This year's Christmas gifts for family were all about quilts. I finally feel safe writing about them because they have all received their gifts and I no longer have to worry they might see them online. I consider myself an experienced seamstress in that I have "experienced" sewing a lot of different projects. That is how I keep my creative mojo, but I wouldn't call myself an expert in quilting just yet. It fascinates me to see complex quilt designs and try to figure out how they were put together but I have found the designing and following patterns to be a little out of my reach. I have several quilting books and I absolutely love to read quilting magazines so the desire is strong. I purchase beautiful pre cut fabrics and wait for inspiration. In fact that is what happened with the three quilts above. I had purchased several 2 1/2 inch fabric rolls and stashed them in my studio for the spark of creativity that I knew would happen. For me that is the key. I always have a selection of materials in my reach so I can immediately move toward working on a project. Getting in the car and driving to shop only causes me to quickly lose interest so if you have similar feelings, you might want to buy your beautiful fabrics long before you have a project in mind and just wait. It will come to you.
This was the beginning fabric roll. It contained 40 pieces of fabric. They were cut 2 1/2 inches by 42 inches or the width of the fabric. If you are an experienced quilter you know this already, but I'm going to aim toward those beginners like me because just holding this little roll and trying to figure out how big it would wind up becoming, how much batting I would need, and back fabric to finish it was a huge problem for me. Think "Word Problem" and feel the headache begin.
I did have yardage in my stash that I thought would be perfect for the back. I purchased this piece from a second hand store. I love finding those pieces of fabric that are hidden and creating something lovely. It makes me feel like a treasure hunter. I always bring them home and immediately wash and dry so they are ready for me. It was a light cotton and I thought there should be enough to make a lap quilt. By this time, I had done some research on pre cut fabric quilts and found several blogs on 1600 or Race Quilts. Quilt guilds or groups use the pre cut rolls as a competition to quickly and easily piece quilt tops. This is a great way to sew many quilts for donation. There is very little preparation or cutting and within a short time you can have your top pieced. That was exactly what I was looking for because I had three quilts in mind and about two weeks to get them ready. Yes you read that right. I pieced, quilted and bound all three quilts within a two week period.
Here is my set up. I had my sewing machine of course with a regular sewing foot. I also put my folding table to my right. This little table is one from the camping section of Academy Sports. I love it because it folds away flat and I keep it out of the way unless I need it. I also had my wool pressing mat and a small travel iron just because it is easier to work with while sitting..
The first thing I did was unroll my fabric strips. I did not prewash them. When I did my research on the 1600 quilts, every blog stated not to think too much on laying out your different fabric strips. It is very difficult to plan or determine any kind of placement due to the construction. The whole point of this type of quilt is ease and speed. By the way if you are wondering why they call it a 1600 quilt, it is because by the time you have sewn all of the fabric lengths together, you should have roughly a 1600 inch length. So I just placed my similar strips together and put them on top of my table so I could reach for them as I sewed.
Piecing the strips together can be done two different ways. On my first quilt I placed the ends of the pieces right sides together and sewed a diagonal line just like I would for binding. As I worked, I did not cut any of the stitching. I chain pieced. This will create a quilt top that has a diagonal look to the sewn pieces. On the subsequent two quilts, I laid the ends of the fabric right on top of each other and pieced straight across. If you will look at the finished picture below, you can see the lavender quilt has diagonal seam lines. The other two quilts have straight seam lines. I think it is personal preference and it didn't make sewing any harder on either option. I did however have an extra step of trimming the diagonal fabric ends. The straight ends were just sewn with a 1/4 inch seam allowance with no trimming needed after.
All of those little triangles are trimmed and expect a lot of fluff to come away from the precut strips as you sew. My lap was covered along with my studio floor from manipulating the strips. A good sweeping was necessary several times. I also had to pull out my vacuum wand to clean around my machine.
As you continue to sew the strip ends together you will begin to have quite a pile of fabric, so make sure you have room around your sewing space to keep all of it out of the way.
After my chain piecing, I used my small scissors to clip the threads
What was a neat row of strips becomes a long pile of fabric. There is no rhyme or reason to the placement of color. That is the fun part. You just grab piece after piece and sew them together. It can get hypnotic to sew like this and my best advice would be to make sure you are placing your right sides together before you sew the ends. Also VERY IMPORTANT, go through these strips before you move to the next step one more time and make sure the right sides are sewn together and you don't have any flipped or a right and wrong side sewn together. Make your corrections as it is easier to pick out a short seam now before you begin to sew the top together. Ask me how I know?
You will cut 18 inches from one of the ends. This will ensure that your seams do not line up throughout the quilt.
Now that you have your long strip of fabric, you are going to find both ends. Take one end and place it on top of the other end right sides together. Then using a 1/4 inch seam, you will sew the sides of those strips until you can't sew any more. I changed from my regular sewing foot to a piecing foot here. Once you get to the end, you will cut the u shaped fabric piece straight across. I have to tell you that even though I had my pressing station all set up, I didn't make use of it much while piecing. I did once complete with the top, press all of the seams
The first length of sewing will seem like forever until you get to the end. Once you do you will see that you can't go any further and you have to use your scissors to release the ends and make them lay flat. It is difficult to do it exactly straight and you don't need to stress about that. There will be some fabric trimming and squaring before you do your quilting.
Now that you have finished your first long seam, you will find the two ends again and do another long seam the same way. This process will be done FIVE times in total. As you find the ends each time, the piece will get wider and wider and your seam will get shorter and shorter. I did read blogs that stated not to worry about un winding the long lengths of fabric between each long seam as this saves time. I will tell you that on my first quilt, I must have been doing something right because each time I got to the end of the seam and did my trimming and then picked up the two ends to begin sewing, I did not come to much of a fabric twist at the end of my seam. It was fairly easy to cut the U shape of the fabric. When I did my second quilt. I had some confidence and I just sewed really fast to see how long it would take to finish. I didn't even bother to make sure my long length of fabric wasn't twisted and I did have some repercussions from that. When I had the final seam to sew and I was ready to cut that final U shape at the end, the fabric was twisted so much, that I couldn't get a very straight cut. So my top was wider on one end when I squared it off. I lost about six inches of fabric. I had to piece the two ends with additional fabric to keep the size I wanted. So my second piece of advice to you is unless you are doing a race and you don't mind how big the finished quilt will be, make sure to unwind the long fabric piece and make sure there is no twist in it before you place the right sides together to begin sewing.
