I love to look at patterns and if they are on sale, I tend to pick them up for future projects. The Simplicity Pattern 2300 has several different bags that can be hung on a personal walker. I decided I wanted to try version C that you see in the bottom picture.
I work better on projects if I have a special person in mind that will be the receiver. This one is really meaningful for me because I hope it will help the person it is intended for. She is very independent and although she has a debilitating illness, still takes care of herself and lives alone. She also uses public transportation to do all of her shopping and make hair and doctor appointments. Currently she is using a self fashioned bag that is functioning, but I hope this will make it easier to secure her personal items safely.
I liked this particular bag because it calls for double sided pre-quilted fabric. That means it does not need to be interfaced to add stability. The amount of fabric required is 7/8 of a yard. This is perfect for me because I tend to purchase remnants and once I went through my stash, I found a beautiful piece of fabric seen above. I did need to quilt it before I could cut out the pattern.
I chose a deep brown color for the back of the fabric as the darker color should help hide any stains. Here you see the natural cotton batting I used.
I laid out a 2 inch grid with my large ruler and Frixion pen then used safety pins to hold all of the layers together. My machine has a walking foot and this made the quilting go very well with minimal shifting. The printed fabric I worked with was almost too small and I had to plan economically to use every part as the fabric is directional.
I also used two different color threads for the quilting so they would match the top and bottom fabric.
Here is the fabric all quilted and trimmed so I could see exactly where I could place my pattern pieces. This would have made a beautiful lap blanket also. Creating your own custom quilted fabric is very rewarding.
The frixion pen is easily removed with a hot iron.
So after all of my careful planning, I was able to get my pieces cut out and this was the amount of fabric left over. The pattern has only six pieces and they are easy to cut out. Other items I needed were a package of double folded bias tape, 3/4 yard hook and loop tape and 3/8 yard 1/4" elastic.
Here is the organizer after I had sewn the pockets and front and back together. Some of the things I would advise anyone sewing this particular pattern are: Read the instructions carefully before you begin. The cutting layout does have a couple of interesting things to note. The front and back as well as the tabs that hang the bag are laid right sides together when you cut them and the pattern piece is placed right side up on the WRONG side of the fabric. Sound confusing? It did to me too and I had to make sure I read that several times so really look at the Cutting layouts notes section. Another thing that may confuse you is some of the sewing directions are not listed under the part of the instructions as you work through the pattern. It will state "Apply binding" instead of showing pictures in the instructions. You have to refer to the Sewing instructions section and look up "Apply Binding" to get details. I assume this was done to save double printing the instructions for the other bags in the pattern.
Another thing I would advise is to make sure you really pay attention to the markings on the pattern pieces and transfer them to the fabric. I used my frixion pen to mark the pocket, velcro and tab placements. The outside phone and water bottle pockets are sewn on first. The middle pocket is sewn on top of these and hides unfinished areas of those outside pockets. There is a small amount of hand sewing required also. Here you see the red clips at the top of the organizer. The front and back are sewn around and then turned with an opening to be closed with needle and thread.
The tabs are the last two things that are attached to the organizer and because of the pockets on the front, they have to be hand sewn. The instructions are a little vague as they just say hand sew. I decided to use a ladder stitch and go around the three sides connected to the bag.
Then I sewed the top of the bag to the back side of the tab using the same ladder stitch.
There were of course some things that I had to figure out because I had never seen them before. One in particular is the binding. The instructions call for you to open the double fold binding and trim along the fold. There are some pictures and they do help. I tend to use the finished pictures to help me complete projects, but the cover photo does not show binding in a different color so this was one thing I had to trust I was doing correctly. The trimming of the binding reduced bulk but left the second fold so you could wrap it around.
The binding is used to create a casing for the elastic on the water bottle pocket. I think I assumed the casing would be part of the quilted material when I first began the project, but the binding is a better way to make a lighter casing and once I figured it out, I now have a new technique in my sewing arsenal. Isn't that usually how it goes? Those things that are hardest or confusing usually wind up being some of our go to things.
