Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Faux fur slip through scarf tutorial

My, oh my!  Sorry that it has been so long since my last post.  The holidays are always such a busy time for me.  This year, my husband and I traveled to Germany at the beginning of December to visit the holiday Christmas markets.  I'll tell you about that in my next post.  Today, I want to share a really cute faux fur scarf that I discovered at Aesthetic Nest.  It is easy to sew and would be perfect for the cold weather that is ahead...it is 16 degrees here today in Western New York!  I love the slip through feature of this scarf.  It will stay put- nice and cozy.

The sizing is perfect for a child but easily could be enlarged for an adult.  I'm thinking animal prints or some of the neat textured furs. Check out the well written tutorial at  http://www.aestheticnest.com/2013/02/sewing-faux-fur-slip-through-scarf.html and stay warm!


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Last minute table runner- free pattern

Are you getting nervous because the holidays are coming so quickly?  Are all those ideas for projects still on the cutting table with no hopes of being completed?  I know the feeling!  Sometimes I just long for a quick and easy project that looks good when it is finished.  I don't want to give a gift that looks like I just threw it together.  With that in mind...

The Last Minute Table Runner

This little runner is quick to make and is a free pattern!  Start with three different fabrics.

Cut the center panel according to the dimensions in the pattern.  For this focus fabric, I left a 1/4" edge to account for the seam allowance.

Add the end strips and cut the triangles for the ends.

Place the completed top and the backing piece right sides together and sew around the outside edge, leaving an opening for turning.  Clip corners, turn, press and slip stitch the opening closed.  Edge stitch around the outer edge.

For you free pattern check under the free pattern tab on this site, download and start sewing!


Friday, December 6, 2013

Professional looking pillows- Part Three- Piping

Finally!  I know that I have been promising part three of this pillow talk but these holiday preparations and sewing for hire have been taking more time than I thought they would.  Does that ever happen to you?  Anyway...lets talk about adding piping to a pillow.  I like to make my own piping.  It is really pretty simple and it adds a nice designer touch.  I figure the length by measuring the total outside edge of the pillow.  If my pillow is 16", I multiply 16" by 4 for a total of 64", then I add about 4".  I cut a bias strip 1 1/2" by that length.  Cutting bias strips is easy.  Just line up the 45 degree line on you ruler with the selvage of your fabric and cut.

Join strips together to equal the total length needed.  Next, you will wrap the strip around 1/4" cording and stitch.  I try to stitch about 1/8" away from the cord because I don't want this stitching to show when I stitch the piping onto the pillow.

Pin the piping to the pillow front, matching the raw edge of the piping to the raw edge of the pillow.

When you get around to the starting point, overlap your end by about one inch and clip.

Open the seam of the bias overlap about one inch and snip off the cord.

Fold under the edge of this overlap about 1/2 inch and tuck the starting edge inside. Pin.

Sew the piping onto the pillow front, getting as close to the cording as possible.  A zipper foot is helpful for getting nice and close.

Lay the back of the pillow right side up on your work surface.  If you have inserted a zipper or buttons, be sure that the back is partially unzipped or unbuttoned so you will be able to turn the pillow right side out. Place the front (with piping) on top of the back, right side down so right sides are together.  Pin well.  Sew all the way around, sewing precisely over the piping stitching.

 Clip the corners.

Turn the pillow right side out, push out the corners and insert the pillow form.

Striped fabric, cut on the bias, makes an interesting piping, as do other prints.  Don't be afraid to try something a bit different!


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Easy gift bag- nice!

Oh dear!  It is December already....are you ready for the big day?  No matter how early I start, I always find something at the last minute that I want to make for a gift.  I think my holiday sewing is just about complete but I did find these little gift bags that are just so darn cute!

To download the free pattern, click here.  I am thinking that these would be great for small gifts for friends or filled with candy for a hostess gift.  Have fun!


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Holiday Ornaments

Well, it is Thanksgiving week and that makes me think of cooking, cleaning, baking, and.....sewing!  I found these cute ornaments and think that I may have to make some.

  I am not usually a big fan of things made with little embroidery hoops for frames but I think these may be an exception!  You do have to join allpeoplequilt.com in order to download the pattern but it is free and so worth it.  They have some great patterns and ideas. Interested?  Click here to get your free patterns and get stitching.  They also give directions for the needed embroidery stitches so if you are a novice, fear not!
These would also make great tie-ons for gifts, don't you think?
Happy Thanksgiving!


Thursday, November 21, 2013

Wine Stem coaster tutorial- quick and easy!