Here is the top on one of the final seams and you can see it is getting wider and wider and look at the bottom of the fabric where it forms a U Shape. This is what needs to be cut across to release the fabric so it will lay flat. As you can see if the fabric is twisted, cutting would be difficult. Again ask me how I know? I feel confident, I could have gotten these three quilts done sooner if that event had not happened. I lost about two days because I was so mad at myself for rushing through the second quilt and then knowing I was going to have to do some Quilt Math to figure out a solution.
Oh the beauty of a finished quilt top. Is there any site more beautiful to behold? Except a quilted and bound quilt top of course. Which by the time you get to this point you will begin to think about. Now you get to trim up any edges that are not straight and decide what kind of batting you want to use, what kind of quilting designs and how you want to finish the edges.
So I don't think there is an easy way to prepare one of these for quilting except dive right in and know that you will need to flip it a couple of times to make sure there are no areas that will cause puckers. Aggravating I know but worth it. The batting was larger than the top to ensure I would have enough for shrinkage while quilting. I used some adhesive spray and safety pins to layer my back fabric, batting and top. The batting I used is 100 % cotton which I chose because my recipients all live in climates with humidity. I envisioned them using their lap quilts to snuggle on the couch watching tv. Even in summer you can use a 100% cotton quilt and not get too hot. Polyester batting is wonderful for extra warmth in very cold climates. I have several different quilts that I swap on my bed each season and in the summer months, cotton is my favorite.
I did install my walking foot on my machine to help keep all of those layers together as I quilted along.
Once I had everything pinned and ready to go I rolled up one end and you can see that it went to the right side so I could begin my quilting in the center. I decided too keep it simple and just sewed in the ditch along each seam line. I worked from the center to the right side then rotated the quilt and did the same from the center to the left side.
I made my own binding for the quilt by cutting 2 1/2 inch strips on the bias. I only did bias binding on the first quilt. I did make my binding for the other two quilts but the binding was made with straight ends. If you are making a quilt with straight edges, there is no need to go around curves which is the purpose of bias binding. Try straight edge binding for your next quilt and you will see that it works great on those right edges. You will have less trimming of fabric on the straight seams. Once everything was sewn together I pressed the seams open and then I did press the binding in half with the wrong sides together. Some people do not press their binding but my finish seam worked better with a very crisp edge.
I sewed my binding to all three quilts along the back with a 1/4 inch seam allowance and then pulled the binding to the front of the quilt and held it in place with clips.
My finish stitch of choice was a serpentine. If you look online, you will see an infinity of ways to attach binding. I wanted something very quick and with a utilitarian quality. I wanted my recipients to use these quilts. The finish size makes that extremely likely because they are large enough to give lap coverage and small enough to clean in a standard washer and dryer. I wash my quilts regularly so very firm stitching is in order. This serpentine stitch also is VERY forgiving. If you go off a little, it is hard to detect but the coverage and grip of your binding width is a great choice for an everyday quilt.
I think it looks extra pretty. This is what you see from the front. I like to sew it from the front so I can see exactly where those stiches are landing.
Here is the back. Everything is attached with sound stitching and I know if they wash and dry their quilts, there will be no broken stitches or sad surprises. I also love this stitch to give myself a break from trying to get perfectly straight stitches in the ditch from one side and ensuring I have "captured" the binding from the other side that you don't see while sewing.
Pretty isn't it? Also notice the strips that touch may be the same due to the construction. Even though I picked up each color individually as I connected the fabric pieces, the long seams will cause similar strip colors to be side by side on your top.
Here are some roundabout measurements in case you are wondering how large it is. This will vary depending on your end cuts of course.
Here is the second quilt. Remember the difficult one? Look at the two sides and you will see a navy border. That is what I had to add to keep the finished size I wanted due to the fabric twisting. So if you do have a smaller finished top than you planned, you can add fabric to it. Not sure why I couldn't think of that when I lost those two days, but when you get deep into a project with a deadline in mind, tunnel vision can occur. Take a break and breath, It's ok.
By the time I got too my third one, I was very sure of myself which usually happens when you practice something. For this top, I wasn't sure what color to use for the back and I did have to make a shopping trip to purchase fabric. I bought a 4 yard fabric cut from Wall-Mart in this bright sunny yellow.
This is how I pieced that back from that fabric cut. It shows my top final measurement. The fabric is 44 inches wide so I cut two lengths 55 inches long and pieced them together with a 1/2 inch seam allowance for strength. The width needed to be cut off on either side at 10 inches. This gave me a extra fabric when creating my quilt sandwich. After everything was quilted, I did some squaring up. I had extra fabric left over for my binding and even some more for future projects. These fabric cuts from Walmart are usually a great price also. They are a polyester blend so if you want 100% cotton just make sure you look for that on the label. Or visit your local quilt shop for your fabric where you will have a great selection that is wide enough for quilt backs and 100% cotton.
Just a few more pictures of that serpentine stitch for you to see. Nice work on that binding corner don't you think? Very crisp. Using your iron to press that binding edge makes that happen.
I love that bright sunny back. I enjoyed making each one of these quilts because they were all straight seams and I was able to finish them within a short timeframe. If you are not in a rush, this project would be very easy to lay down and come back to at a later date without having to think too much on where you left off.
Here is the best part. A picture from my family member underneath his quilt with the caption "MY BLANKET IS PERFECT". Now THIS is the goal accomplished. Exactly what I envisioned coming to fruition. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work!
The New Year is approaching and once again I have steered myself back into my studio. This project won't take too much time and it would make a wonderful gift for someone in your life.
I had this drying mat in my stash and I thought it would be perfect to upcycle into a wine bag. If you have a Dollar Tree in your town, they usually have a good selection of colors and for One Dollar you can create a personalized item. Maybe you aren't going to attend your normal New Year's Eve party but you still want to celebrate with family, friends or neighbors? How about delivering a bottle of wine to them as a surprise? Leave it on their front porch or hang the bag on their doorknob?
This project really is just a few seams. The padded material of the drying mat is great to protect the glass bottle. Maybe customize yours with embroidery. I used my latest New Year Balloons design that you can find here. Some pretty satin ribbon is an easy handle.