The velcro went on easy because I used those markings from the pattern so again, make sure you take the time to transfer everything over. The pockets did have some first time elements also for me. They are actually formed first and have some darts in them to help give volume. When you sew the outer ones on, one side that will remain visible is turned under and attached while the other is left raw because it will be covered by this middle pocket. The instructions state to baste the raw edges and I would not skip that. I know a lot of people want to move through a project quickly but that quilted material is thick and will shift. So make sure you do baste when it states to.
The last thing I would advise you to do is make sure you are using larger needles. One layer of quilted fabric is thick but there are areas when you are sewing the front and back together that you will have three to four layers of material. I started with a denim needle and did have one break. I wound up using a heavy duty 110/18 needle to finish the organizer. So maybe buy a new pack of needles and take it slow when you are sewing. I also lengthened my stitch from a 2.5 to a 3.0 and just moved patiently through the project so my machine could do it's work. My iron and pressing station were used throughout also to make sure that quilted material did not shift and was as neat as possible.
So here is the finished organizer ready to ship to my special friend. It took me two sewing sessions to complete it. If I had started with ready made quilted material, I believe I could have finished this project in one day or roughly eight hours of layout, cutting and sewing. I would not say this is a beginner project because of the type material. It does get thick and you do have to manipulate it. A beginner might not know to use all of the markings and the pockets with the darts are a little fiddly to attach to the bag. I would say a couple of easy bag projects with flat pockets might be good to practice on before mastering this pattern. It did turn out beautifully, I learned some new techniques and look forward to trying the other bags available in the pattern. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work.
My family just shake their heads at me when I wash out plastic containers. They don't even ask any more if I want to save unique packaging. Sometimes I don't have a problem discarding them but when we finished off a container of Cheeseballs recently, the tub was so big and sturdy, I had to come up with something I could re-purpose it for. So it sat on my studio table for a couple of days while I pondered. The hardest part was singling out where I could most use it. Right now as the seasons have changed, my yard is getting bare and I always feed the birds. That was my light bulb moment.
If you are interested in the brand cheeseballs, the picture above might look familiar. I could have just used the container to store my bird seed as is. If you have one in your pantry, don't throw it out. These have a wide opening perfect to reach into. I think you could come up with a multitude of uses in your house.
I digitized a really simple embroidery design for the project and used an old pair of blue jeans that I cut apart. So my project was Upcycled and Recycled! The design can be found here in my store. Cutting the jeans apart meant I did have to piece all of the fabric together and there were seams. I don't mind that but you might want to use a large piece of fabric instead. I think a canvas drop cloth would be excellent also.
I wanted my cover to fit snugly around the container, have a handle, a pocket and an open bottom. Since it would be made of fabric, I didn't want it to get too dirty as I carried it around my yard refilling my bird feeders. In the picture above, I sewed the cover so it comes just above the bottom edge. That way it still sits on plastic. I am not worried about the cover slipping off because I made sure the elastic is good and tight. Using the denim also helps stabilize the fabric and it is really sturdy. You could of course add a bottom very easily or sew a few strips of belting to enclose the cover.
The pocket is very spacious and covers most of the front. My thought was I might need to carry some tools to clean out old birdseed or maybe a funnel. I added tucks on the bottom and elastic to it can hold larger items very easily. This is where I embroidered the cute design also.
When I cut the jeans apart, I kept all of the seams and used them for the handle. I just braided them together and sewed them flat to either side of the cover. Then I trimmed them straight across so they would look neat.
The top and bottom include a casing so elastic could be pulled through. This makes the cover stay snug against the cover. It is very forgiving also since the cover has a lot of different dips and valleys. I will tell you that depending on the type fabric you use, this may differ. My denim was very thick and I did use a large needle for sewing leather. I had some areas that also required some hand stitches just to secure. This was usually where I double folded the casings and seams met together.
