards and price per yard. I can help you figure that out with a new Excel spreadsheet you can download below. I was curious because I buy my fabric when seasons change, holidays are over and also when I find great remnants that I know from my sewing habits I will eventually use. I just store them in my studio until inspiration hits. I keep them in fabric baskets divided by fabric type and color. This way they are always neat and accessible. In my mind I knew I was getting a better deal but to see it in black and white really makes me feel better about purchasing something I don't need but want.
Here is a screenshot of the spreadsheet. It is free to download and use. I'll go through how you fill it out but it also has comments in the cells so it is pretty easy.
Let's see how much cheaper this remnant actually was when I purchased it.
Enter the normal full price first
Enter the discounted price
If the remnant has the yardage written as a fraction, enter the top number here
Enter the bottom here.
The worksheet will calculate the inches for you and round it up just a bit.
Take that number and use the pick list to choose the inch number. Some remnants may just have those inches written on them so you won't need to convert from a fraction first.
Once you hit enter, it will show you how much you are saving with the quantity you are buying to include the percentage.
I saved $1.85 or 41% on that remnant!
Some have even better savings like this sateen. I saved 64%.
This piece was a full yard of fabric that was in the remnant section so a great find! If you want to figure that, just enter a 1 in both places on the yardage calculator since it was a full 36 inches. I saved 64% on this piece also. This spreadsheet is a lot of fun to play with and if you have an Office Excel App on your cell phone, you could download and do some calculations while in the store. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you have learned and are generous with what you make. Someone will appreciate your hard work! Happy Sewing Savings!
Football season is upon us and in our state, it is a favorite pastime. I had some remnants of quilted muslin which I really love to sew with. Whenever I visit my local fabric store, I am always on the lookout for it. If they have any, I grab and stash for future projects. Using this fabric for the Football Season Pillow was very easy. I cut two 12 inch squares and then embroidered the football and the saying on the front of one fabric piece. Then I put the two squares right sides together sewed around four sides leaving a space to turn. Fiberfill helped fluff it up and I hand sewed the pillow closed.
Here it is about to be wrapped up for a door prize. If you are attending a tailgate party, something like this pillow would be a great last minute hostess gift also. The best part about it is if you don't make it team specific, anyone who receives it can enjoy. As it turns out the person that won this at our gathering absolutely loved it and said she knew exactly the spot in her home it would be decorating. Sometimes, simple really is the best kind of gift! I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you make. Someone will appreciate your hard work!
Dollar Stores are fun places to browse. I love my local spots and frequent them often. It is hard to pass up things that have bright colors and are inexpensive. I look for things that can be embellished with personalized embroidery. If I can alter something to give it a new purpose or look, it makes the creative process even more satisfying.
The friend I made these items for absolutely loves to be in her kitchen. Blue is her favorite color and she loves the beach. So when I saw these bright blue potholders and the tropical towel, I knew I had to come up with something cute for her.
I was lucky to have a dish drying mat in my stash that matched the towel perfectly so I incorporated it.
The entire gift came together nicely and she absolutely loved it. I have a video on my you tube channel showing the process. You can watch it here.
Personalization is always a great choice for gifts. I really love to create special items for people that would be difficult to find in retail stores. When their name is on the gift, it shows the receiver you went that extra step. It doesn't have to be fancy. The little burlap sign above is made entirely with remnants. Burlap is a homey textile and the family this was designed for loves that style of decorating.
The embroidery is a combination of a purchased design and software creation. Red canvas material really makes it stand out while muslin gives it a solid background to frame the design. Layering fabrics and trims helps to give the sign a more substantial look.
The best part is seeing the sign in the home of this wonderful family. They really loved it. If you would like to see my process for sewing this sign, there is a download below. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you make. Someone will appreciate your hard work!
There is always a need for homemade items where commercial markets may leave a gap. I am constantly looking for things that are easy to sew or construct and useful. If you have read any of my other posts, you can see that I am fond of dish drying mats. They are usually made of forgiving materials and can be transformed quickly. I have read many blogs about Blankets or mats for Alzheimer's or dementia patients. The idea behind these is to stimulate the reflexes and keep idle hands busy as people with these ailments fidget and repetitively work things they can grasp.
I thought the dish drying mats would be a great thing to use because most of the work is done on the material. They are like a blank cushy canvas. I wanted to have a very soft back on my mats in the event they were placed on a lap or hugged to someone's body.
I used fleece cut slightly larger than the mats and sewed it right sides facing around the perimeter, then turned right side out and closed up the seam. This made for a larger finished size and also allowed me to do all of the decorating on the mat enclosing the unsightly seams inside once complete.
If you have small scraps or leftover ends and pieces of lace, elastic and ribbon, you can have a lot of fun with these. I also used some rubber stamps and heat set ink to do small details like the little pillow above. Buttons, beads, Ric Rac can also be used. The most important thing I did was use industrial strength thread like you might use for upholstery. I also made sure to use an anchor button on the back of all buttons that could be manipulated on the front. This should help with aggressive twisting.
Small pieces of hook and loop tape, will provide a wonderful sensory experience.
Little plastic pockets can hold pictures of family members and be changed out.
Fussy cutting material that has themes like this recipe will stimulate reading or memories of cooking
Zippers and ribbon can be sewn directly on top of the mat using decorative stitches.
Appliqued fabric shapes and different stitches will help imaginations go to work.
Beads and buttons can be moved back and forth across ribbon or twine.
Sweet pieces of lace can be held and admired.
This mat even has two bows that can be used to attach the mat to wheelchairs or the arms of a sitting chair.
Here is another color combination with more ideas. It is really up to your imagination and creativity what you decide to add to these mats. There is a gallery below with more pictures to inspire you. If you have small scraps, don't throw them out. We used several embroidered items that were on other projects but had to be cut apart because of mistakes. Everything is a possibility. For a minimal investment, you can create something that will be helpful for the patient and it may also assist the caregiver as it will help comfort the loved one they are watching over. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you have learned and are generous with what you make. Someone will appreciate your hard work
What is a Lagniappe Peddler?
ˌlanˈyap,ˈlanˌyap - something given as a bonus or extra gift