I used a 4x4 hoop with tear away stabilizer and floated my drying mat in the embroidery hoop with temporary adhesive spray.
After doing the embroidery, I placed right sides together with clips and sewed along the bottom and side of the mat. Make sure you lengthen your stitch and use a larger needle.
I created boxed corners with zig zag stitching on the bottom. This makes it flat once you turn it inside out. You can trim these away but I left mine as they give a little more structure to the bag.
The satin ribbon is folded under on each end and stitched to the outer sides. The box and cross stitching will give extra security to the wine bottle in the bag.
Now you are ready to add the wine or any other libation of your choosing. I filmed a short You tube video that you can watch below that will take you through the entire process. I hope you are well in your part of the world and that you have enjoyed this along with my other posts, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work.
This project is an oldie but goodie and I thought it needed to be brought back. I found it in one of my old sewing books from the eighties. Just looking at it reminds me of that Heirloom trend we were all decorating with back then. It can be sewn or if you have some fabric glue, you should be able to make one as long as you dry your glue in between steps.
Here is the secret ingredient that keeps the wreath shape. These book rings were purchased from Dollar Tree and they have a hinged side with a lock. A package of eight means you can make a lot of wreaths
Here is a view of the ring being opened. You can see that makes it easy to slide your fabric on and then close up to secure everything.
You will need a piece of fabric cut 18 inches long and 2 1/2 inches wide. Also, any kind of lace, ribbon or ric rac will dress up the wreath.
A tube turner really comes in handy also and if you have never used one of these tools, you might want to give it a try. A long narrow tube of fabric is sometimes difficult to turn right side out but one of these makes it effortless.
Here is an abbreviated version of how they go together. The lace or ribbon is pinned to the right side along one edge. I like to baste it on first. Then sew the edges together along that length. Use the tube turner and turn right side out. Then press flat so the lace is one one side and the fabric tube is on the other.
Then you take it back to your machine and sew a seam right in the middle down the length. This creates a smaller casing. If you are using fabric glue, this part won't be possible but you will already have a wide casing that will work just fine. Thread the material on the book ring and snap closed. I make a hanger with 1/4 inch ribbon and a simple bow. Both are attached with a needle or thread. If you are using glue, you should be able to attach both.
I made two versions so you could see by decreasing the fabric width to two inches, the ornament has a slightly different look. As a final creative idea, you could place a small picture behind each wreath with hot glue. This project would be easy for kids to design with their favorite fabric pieces. If you are like me, you probably have some remnants that would work great for this.
I have a complete video tutorial that you can watch below as you are sewing your wreath ornaments. Handmade projects are on my Christmas list this year. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work! Have A Merry Christmas!
My latest embroidery designs are close to my heart because they were requested by a family member. When the pandemic started, I set to work on drafting a face mask design that you can find here. Then I went to work sewing many masks and mailing them to my family in South Louisiana. I put them in individual polybags and asked that they distribute as they saw fit to anyone in need. At that time when everything was new, supplies were short so everyone was looking for any kind of face covering. I sewed a mask for my uncle that is a Navy veteran and the fabric had ships and compasses all over it. Last week he was filling up at a gas station and a man came across the parking lot to talk to him. He saw the fabric, commented on the mask and said he wished someone could make him one that had his Shrimping profession on it. That is all it took for me to get to work on sewing a new batch of masks and getting them mailed to my family again. So Mr. Reuben or "T-Reub" this is for you. I hope you love your custom mask.
The Trawler Embroidery design is perfect alone or you can add custom text like a personal or business name above or below. The boat design is less than 2 inches square so it will work great on masks, caps or hats. See the inspiration pictures below for some gift ideas.
The Compass Embroidery Design is also less than two inches square so it will work on masks, caps or hats. You know any person that fishes as a profession or hobby uses compasses and maps to navigate the waters. This design looks great by itself but the addition of a name will make it really special. Campers, hikers or scouts would love this also. See the inspiration pictures below.
The Shrimp Embroidery Design is one of my new favorites. I love how simple and clean it looks stitched in the white thread against the navy fabric. If you have a shrimper or chef in your life they will love this stitched on their favorite items, like masks, hats, towels and shirts. Add their name and they might cook up a nice meal for you. See the inspiration photos below.
This picture shows the piece of fabric in my hoop after it has been embroidered. If you are making custom masks, just draw the outline of the mask pattern with chalk and you can place the design right where you need it before you sew up the masks.
Here are just a few of the custom masks ready to send out. I did sew a special one for my uncle with the Navy veteran logo embroidered on it. Sadly I don't offer this embroidery design, because the Navy logo is trademarked by the Naval Department, so without their permission, I would only sew this for family members as gifts. I think my uncle will love it though.
I do have one more embroidery design that was just released a few days ago and it ties in with my South Louisiana Heritage. This Sportsman Paradise design has a Pelican sitting on a log which is something that you will see if you are ever visiting along the Gulf Of Mexico. It is perfect for those outdoorsman or anyone that loves Louisiana culture. Check out some Inspiring photos below.
So that brief meeting at a gas station started all of this. Mr. Reuben did you know when you walked across that parking lot and spoke to my uncle that you would inspire these embroidery designs? I loved creating all of them and making masks which I hope the receivers will enjoy wearing. Maybe the embroidery will spark conversations like the one you had with my uncle and give a moment of normalcy to this time in our lives. We from South Louisiana love to talk and visit after all. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work!
Nothing makes your heart stop like an error message in the middle of a sewing or embroidery project. When I have an error I usually pull out my manual first because the answer will more than likely be found there. The manufacturers are usually very good about knowing what might come up and giving you various scenarios to try. In sewing the most common will be your needle, bobbin and thread. In this error, I went through the checklist from my manual but my error still occurred. As I would sew I was able to get through 10-15 stitches and the machine would stop with the above error. I initially thought it might be the tension discs and some thread or debris so I cleaned those out by taking the top covers off, but the problem persisted. Of course I made sure my machine was powered OFF to do these checks.
So after some online searches, I found a couple of other people with similar problems and even though they have a different machine, I thought I would try looking in the same area they were indicating, so I removed my cover from the side of the machine. I have to thank generous people on You Tube and Blogs because isn't it great to be able to figure out those small maintenance repairs during the pandemic? Usually I wouldn't think twice about bringing my machine to the shop but now that isn't always an easy option.