So now I have an excellent "upcycled tool" that will be useful to carry around my yard while I refill my feeders. I can also be assured when I store any leftover seed, the critters that might be looking for the buffet won't have such an easy time. If I store seed in the bag it usually comes in, I will more than likely find evidence that my shed has had "visitors"
I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work
I love to re purpose something. If you have read my blog posts, you will see that I do have a hard time throwing anything away. I keep a stash of items stored in my craft room and it does tend to grow out of hand so I am continuously working on projects. My newest project has upcycling, sewing, quilting and embroidery all wrapped up. I purchased some flannel sheets last year from Wal*Mart in the buffalo check pattern. When you buy those sheets they will usually come enclosed in a boxy fabric zippered bag. Don't throw these out! You can use them for so many projects.
Here you see the outside bag with an added handle, cute embroidery and a pocket. The sheep is an applique design with chalkboard fabric. You can officially write in how many "Sheeps" until Christmas Morning on his body. The Text also lets you know that Santa Claus is watching "EWE" I took the original bag apart and drafted a pattern from it so I could make a lining. The lining was quilted so once I installed it , the structure of the bag would be more stable and stand up. I also used cutaway stabilizer in the pocket so it would help the bag stand up better.
When I was planning the project, my thought for a final use would be a pajama bag for kids. Holiday pajamas are really popular and instead of them winding up on the floor, a bag like this would be a great place for them to be stored. It could sit on the bed and also allow for interaction with counting those precious days away. The pocket can hold chalk and erasers. This would make such a cute bag to carry to grandma's house. The set of sheets that I purchased was a Queen size. I do have a generic drawing of the pattern with measurements I drafted so you can try this also. Just know that each set of sheets may come with a different size bag so measure your project accordingly. Look for the pattern download below.
Both Embroidery patterns are available in my store here. They come bundled together so you can embellish any project you want for the holidays!
I also did a You tube video showing my process. It is the complete bag from start to finish so grab a cup of coffee and enjoy watching below. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work!
I recently purchased several pairs of pants and when I tried them on in the dressing room, I thought they were perfect. They have large flat pockets on the back and front, lightweight fabric and tapered legs. They also have a long stride which I tend to like and is sometimes hard to come by.
I was disappointed after the first time I wore them because as the day goes on, they tend to start to droop in the rear area. I even had someone comment that I needed to get a smaller size. That wouldn't work for me because the waist actually fits in the morning and a smaller size would be too tight. I hate to think I have to start out uncomfortable in the morning and wait until the afternoon to feel better. A tight pair of pants is just about as annoying as anything because it is all you can concentrate on.
This shows the difference between one pair that has added elastic and one that does not. You can see that the pair showing the tag looks like the back of the pants is taller than the front. This is why they started to slide down in the afternoon after I wore them for a while. The other pair with the elastic looks like the waistband is the same on the front and back. Let me show you how easy it was to make this adjustment. I have several slideshows that will take you through the steps below.
Now the pants look like this when they are not being worn, but they stretch very gently when I put them on. The four inches of elastic stretched to the six inch markings provides just enough coverage to keep the pants from looking twisted. It also creates a much nicer silhouette when I wear them and pulls that extra fabric in the rear up. The stitching is not easy to see since I used narrow elastic and matching bobbin thread. Instead of being uncomfortable by the end of the day and having the stride in these pants falling down, I should be able to feel confident in wearing them. Maybe this has inspired you to try to do a simple alteration on a pair of pants you own. By the way, if it doesn't work, cut up those pants for another project or donate them. If they are not truly what you love, why would you want to keep wearing them and feeling miserable? I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work.
In my last blog post, I mentioned that I had been working on my unfinished projects. Here is another one that I really enjoyed. I receive emails from many suppliers and vendors and they always have fun and unique projects. This was one that I have kept in mind since last January. When I see something that looks promising, I usually print it off and file it in a binder so I can thumb through it later for inspiration. This is kind of like looking at the pattern books in the sewing department which by the way is another favorite pastime of mine.
My inspiration came when I found these blankets on sale. I could not pass up this deal because just look at that amount of fabric! If I purchased this off the bolt it would be quite a bit more! Blankets and sheets are a wonderful way to get lots of fabric for a minimum price. I purchased three of these Extra Long twin sizes so I had a lot to play with.
The project I had in mind was this cozy wrap from the Brother site. You can visit it here to download all of the details.
