My latest sewing project is not only fun but economical. I am always scanning the clearance aisles of my big box stores and when I see something that is really reduced and made of any kind of material that can be stitched, I will usually grab it. On a recent trip I found a package of 30 microfiber towels on sale for $6.00. The regular amount is $9.97 so still a great price for this project.
Check out this cute drawstring bag and my (*click link*) latest embroidery design Shark Towel Applique. This bag can be used for wet swimming suits, flip flops, beach toys, you name it. If you are looking for an inexpensive gift to sew for a group of people this is almost as cheap as you can get for 20 cents per towel. Even full price they are just 33 cents each.
The embroidery design has been digitized to include a knockdown stitch you can see here. So you can put the Shark on the fluffy side of the towel and he will really stand out. Also, with the knockdown stitch, you don't need to use any wash away stabilizer on top. If you want to embroider the shark on woven fabric, just bypass the knockdown stitching and move directly to the applique parts.
This design is fun because it has two areas of applique. So if you have never done a project with multiple areas of placement, trimming and satin stitching, you will love playing with all of the different options just by alternating your colors of fabric. As you can see, I used a plain blue for the back area but the tummy has a small print. Can you imagine using stripes or polka dots for your shark? Or making some for girls or boys just by changing the towels? Look for these microfiber towels the next time you are in the automotive section of your store. They have a good selection of colors in most stores which are perfect for cute drawstring bags.
Sewing the bag is just a few seams and I thought you might want to see the complete process so I created a video you can watch 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!
Changing the thread on a multi needle embroidery machine can seem like an overwhelming task. When I bought my machine, I had to adjust from my usual threading practice because I was familiar with my single needle machine. Each time the thread color changed on a design, I was used to re-threading through the single needle machine path and moving on. A multi needle machine has many different colors on the machine and as the design stitches, the machine trims the thread and the head moves to a different position to continue sewing.
The multi needle machines are taller and usually on a cabinet so reaching up and around to change each cone is a little harder. The most efficient way to change colors is to tie onto an existing thread and pull through your tension discs and the needle. In order to do that you have to use a very small knot.
This picture shows the path that the thread follows from the top through all of the tension areas, take up levers and eventually through the needles. First you pull a long length of thread from the cone you are replacing. Cut that so there is something to tie onto left on the machine and remove the cone. I like to have around 24-30 inches. Then you place the new cone on the machine and pull a long length equal to the first thread. Next you need to tie your knot.
The original thread left on the machine is wrapped around your two fingers and held by your thumb. This creates a open loop on your middle finger.
The new thread is laid over your hand. So here you see my old thread is black. My new thread is white
Then you reach your finger through the open loop and pull both pieces of thread through. This creates a very small knot.
Looking at this type knot you can see that it does not resemble a traditional square knot. It actually looks like half the size and will be narrow enough to go through the sewing needle eye.
Once your knot is secure, you can start pulling the existing thread through the needle from the bottom of the machine. I usually hold the new thread ends taut while they go through the top tensions, Once they get past that area I continue to pull until I can see that the old thread is gone , the knot passes in the needle and the new color is ready.
This view shows that black thread tied to the white and the knot has just passed through the eye. I clip the excess off, secure my new thread to my spring and move forward.
Now you know you can quickly change those empty or wrong thread cones. It is difficult to imagine tying that knot from pictures, so I made a video you can watch below that shows the entire process with very close shots. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work!
Bowl Cozies are one of my favorite things. If you like to reheat food in a microwave they might become one of your new favorites. The purpose of a cozy is a place to set your bowl in the microwave while it is heating. Once the food is hot, you just use the cozy to lift the bowl out. You can also eat your food comfortably so your fingers don't get burned. I like to use mine for cold items like ice cream and cereal as well. They are perfect to catch those drips. When they get dirty, I put mine through a regular cycle in my washer and dryer. You want to make sure you use 100% cotton or natural materials. Any polyester or blends may cause a spark or melt in your microwave. So use 100% cotton batting, thread and material.
If you have read my other articles you may have seen a couple of other projects using these character towels. I have used them for drawstring bags which you can see here. I have also used them for adult bibs which you can see here. When I walk through the Dollar Tree I am always scanning for new materials to remake. These towels are so vibrant and fun that they have become a staple I keep in my studio at all times.