I traced myself to the 3rd position in the flow of tension on the front. There is a very small spring located behind this front cover that helps the machine tension the thread. It is a moving part and when you couple that movement with thread, debris, moisture and dirt; the spring can become immobile and the thread is no longer in the correct placement so the machine will issue the error.
Look in the picture above and follow the thread down to the point where it passes under that straight bar. Directly underneath you will see the very small curved tip of the spring. That piece is where my problems were happening. I used a small picking instrument like a dentist would use and I VERY CAREFULLY cleaned around the spring. I also made sure the spring could move up and down and was not immobile. As I did that I saw a piece of thread remnant fall out.
You can also see the other very tiny bits of debris I was able to clean out. I put everything back together to test the machine. As a side note, this error did occur right after I had been trying out a brand new metallic thread. I can't say for certain if that caused the problem but it was a different material than I sew with on a daily basis.
The final thing I did was remove the thread and re thread it through all of the tension areas. If you don't do this, the thread placement is the same as before the repair and the error will probably show up still. Now my machine sews just fine. I will say that this is a minor adjustment and I would only recommend doing this to get you back to sewing; especially if you are in a production setting like me. I use my machine to test embroidery designs every day. It doesn't replace my usual maintenance schedule where the machine is taken apart, cleaned, oiled and tested. I will still get that done per the manufacturer's suggestions which is normally at least once a year. I filmed a short video below that will show you the error as it was happening, removing the covers and where that spring is located. If you are having similar issues with your machine, this might help. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work.
If you have read many of my blog posts, you might guess my creative projects follow the seasons and what I see in my life. So right now, my yard is a priority as I continue getting it in order for winter. I really do love little yard trinkets, signs, hanging decorations etc. So you will find Shepherd Garden Stakes in many of my flower beds. They come in a lot of different sizes and styles and usually I use them to hang bird feeders or plants. Since cold weather is coming, I am looking at them to see if they need any maintenance like rust removal or cleaning out the bird feeders.
This flag project just came about because I realized I had never tried to sew something decorative for one of these shepherd hooks. I thought it would be a great project to move between seasons. Right now, my trees still have leaves on them and they are just turning beautiful shades of yellow and orange. After a few cold snaps, I will look outside and they will all be gone and then our skies will be gray for several months. This makes my yard a little depressing, but these flags might help that this winter. My intention is to sew some for those cold winter months and when I look outside my windows, it just might cheer me up and keep me excited for upcoming spring gardening.
So the first thing I did was digitize a special embroidery design for this flag. I had my husband in mind and thought he would get a kick out of seeing this in our yard. If you are interested in the An Old Fisherman design it is available here. You will need at least a 6x10 embroidery hoop. The size of the flag I was sewing demanded a larger design to fill up the space.
Here is a view of the Old Fisherman embroidery design with a different background color so you can see the details. I used canvas duck fabric for the flag and grosgrain ribbon for the casing. I didn't do a written pattern for this project but I did a full video tutorial that you can watch below. I think a beginner could sew this project as there are mostly straight seams, The long curve and adding the ribbon casing is a nice skill to practice as well as clipping along curves. All of this can be done sewing a flag like this. The tutorial will show you how to draft your own flag depending on the shepherd hook you have so it is not specific just to the type I used. In any case, I am wishing you will have fun watching the video and dreaming up ways to decorate your outdoor space year round with these flags. You know these would be awesome for yard sale signs or business advertisements also.
Check out the video below. I have assembled a playlist of several garden flag projects together. Look for that in the description of the video and you can have a creative watch party! 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 buttoning up my yard in preparation for winter. My garden plot has been mowed down, all of my flower beds have been successfully weeded and my flower pots are host to new pansies. This time of year I tend to change a few things around on my front porch and I like to maintain some color as I watch the leaves turn and fall. In honor of this beautiful time of year, I am releasing my latest design Falling Leaves Flag Pattern. This embroidery design is really simple in it's concept and it only has 6,645 stitches but it has a really big impact with the addition of artificial leaves.
You can see here that the stitching includes cute seasonal text and a smiling puppy. He is watching all of the beautiful leaves falling around him. My dogs love to do that and they have so much fun chasing the leaves as they fall to the ground. I purchased a small bag of leaves from my local Dollar Tree store and it had 50 of them so I have a lot of extra ones for future projects.
There are several different fabrics that you can use for garden flags. On this one, I used OLY FUN fabric which is the same material you will find in reusable grocery bags. I have done other flag projects using this material and I like it for the price, weight and non fraying qualities. I will tell you that your flag won't have UV protection and might only last one season if you use OLY FUN Fabric. I don't mind that because I love to change regularly. Also, if I look closely at flags I have purchased they will usually fade pretty quickly and I tend to avoid putting them back up more than two seasons.
The embroidery instructions will take you through the placement of the leaves. I have included a flag pattern with the design that will help you prepare your fabric and cut the bottom portion.
You will see how to add the ribbon on the top and sides and sew the trim to the bottom of the flag.
This would be a great project for a beginner as it includes many techniques that can be used for future sewing and embroidery projects. If you have a sewing and embroidery machine or combination of the two and feel like you want to do something creative but not too difficult, give this a try. I think you will love seeing your flag in your yard. I have created a video you can watch below that shows the entire project also so if you are a more advanced seamstress, you should be able to make your own garden flag just by following along.
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 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!
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!
My latest embroidery designs are being released today. These patches are a unique way to customize suspenders. If you are looking for something "different" for Dad, Grandpa or Husbands this might just work. There are several designs that the ladies would rock also. I think suspenders should make a comeback. They were popular in the 80's after Marty from Back to the Future wore them. I had a rainbow pair that I wore because Mork from Ork was a favorite TV character. My husband is in the picture above showing off his custom patch. Let's look at all of the different designs available. Click the links under each picture to visit my store. Remember you will need an embroidery machine with a 4x4 hoop to sew these patches. The designs are digital and not fully made patches.
The Biker Suspender Patch is perfect for anyone who loves to ride motorcycles. Best part is you can customize the colors of this patch to match their wheels.
The Dressy Attire Suspender patch is perfect for that person who loves to be comfortable wherever they go. Take them as they are because their suspenders are how they dress up!