The wraps use the width of fabric which is 66 inches on the blankets. The length of the wraps I sewed were 20 inches. So I actually got four out of each one with fabric to spare. That figures roughly to .75 cents cost for each. How can you go wrong there? I just can't pass up a great deal... and ones like this allow me to enjoy being creative and pass along some good will.
The pattern will tell you all of the settings for your sewing machine and take you through sewing a blanket stitch around the edges.
Rounding off your corners
Adding pockets too which by the way are the perfect size for glasses or phones. Nice and deep. I digitized this little design to applique onto each one of my pockets.
One extra step I did was to add snaps above the pocket. This way the wrap would stay in place if the wearer moved around.
If you decided to sew some of these cozy wraps, you could finish them really quickly. It is mostly straight stitching and the fabric is very friendly. Now comes the fun part of delivering them. Just a few ideas would be to your local retirement home, or cancer treatment facility. Other places might be your local fire or police department. They always have a need to keep people warm. One final idea is to your local center for abused women and children. These wraps are so comforting and feel just like a hug. Everybody needs a hug once in a while! I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work!
I have been doing a lot of sewing projects. This time of year really makes me want to be creative and instead of solely working on embroidery digitizing, I have been catching up on all of my unfinished projects. This is one that I have wanted to try for quite a while. I am a member of the American Sewing Guild and they have wonderful projects on their site.
Here is the view of the pattern from their site. As you can see it states it should take roughly 10 minutes and it does. I had some pre-cut fat quarters that I used by seaming them together for the back. The pattern calls for a theme print for the front, but I wanted to showcase one of my newest embroidery designs so I used a small print fabric for that.
Here are the fabrics laid out as I was auditioning them. This is one of my favorite parts in the sewing process. I keep quite a stash of fabric and when I have the urge to sew something, I can choose without having to drive to the store. I like to purchase seasonal pieces like this after the holiday has passed. Then I get a great deal. For some reason, if I have to go somewhere I might lose my creative urge so having that stash makes me feel more relaxed and able to just move forward with whatever I want to work on.
When I digitized this design, I thought it would be perfect for a table runner. Now I have something beautiful to decorate with when that holiday comes. If you are interested in sewing one of these table runners click the link here to go to the American Sewing Guild Site. Visit our Seasonal Design page to see this design and many others. I have also created a You tube video showing how to sew the table runner. The pattern has mostly written instructions with a few pictures. If you are just starting to sew, the video may help with any confusing parts. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work!
My latest design collection is being released today and all I can say is I know you will love it. There are twelve different embroidery designs that are included in the download. Two of those designs are appliques. The other designs are all thread based. The little bear shows you each part of his school day from the early morning until the school bus takes him home! I digitized these so anyone with an embroidery machine should be able to stitch them out as they use 4x4 hoops. The best part is a BONUS soft book pattern will be included in your download items! You will need a sewing machine to finish the soft book but it is an easy project. If you have 1/2 yard of fabric and a few scraps for the appliques, you are ready to go. A grosgrain ribbon ties into a cute bow to keep the pages together.
So the little bear arrives at school; Hears the bell ring, Says the Pledge of Allegiance; Has circle time; Does art projects; Goes to the potty; Reads in the library; Has lunch in the cafeteria; Plays at recess; Takes a nap; Eats a snack; and Rides the bus home. Whew! That is a busy day for a little person! I am tired already!
This project would be very sweet to personalize with your child to remember their early school days. If you have a special teacher in your life, they might love to have one of the soft books in their classroom to help the students learn about their day. It would also be great to prepare young children for what they can expect when they are getting ready to begin school. There is ample room above and below each embroidery design in the soft book to write your child's story! Just use a fabric marker and heat set it. Jump over to my store here to see the collection.
I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you have learned and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work!
I love a recycling project and this one is pretty cool. I don't know what it is about hanging on to bent pins and needles, but it seems like a common thing in a craft room. I guess it might happen because we get in a rush while working or we don't really want to put those sharp little items in our trash. That is very dangerous to think about. When you empty your bin, you run the risk of poking yourself.