Hi again.  I know that we are supposed to be talking pillows and I will get back to that but I had to share these cute, super easy wine stem coasters.
 You can make these in no time...I made 8 in less than an hour!  For each coaster, you will need five 4" cotton squares and one 4" square of cotton batting.  I decided to use four different fabrics.
Choose 1 square to be the bottom of the coaster and set this aside.  Fold and press each of the remaining 4 squares wrong sides together to measure 4"x 2".  Next comes the layering.  Start with the batting square and place the square of backing on top of it with the wrong side of the fabric facing the batting.
Each of the pressed 2"x 4" pieces are placed overlapping on top of the right side of the backing piece as shown below.  Be sure to place the folded edges toward the center!
Step 1
Step 2

Step 3
Step 4
Secure these folded layers with 2 or 3 pins and sew a 1/4" seam all the way around the outside edge.

Clip the corners and turn right side out through the overlapping layers.  Press and you are done!

Wouldn't these make great hostess gifts?  I think I will make them in different fabrics for holiday parties so guests will be able to identify their glasses without wine charms. :)



Sunday, November 17, 2013

Faux fur- So trendy!

        I was visiting a friend over the past few days and she has been redecorating her living room.  It looks beautiful!  She bought a new couch and added a cool faux fur throw.  I got to thinking about it and realized that I have been seeing lots of fur in decorating.  I even saw a fur garland for Christmas decorating....hmmm...I'm not sure about that!
       My talented daughter in law,Amy, at eat.sleep.decorate recently did a post about using fur in decorating and in fashion. I think she has the right idea.  A little fur goes a long way and can really add some fun to your room.  So why am I going on about faux fur?  Why buy a throw or pillow when you can make one?  And...why pay full price for fur when you can find it on sale?  That"s right!  But you will need to act quickly because the sale at fabric.com  ends tomorrow.  There is even a tutorial for making a throw and pillow.

So hop to it!  What could  be better than a cozy bit of fur this holiday season!


Thursday, November 14, 2013

Professional Looking Pillows- Easier that you think! (Part 2)

It is almost the weekend...a good time to think about making a new pillow!  Last time we talked about using the DritzHome Pillow Corner Template to avoid those baggy corners.  Today, let's think about some easy and decorative ways to make the opening for the pillow form.  I like to be able to remove the form because it is much easier to store the pillow case without the bulky form.  Also, I like to reuse my forms and save some $$$.
The quickest and easiest method is to make a two piece back for the pillow and overlap them.  It is important to make the overlap deep enough so that it doesn't pull open once the puffy form is inserted.  I usually allow for a 6-7" overlap so if I am covering a 16" pillow form, I will cut my two back panel pieces
16"x 13".  I then fold under 1/4" along the 16" edge and then again 1/2" so there is a nice finished edge.  Stitch along this edge close to the folded edge.

Next, overlap these two pieces with the right sides up and adjust to measure 16"x 16".

  Lay your pillow front, which should also measure 16"x 16" right side down on top of the two back pieces.  Mark the corners using the DritzHome Pillow Corner Template (See part 1 of this pillow post!), trim, pin and stitch around the entire outer edge taking a 1/2" seam.  Trim the corners, turn right side out and insert your pillow form.  Simple and quick!

A variation of this method involves using buttons and buttonholes on the overlapping panels.  I usually use 3 buttons.  Make the button holes near the edge of one of the panels.  I usually put a piece of fusible midweight interfacing on the wrong side of the fabric to give my button holes a bit more stability.

  Center one button hole on one of the panels and then measure out equal distances on each side.  For this 16" pillow, I measured down 1/2" and centered the first button hole at the 8" mark.  I then measured out 4" to each side and marked for the other two holes.

  Overlap the panels and mark on the other panel so that you know where to sew the buttons.  Sew the buttons and button the two panels together, leaving the center button unbuttoned. Place this right side up and position the pillow front right side down on top.  Finish the pillow as described above.

You can also insert a zipper as a closure for the back of your pillow.  For a 16" pillow, cut 2 pieces:
one 16"x 3 1/2" and one 16"x 13 1/2".  Fold under one of the 16" edges of each piece by 1/2" and press well. Choose a zipper that is at least 2" longer than the width of your pillow.  Place the zipper right side up on your work surface.  With the fabric pieces right sides up place the folds of the back pieces along the zipper teeth.  The zipper should extend beyond the fabric on both sides.