The Gone Fishing Suspender Patch says it all. They won't need to explain where they are going as you watch them walk out the door.
The I'm Retired Suspender Patch will let all of their friends see the official dress code of retirement.
The Mister Suspenders Patch is the design that raises it's nose to the belt establishment. No more uncomfortable bellies in tight pants!
The Nerd Suspender Patch proclaims it loud and proud. Remember yesterday's Nerds are today's and tomorrow's Billionaires.
The Veteran Suspender Patch is a great way to honor that person in your life. If you see a Veteran thank them for their service.
The Groom Suspender Patch is perfect for the groom on his wedding day. Hidden under the jacket but out and proud for the reception.
The Best Man Suspender Patch will let everyone know who the special person is standing beside the groom.
The Groom Crew Suspender patch would be a great gift for the wedding party. After all, what is a groom without his buddies?
Customizing your suspenders with any of these patches is very easy to do. In fact, when you download the designs, you will receive full color instructions. If you would like to see all of my tips and tricks, you can watch the You Tube video 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 latest project for my home has recycling, gardening, sewing and embroidery all together. I really hate to throw away any kind of container and when I recently had problems with my washing machine, the leftover parts gave me all kinds of crafting ideas.
Here is the original tub from our front loading washing machine. It is the back end of the tub. The front end has two large pieces of concrete that act as counter weights so the tub will spin correctly. My washer sounded like an airplane taking off when it would spin. In fact it was so loud, we had to close doors to hear anything. We tried to first change the four shocks on the tub which was the "Hopefully Easier Fix". After taking everything apart and rummaging around in VERY tight spaces to change those shocks, it helped but we realized it didn't completely solve our issue. We ordered the rear tub part and found that our bearing had blown out when we disconnected everything. The tell tale oil dripping out confirmed we had found the problem. We did have to move the washer in and out of our home twice and that is how I can assure you that if the repairman gives you a price, you may want to bite the bullet and pay the man. Unless you have a handy husband and two grown sons to help disassemble it. Or you are extremely cheap with your money and are too stubborn like us to at least give it a shot. I can say that instead of purchasing a new washer that might have cost upwards of $1500, we spent $127.00 on the parts. So not too bad.
The silver lining to all of this besides being able to run my laundry with all doors open is I had a very heavy duty container complete with drainage holes. I knew a planter would be a great project.
First I painted the tub with spray paint. It is amazing how a little color can transform any object.
I had already started a flat of zinnias and marigolds from seed several weeks ago, so plants were ready to go in. It's almost like I planned this. No I wouldn't wish that repair on anyone.
I love garden flags so I knew I needed to come up with some kind of hanger. I had several PVC pipes and a T connector from other projects. When I tried them in the bearing hole, it was light bulbs and excitement as I began to figure out my flag options.
Using a spray paint that resembles metal helped hide the PVC pipe and gave the stand a sturdy look.
I digitized a sunflower design and added some fun text to stitch on my fabric which by the way is Duck Canvas. Canvas is a great choice for outdoor projects. It isn't UV rated, but should last for the season. This embroidery design is available in my store in a large 9.5x14 size here or a 5x7 size here.
I sewed the flag and added buttons with elastic to the back so it would be very flexible on the stand. Then I planted everything and added rocks from around my yard. This was such a fun project and I filmed a You Tube video showing the entire process including how I sewed the flag. You can watch that below. Maybe it will inspire you to recycle containers for planting or sewing a garden flag. Or repair your washing machine????
I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work.
Sewing Math. If that gives you a headache, I totally understand. My math skills have always been something that is continually evolving and also a disappointment when I just don't "get it". I can't blame my teachers because they taught math in the setting that was available to them and it was the only one I had access to. Now with the internet and so many generous people out there, we have a lot of different learning methods. I am convinced if someone would have found out my sewing interests way back then and applied Math Skills directly to that, my skills might have improved. I "see" measurements and projects in Pictures more than numbers. Another thing that I have come to understand is memorizing formulas is only as good as being able to physically practice them. This tactile learning process is so much more helpful to me than say a WORD PROBLEM. YUCK. Also, a little advice to you out there who beat yourselves up when you can't remember those formulas? Don't. You can never remember everything, but if you have a general understanding and can look it up, you will be A-OK. So how do you figure out the circles you will need when you want to make a bolster or neck pillow?
Here is a remnant piece of fabric I used to test out a Waving Flag Embroidery Design. Which you can see here in my store. When I stitch out my designs, I always have a lot of these around my studio and I like to make small quick projects with them. I am not working from a pre-determined pattern. Instead, I am using the piece of fabric in the size I have available. So, to make a bolster or neck pillow, I need to figure out how big the circle needs to be for that specific size fabric. First you need to do some measuring.
I know that when I sew this pillow I am going to fold the right sides together and sew that long edge to make a tube.
This opening on the ends of that tube is where the circles will be inserted into. So I will need that measurement. It is too hard to try and get it measured right when it is in a circle.
If I open it back up and lay it flat, I will measure that edge. This is called the Circumference. Now stick with me if that makes the brain fog start to come over you like it does to me. For some reason, the word Circumference is confusing to me. It sounds so much like the word circle. If you remember that circumference can be a "Linear" or a flat LINE measurement it might make more sense. When I lay out my fabric edge flat , I have a "Line" or "linear" measurement that will be my circumference.
If you look at the formula above, you will put that measurement where it says Circumference. My edge was 13.25 inches. Then you will divide that number by pi (3.14) Once you have done that, you will have the Diameter of that circular opening. Mine was 4.219. That is all you need to know. If I keep my fabric edge length this size I need to cut a circle that will measure 4.219 inches across. Using this formula, you can work with any size fabric you have in your stash to make a quick bolster pillow. I didn't want to try and cut out a circle that had all of those numbers after the decimal point, so I figured out my formula again until I had a number close to 4.
I cut my fabric edges to 12.5 inches and my formula showed 3.98 inches. I rounded it up to 4 so now I know I should be able to cut a circle that is four inches wide (Or has a 4 inch DIAMETER) and if I use the same seam allowance on that long edge and when I sew the circles in, everything should fit. How will I cut out a perfect four inch circle though?
You have many different choices. You can use a compass, ruler with many holes or a pencil and piece of string.