I have actually had this little project on my sewing desk for a couple of years and it occurred to me that I use it on a weekly basis so I wanted to share it with you. It created a place for me to put those pins and needles from all of my machines. Since I have orders for commercial work, I do have to change out my multi needle machine needles frequently. When that happens, I pop them into the bottle and don't think about them again until it is full.
The next time I visit my doctor's office or know I will be shopping in a store that has one of these SHARPS containers in the restroom, I just carry my bottle with me. Then I can dispose of the items in the proper receptacle.
This project comes together fast and I know it would be awesome as a stocking stuffer or gift for someone that loves to sew. We are always looking for cute things to hold our tools. This design is in my store here. You can also watch a video showing how everything is sewn and finished below. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work!
My husband reminded me yesterday about a very simple project I did for him. I didn't realize how much he liked this hanging towel until he mentioned it to me. I have made several hanging towel versions for him and each one hangs a different way because he uses them in different places. This particular one is for his boat rails.
This version is shorter when it hangs up but it is also much more substantial than one that is clipped on from the corner. He says that while fishing, it stays on his rail very well and the folds make it thicker for easy wiping.
All you need is a hand towel that is longer than it is wide and some leftover Velcro. Here we have a piece about four inches long.
I usually fold the towel into the middle and place the Velcro a distance apart for the area he will be hanging it from. So make sure you measure before sewing just to be sure it will fit.
I use a matching bobbin because you will be sewing from the back and that thread will be seen on the front of the towel. The pile will help hide it but you want to match it as best as you can.
Also, lengthen your machine stitches a bit. I used a 3.5 mm length because my towel and Velcro were thick. You can see that the stitching will sew the towel together. This helps it stay very neat while hanging and the folded areas make it quite sturdy.
Here it is hanging on a Day Cooler. Can you see yourself using a towel like this for picnics, fishing and camping trips or those ball games? I think a golfer and motorcycle enthusiast would love them also. I have a short video below showing all of the steps so that you can make your own Easy Athletic Hanging Towel. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work!
Lining up Multiple Embroidery Designs for a project can be frustrating. When I first began doing machine embroidery, I wasn't sure how to accomplish it and my designs didn't always come out the way I planned. Now I still have boo boos; but if I follow these tips, I seem to have better results.
The first thing I do is print my designs at a one to one scale. If you are using embroidery Software, you should be able to print directly from your designs. All of our designs include a Design sheet which should print the size of the completed stitch out. There will be grid lines at the middle to help you line everything up. Here you can see we used some tape to put the designs together.
I always press my fabric. Sometimes I will also starch it depending on what type I am using and the design. For this demonstration I picked one of the hardest types to show you the process. This is T Shirt Knit material. It is stretchy and rolls quite a bit.
Instead of trying to lay my stabilizer down over the hoop and then the fabric, I sprayed some adhesive right on the stabilizer. Then I smoothed the fabric directly to it. This makes it more like one piece and will be much easier to get in the hoop. It also keeps the knit from stretching out.
I use rulers and chalk markers to find the vertical placement middle
Then I do the same for the horizontal.
You can see here that the printed designs have lines through the middle that you can carry out to the edges. This makes it easy to know exactly where you want to put the hoop.
Once you have your lines drawn, you can use the hoop itself to make sure you have the fabric straight.
I usually start stitching my designs in the middle position and then move to each side. You can see here that everything lined up exactly where I wanted it to by using those grid lines.
I finished up my designs by making a standard pillowcase. If you take your time, you should have no trouble lining everything up. As you can see, even this very stretchy knit fabric came out really nice. I have a Youtube video you can watch below showing more detail. If you are interested in the designs, you can check them out on our patriotic store area here. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work!
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.
This project shows you the possibilities of using this awesome program! I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create! Someone will appreciate your hard work! Joyeaux 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.
Lagniappe Peddler believes that the process of working with our hands can be one of the best forms of healing the hurts in our lives and welcomes all who visit this safe little corner of the world.
What is a Lagniappe Peddler?
ˌlanˈyap,ˈlanˌyap - something given as a bonus or extra gift