They are also 100% cotton so perfect for these cozies. The size on the package is 11.75 x 11.75 inches and once they are washed and dried the first time, they will slightly shrink. You may also see that the shape gets slightly skewed but that is not a problem. The care instructions state they should not be ironed, but I do press them with a medium setting and a press cloth. This will protect your iron plate from any residual ink on the towels.
The cotton batting is cut to 10 x 10 inches and adhesive spray is used on the towel to keep everything together while you sew your first quilting seams. Once the towel and the batting are adhered, you can trim away any extra towel. The batting will assist in keeping the cozy square.
These bowl cozies are a simple project but they do include darts on all sides. The darts help them stand up and form the bowl shape. This is a great introduction to learn how to sew darts if you have never done them.
Here you see me marking the dart placement with a heat erase pen. It is not hard to accomplish and great practice with your measuring tools.
There are so many of these bowl cozy projects on the internet and they are all similar. Using these character towels will present one challenge that you won't have if you use cotton fabric. The terry cloth coupled with the batting makes these thick along the seams. When it is time to close the project after turning, I like to use a needle and thread instead of my machine. This way I ensure I have grabbed both edges of the towel. You will be washing and drying them frequently so you want to have a durable closure. I love to use a ladder stitch for this part because the thread is hidden. Once I have it closed up, I will go around with a top stitch on my sewing machine but well away from the edge. This is slightly different than other bowl cozy projects you may see on the internet. A regular sewing machine can be used with these towels, but you may have to help it just a bit when you get around those thicker seams. Just take your time and you should be good to go.
When all is done, you will have a reversible bowl cozy that is not only practical, but cheerful.
Look at all of the different cozies I made in just an afternoon. These are great for kids, teens and adults. Everyone in your family will want their own.
So are you ready to make this project? Click on the video below to watch me sew a complete bowl cozy. All materials, measurements, sewing machine settings are included. Don't forget to Like and subscribe to my You tube channel. Then every time I upload a new video, you will be notified. I hope you have enjoyed this blog post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work!
This project is perfect if you love to re-purpose things from Dollar Tree. I am always looking for items I can alter with my sewing and embroidery machine when I walk the Dollar Tree aisles. This one doesn't take a lot of materials and you can complete it in an afternoon.
These drawstring bags are made of a rip stop fabric which is just right for windsocks. They already have a casing sewn into them and they come with a drawstring that you can use to hang your windsock. So most of the materials are already in the bags. *Note* You just have to deconstruct them, and reassemble. You can add any kind of embellishments you want. I digitized two new designs for birth announcements since my bags were blue and pink. Click on the pictures below to visit my store and see the embroidery designs.
I added ribbon to each of my windsocks which helped maintain a heavier structure and added weight so they really catch the wind.
After making these two, I wanted to show you a variation, so I digitized another design perfect for your garden. Click on the picture below to visit my store and see this design.
This design has outline text and a simple applique flower in the center. I used some scrap floral fabric for the applique. Ribbon was added to the top and bottom of the embroidery design with a zig zag stitch. It is amazing how beautiful a project comes together using just a few elements.
Here it is adding a pop of color to my garden space. The drawstring that comes in the bag was used to hang the windsock. This bag had two fabrics instead of one plain color. The stripes you see on the streamers were one side of the original bag.
I have a complete project video below that you can watch. It will take you from disassembly, making your cuts, embroidery, sewing everything together and hanging options. I know you are going to love it. The best part is you can make as many windsocks you want for all holidays and occasions. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work!
Summer is in full swing and I bet you are having fun decorating your outdoor living spaces. Embroidery is a great way to freshen up those pillows that are showing a little bit of wear and tear. Add a big beautiful sunflower to make that garden chair really inviting.
Maybe you have a special outdoor dinner planned and are looking for ways to make those napkins extra pretty? Simple seashells would be so elegant
How about creating an oasis in your bathroom? Embroidery has a way of elevating a space and it doesn't take a lot of time to complete smaller projects. See the towel on the tub above? How would it look if you added a design with a summertime feel like the seahorse , turtle or fish?
We have a great sale going on many of our summer designs through July 31st. Visit our SALE SALE SALE page here to check them out! I have one EXTRA special offer for you. Visit our FACEBOOK page for an additional 20% off coupon on those sale items! (HINT- the link is at the top of this blog) All you will need is the coupon code to enter at checkout! That is too easy. I hope you have a great Summer, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. 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
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