Another great option is to make your own circle template. This is my choice because it makes more sense to me and the way I "see" measurements. Also, the circle sizes are already figured out for me. Once I know my size circle, I just pick the right number and the template does the heavy math lifting. If you will be sewing bolster pillows on a regular basis and you want to be able to quickly cut out circles, this template will make your measuring and cutting easier.
I really like to use the cutting mats from Dollar Tree for my templates. They are easy to lay on top of things I have drawn out on paper and trace.
So here is how I drew this circle template out. I used my cutting mat and since I will be drawing circles by placing something on one end and tracing around, I know that I need to use half of my circle measurements. See the one inch mark on my mat? If I place my pencil there and move the template around, I will actually trace a two inch circle. If I use the two inch measurement it will make a four inch circle and so on.
Here is my circle. I used the mark at the 4 and now I have a four inch circle.
I sewed the long seam on my pillow right sides together. Leave a small opening in the middle of that long seam so you can turn the pillow later. Then I pinned the circles with right sides facing in to the tube ends. If you finger press the circles and the pillow it is easier to match your seam.
Sew around the circles, clip the curves and turn the pillow. Stuff it and sew the opening closed.
Now you have a finished bolster pillow. These are really nice when lounging on your favorite couch or chair. I am using this one in my studio at my desk chair for lower back support.
Here is a graphic if you want to try to create your own circle template. I also have a PDF download below. If you print it out, use the one inch scale to make sure it is accurate. Then trace over it onto one of the Dollar Tree Cutting Mats. I also have a You Tube video that shows the template in action and sewing the pillow. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work!
Did you know you can sew your own garden flag? I am a fan of exterior decorating throughout the seasons. Flags are one of the ways I do that because they add that extra pop of color and excitement. Even when my landscape is in the cold dreary days of winter, I will usually have some kind of flags stuck in the ground to cheer me up. Memorial Day is fast approaching and I digitized this design in honor of that.
Here is my flag installed on a hanger. I used a fabric called Oly Fun. You can find it at most hobby or craft stores. It is a synthetic fabric that will melt if you apply too much heat. You can sew with it easily though. I have seen projects where it is used for costuming because of the light weight and non fraying quality.
I have a You tube Video below that shows how I created my garden flag. If you don't have the Oly Fun Fabric, you could use another type and have a lot of fun changing with the seasons. Check out the design in my store here.
Thank you to all who served our country in the past and currently. We all owe our freedoms to you. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work!
Cord stops are a great little piece of hardware. You probably have a jacket or bag that uses one on a drawstring. Here you see I am using one on a mask. I originally created a pattern with shoelaces because I was having a difficult time finding elastic. I also did a You tube video showing how it was put together. After wearing that mask for a while, I decided to try and see if I could eliminate one of the shoelaces and add a nose piece. This allowed me to use the cord stop with just the two mask ends. It really works great. See the original blog post with the video and updated pattern here. Now that I am looking for the cord stops, it seems that they are becoming harder to find in a short time frame. I can order them online but there is a lag in the shipping dates. So I wanted to find an alternative and here it is.
This little knot works pretty well. I used para cord to create it and so far it is proving to be a good substitute. The knot will slide along the mask tie and stay put. It does work best on synthetic materials as they will slide but bind as they are tightened. Cotton will bind but it might not slide as easily. The best thing is I can make a new one if this one gets lost or wears out. I have a You tube video below that shows how easy it is to make. 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 am rarely able to surprise my husband with gifts. This past Christmas I really did good because I bought a back up camera for his Jeep. He loves to drive that vehicle but the only problem he has ever complained about is it didn't come with a back up camera. Weird because it has that tire on the back that creates blind spots and takes up part of viewing area of the glass. Anyway, I made myself pretty proud by actually finding the one that would work for his model and getting it delivered to my house without him even suspecting it. Since we are currently at home social distancing , he got brave and finally installed it and wow it works great! Only one issue though. I had sewn a tire cover for him last year that either needed to be retrofitted or re sewn. I decided to make a new one because the last material I used was vinyl and it was starting to show some wear and tear. He also has a birthday coming up so bonus opportunity.
Sewing your own tire cover is not hard. See the graphic above. I took a measurement across the tire, then I measured the thickness of the tire. I overlapped the tape measure toward the back so when it was installed, the cover would go over the sides a bit. The third measurement was around the tire. That's the tricky one unless you are good at math. (I'm not) Once I had those I added one inch to A, Two inches to B and 10 inches to C. I used a 1/2 inch seam allowance so my final measurements were A=33 inches , B= 16 inches C= 110 inches. Those will vary according to your tire sizes. I added 10 inches of extra length to C because it gives you a little bit of fudge room as you are sewing the gusset to the circle fabric. I did have several extra inches that were cut off once it was sewn together. I am always scared to cut exact on gussets so I always seem to leave extra for mistakes. Again, I am Math challenged but if you are not, you will probably be able to figure that out just fine.
I used a tape measure and french curve ruler to get my circle just right. This would be the front of the cover.
The gusset had to be pieced because of the length. I also had to use two different color fabrics due to my stash. I am using DUCK canvas which is good for outdoor projects. It is not UV rated so I do expect fading but this is an easy project and I can make a new one in a year or two.
Here you see the gusset has been sewn around the circle right sides together and then I did a dry fit before I added the elastic. I used my chalk marker to trace around the small triangle where the camera was mounted.
I picked a center point on the drawn triangle and then drew lines to each corner. I cut on each of these lines toward those corners so I would have three flaps.
This shows me cutting the flaps and then folding them toward the back.
I did a quick stitch around the perimeter and trimmed the fabric edges with pinking shears. If you wanted to do a bit more, you could sew binding around also but I think this will be good enough for me. The thread I am using is a heavy duty outdoor type also. I used a denim needle to put the entire cover together.
I created a casing for the elastic by double folding the edge 1/2 inch. Then I stitched around leaving a small hole so I could pass that elastic through.
I used 1/4 inch elastic and a bodkin to make it easier. Then I stitched the elastic ends together and sewed the opening. Time to install on the Jeep.
Here it is! I made sure I had the placement where the camera still worked and surprised him again. I think the color looks so nice with the Jeep. I will probably use some clear fabric spray just to protect the colors as long as I can. This was an easy project and if it only lasts a year or so, no problem making a new one. This would be a great project for Father's Day which is coming up! Maybe do some embroidery on it too? I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work!
Have you ever tried to draft and then sew your own pattern? Maybe you have walked around a craft fair and instead of purchasing a home sewn item, you said to yourself I could make that. Or you search the internet for ideas and think to yourself " I could totally make that " You can do it but it is a challenge. I made the bag above and wanted to show you my process because as I moved through it, there were several moments when I really wanted to put it away but I had a birthday deadline to meet. I also had a special request from my son and you know I was not going to let him down.
This bag was my original design. I drafted and sewed it several years ago. In fact I did a blog about embroidery machines and sewing the name on the front of it. You can check that out here. This bag came about from a Christmas gift my son received. We bought him a laptop that year and he needed something to carry it with. Both of my sons are computer geeks and their devices have always gone everywhere with them so I knew it would have to be sturdy.
My main design goals were a safe place to cradle his laptop and lots of pockets. There were so many different techniques in this bag. I had an exterior zippered pocket with lining. An interior quilted "hammock" for the device. Interior zippered pocket for smaller items. A heavy duty padded handle with D rings would need to be secure as he wore the bag on his shoulder
Here are a few views of the bag today. When I looked closely I saw some things that I wanted to change, but for the most part, it has done really well and he has used it every day. This bag helped him finish high school and it took him almost all the way through college.
The one area that I knew I had to improve was where the strap connected to the bag. I repaired these at least two times. The last repair brought the request from my son that he might need to commission a new bag from me. When I originally designed the pattern, you can see the strap connection is right at the top seam of the bag. It performed pretty well but needed to be further down into the gusset. I also wanted to add more interior pockets. So there were some changes that had to be drafted.
When I originally created my pattern, I used brown wrapping paper so I would have something to use in the future just in case. I am so glad I did that.
Then I found my original instructions. I wrote these down as I sewed the original bag. As I read them, I thought why didn't I re-write these and type everything up really neatly? It took me a day of looking over everything just to get my bearings on how this bag went together the first time. So I tried to organize it better. I got on my computer and drafted up some cutting layouts.
Then I made fabric lists and little tabs for cutting each piece out.
And it grew..... And grew...... Until........
My entire working table was covered with instructions, and layouts and templates and my first wave of defeat. I didn't know if I had everything in my fabric stash. I have a lot of fabric and my other challenge was to use some of it. Since I am home and social distancing, I am not going out to shop for anything new. I did look online to see if I could find fabric to order but that didn't last long as the shipping times would be after his birthday. So I had to use available materials. I didn't have one color for the entire bag so I had to make another list showing which colors I would use for each pattern piece.
Fast forward to all of my pieces being cut out, labeled and nicely waiting for me to begin sewing. All I can say is a lot of coffee made this possible.
Here is the quilt batting ready to sew for the device hammock.
The first thing on the bag was that name being embroidered and then the zipper being installed on the flap. I love messenger bags and I think not making use of that flap for a pocket really wastes material. It is an extra step but my son uses it all of the time.
The fabric I had in stock is Duck canvas. This created new challenges because it is very thick.
Another big issue for me was the interfacing I had in stock. The original bag used an iron on interfacing. I didn't have that in my stash but I did have Soft and Stable foam. It had to be sewn in so that added an extra task to each step.
Here are the finished views. The front pocket is fully lined.
That connection has been sewn farther down into the gusset of the bag. I also created the strap this time instead of using pre-made strapping. This one is also adjustable which the original was not..
The quilting is vertical on this bag and I added bias binding to the top instead of using the lining fabric to finish the hammock seam.
I added an elastic expandable pocket for the laptop cord to have it's own storage place.
Several smaller pockets for pencils and other loose items were added this time.
The zipper pocket is the same as the original bag. I noticed my son really used this one. It might be hard to see from these interior pictures but another change was my having to hand sew the lining into this version. My sewing machine did have a hard time when I sewed the straps to the bag. The duck fabric coupled with the soft and stable foam gave it a workout. I did some creative trimming on the foam but by the time I got to finishing the interior, I was tired of wrestling with the arm of my machine and the bulk of the bag.
Here is the back pocket and a view of that adjustable strap. So altogether from start to finish it took me six days to complete this bag. I would estimate I have over 30 hours total invested in putting it together. That includes all of the redesign, layout, cutting and sewing.
Did I go back and rewrite those pattern notes you ask? No I did not. I put them neatly away as I remembered why I didn't do it the first time. I was too exhausted. Proud that I completed the bag but brain dead and ready to move on to an easy project.
My process might look hard or too entailed to you but it is only one way that patterns can be drafted and sewn. You would probably have a different way to make your own and that is perfectly fine. If you have tried in the past and not had success, don't give up. There is no correct way to make this happen. That is why you may enjoy sewing with certain ready made patterns and not others. Reverse engineering is a great way to expand your sewing skills and all of this will follow you toward your next sewing adventure. So are you ready to challenge yourself and try your own pattern? You can do it. 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 creative MOJO has been slightly diminished with the current social distancing and threat of the Covid-19 but I think it is coming back. Check out my blog about how I started to regain my focus and get a little bit happier and HOPEFUL here.
Now back to my most recent project. I have a back porch that I really love to utilize but I did not have a screen door until now. This time of year is perfect for letting those spring breezes freshen up my house. It also invites all of the flying critters in. So I decided to do something about it.
I had a few feet of fiberglass screening mesh in my stash believe it or not. I have sewn beach bags with this in the past and it works great if you haven't tried it. It will do fine on your sewing machine. I also had some outdoor fabric with a plastic coating on it. Kind of like that tablecloth material but thicker. It doesn't ravel on the edges either so great for this project.
A Teflon sewing foot helped me guide the fabric and mesh through without any problems.
I laid everything out and used clips to hold the pieces together as I sewed. It was large so I had to take my time.
Now my view from my house is a little different and I love it. The fabric on the bottom makes it look like a screen door. It is not permanent though. So I can remove it in bad weather or when the season ends.
Grommets and cup hooks helped me mount everything. I did have to add a small amount of length to the bottom because I mounted the cup hooks on top of the frame instead of in it. So I would advise you to cut your bottom panel a little longer than what you think you will need just in case you decide it would work better.
Here you see the bottom view and that addition. I used a piece of 1x2 lumber inside a casing to weight the bottom and keep the panel flat as it hangs. Also, it does a good job of making sure that screen doesn't fly into the doorway as the wind blows. Small magnets and hot glue secured the panel so it clicks into place. I had a very windy day to test it out and so far so good.
You can open it easily to step in or out of the door. My dogs have become accustomed to it and they tried it a couple of times but now will just stand there and wait for me to open it. I have used the cheaper screen covers and purchased one each season because they will tear at the bottom. I hope this fabric will increase the time this cover lasts.
Here are the final measurements for the fabric and the screen. You may need to alter these according to your frame and door size. I also did a You Tube Video that you can watch the whole sewing process 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!
There is a movement across the country to sew and donate face masks. I did a blog post a couple of days ago with a mask pattern and shoe lace ties. You can see that here. When individuals and groups began sewing masks most of the patterns used elastic. I thought it might be difficult for people to acquire with everyone staying in their homes. Also, several comments I saw on forums stated elastic was getting difficult to order online. The idea to use alternative materials like shoelaces worked and the masks have been holding up great. Today I wanted to post an easy way to create mask ties from fabric. Most patterns advise using bias binding that is pre-made or making your own
You can use a binder foot to sew fabric ties very easily. These ties are not as wide as bias binding, but they are very durable with all the raw edges being enclosed. This particular sewing foot is not a standard attachment but you might have one in your sewing feet and not realize it. I actually have one for my sewing machine and one for my serger. Binder feet are used to add binding to quilts and other projects like vest and jacket edges. In most instances you would have the binding being attached to other fabric. Here, you are sewing just the strip of fabric by itself and it works great. Most people that sew love to try and buy additional feet because they really do make short work of sewing tasks. If you don't have one, look in your machine manual and see if they are available for your model.
This is what the foot looks like. It has a curved center and might seem intimidating but it is magical when you see how easily the fabric is folded and sewn in one step.
I usually start by trimming my fabric to the correct width. Here you see I have an assembly line going with my strips. My particular foot requires the strips to be 15/16th of an inch wide. I have tried sewing them just a little shy of this and they still work great.
I trim the end to a point and that makes it easier to slide into the curved part of the foot. The fabric goes in with the pretty side facing to the right.
A pair of tweezers will assist in pulling the fabric through under the foot. I have my stitch on center needle with 2.5 mm width and 2.5 mm length. Verify all of these settings according to your machine and binder foot.
You make sure that the foot is lowered and hold the fabric at the same angle as the foot for smooth sewing.
Fabric strips go in and sewn ties come out with no exposed edges. As long as you hold that fabric at an angle and feed it smoothly, the foot will fold everything in place allowing the machine to sew beautiful fabric ties. These would be similar to spaghetti straps. If you want to do some relaxing sewing, this will certainly do the trick to watch these little ties being created with minimal work on your part.
Check out the mound of fabric ties I have been able to sew. Now all I have to do is cut out my fabric for masks and insert these into whatever pattern I am using. This has shortened my preparation time because all I am doing is trimming my fabric across the grain and letting the foot do the work. I pressed my fabric flat before I made my cuts and have not done anything else to prepare it. The fabric doesn't need to be cut on the bias because I won't be going around any curves. Everything is straight sewing when creating these ties. So if you have a binder foot in your tools, give it a try. Just look up the recommended fabric width for your foot. I have a video below showing my foot in action. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work! If you are interested in donating face masks to very needy organizations, visit WENEEDMASKS.ORG
Many states are in dire need and would welcome home sewn masks. Look for your area and I bet there is an organization close to you having made a request. If you know an organization that needs masks, point them in the direction of the WENEEDMASKS.ORG website so they can add their contact information and address to make a request. This is a legitimate site being spearheaded by the Sewing and Craft Alliance and American Sewing Guild.
****See updated pattern available below***
There has been an abundance of face mask requests from all over the USA as institutions are currently in need. I am a member of the American Sewing Guild and they are assisting with the effort. A website has been established that will allow requests to be made by any organization for sewn face masks. People who are able to sew are needed and all of the information is here. www.weneedmasks.org
If you are able to sew or know someone who can donate, please visit the website and see if your state has any needs. It is being updated daily.
There are so many free patterns available on the weneedmasks.org site and the internet in general. Many different and specific types from each hospital or medical center have been requested so every skill level will be able to help. Since the movement has begun, I have seen online comments that some people are ordering elastic from the Big Box stores. In these trying times, some basic items have become harder to find. I worry that some people may not be able to get elastic so I wanted to contribute a pattern that did not require it and used an alternative material. So here is a mask that is comfortably curved and has shoestring ties that are easily attached by top-stitching. These shoe strings may be easier to find right now. In fact, I got mine from Dollar Tree. If you can't find them, ribbon or bias tape would be a great substitution. If you can cut out a simple pattern and sew a straight line, you can complete these masks.
It requires four pieces of fabric and two shoelaces. There are no gathers or tucks so it is simple to sew but curved around your chin for a comfortable fit. The ties make it easy to customize depending on how tight you want to wear it. Like other home sewn masks, this is not approved by the Centers For Disease Control as PPE Protection and no claim of disease prevention is made. I sewed several for our home and we use them to help remind us to keep our hands away from our faces. It's amazing how often we touch surfaces and then touch our face. The medical centers are saying they will be able to use the sewn masks in certain circumstances to aid with their medical supply rationing. So check out the site to see if your area might need donations. If you are like me, you have extra fabric in your stash. You may also be at home and working on a project would make you feel very productive. I would use precaution with this type of mask for children because of the ties. A mask with elastic would probably be preferable for smaller children so keep that in mind if you decide to sew these for your loved ones.
So are you ready to sew a face mask? The project won't take very long and I have a pattern in a PDF document you can download below. The pattern does not include pictures but I also have a video below showing all of the construction that you can watch. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone , especially now, will appreciate your hard work! Be well.
****Updated pattern below- New design includes curved top for ease around eye area, added pipe cleaner nose piece and only one shoelace needed on bottom. Use a Cord stop fastener to hold in place. See pictures below. Stitches the same as original with exception adding the pipe cleaner in the nose area. The cord stop makes it easy to tighten and loosen. Curved area around eyes works great with glasses***
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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