Stitch close to the fold along both edges.  A zipper foot is very useful here.  Check to make sure that your back measures 16" x 16" and trim if needed.
This next step is important!  Before you place your pillow front right side down on top of the back, be sure to open the zipper half way.  There is nothing more frustrating than sewing all the way around your pillow and realizing that you cannot turn it!
Well, that about wraps up pillow backs.  In part three of our pillow post, we will talk about adding piping, decorative stitches and other neat elements.  See you then!


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Neat bobbins- So clever!

Hi there, sewing enthusiasts!  Last time I said that we would continue talking about professional looking pillows but I have to admit that I have been swamped with other sewing obligations this week.  I will get to it soon!  I hope you will find this little hint today as helpful as I have.  A fellow pattern designer shared this idea with me several years ago and since then, I have had no problem with unwinding bobbins when I am going to classes or retreats.  I think the picture is self explanatory!  (Yes, those are toe separators...)


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Professional looking pillows- Easier than you think! (Part 1)

Hello again.  I don't know if you are like me but I love to decorate with pillows.  They are such an easy way to add color to a room or change up your color scheme.  I generally change out my pillows with the seasons.  for the next few posts, I am going to share some things that I have learned that have really helped to improve my pillow making.  For years I was frustrated with the corners of my homemade pillows.  I called it the "bunny ears syndrome."  Pillow forms never filled out the corners of my pillow.  It was maddening!

Then I was introduced to the DritzHome Pillow Corner Template
.  Hurray!  This little tool really works and is so easy to use.  It comes with great directions and can be used with square or rectangular pillows.
 Here is how it works:
                       1. Cut your fabric the same size as your pillow form.  That's right..no extra for seams!    
                       2. In one corner, position the template with the straight edges lined up with your cut edges.

                       3. Trace around the curved edge of the template and mark the dot where indicated.
                       4. Reposition the template at each of the remaining 3 corners and repeat.
                       5. Cut the fabric on the lines.

Then, with right sides together,  you sew around the edge, taking a 1/2" seam.  Pivot at the dots that you made in the corners.  You can leave an opening in the seam to insert your pillow form and then slip stitch it closed or for some better options...stay tuned.  Next time we will talk about overlapping the back, adding zippers, buttons and ties.  You won't want to miss it!


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Free sewing kit pattern

Happy Wednesday, friends!  One of my favorite sites for free patterns and really neat ideas is sewing it up from all free sewing.  This little sewing kit is just an example of the great projects that are available.

For the free pattern, click here.  Wouldn't these be great gifts for your sewing friends?  While you are there, check out Amy's awesome site, Nana Company.  I am loving her projects!  Till next time....


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Felting your own wool-so easy!

Hello friends! Last time, we talked about wool and using it for applique.  Felted wool works best for applique because it doesn't ravel while you are applying it to the background fabric.  Unfortunately, felted wool can be a bit pricey.  In an effort to keep my wool obsession from breaking the bank, I started to felt it myself.  My favorite source for wool to felt is my local thrift store.  I look for 100% wool sweaters.  Wool blends will not felt so look at the label for fabric content.

   Felting makes the fabric shrink considerably so I usually look for men's sweaters.

The felting process is so easy.  Because there is quite a bit of lint generated in the felting process, I start by putting my sweater in a zipper pillow cover....it saves cleaning out the washing machine later!

Fill your washing machine with hot water and add about 1-2 tablespoons of liquid laundry detergent.  Adding something heavy like an old pair of jeans of a throw rug will help the felting process.  Add the sweater and let the machine agitate on the longest cycle available.  Before it spins out for the rinse cycle, turn the dial on the machine back to the beginning of the wash cycle so that it repeats the agitation.  I find it works best to let the wool "wash" for about 30-40 minutes before it goes through the rinse cycle.

Remove the sweater from the washer and place it in the dryer on a high setting. Again there is lint, so I check my lint trap several times during the drying.  When it is dry, the wool is ready for use.  Your sweater will be a lot smaller than the one with which you started!

Felted wool is water and heat resistant so it makes great coasters like this one.

 Mittens like this one are going to be used for gift card wrappings.  You can see that the cuff of the sweater makes a great top for the mitten.  The mittens were so easy to make.  Just cut two pieces of felted wool in the shape of a mitten.  (I used a large cookie cutter for my pattern.)  Applique a design on one of the pieces if desired.
Then sew the two sides together.  I used a button hole stitch with three strands of embroidery floss.

This white wool star ornament is embellished with silver stitches,a vintage glass button and tiny pearl beads.

This felting process is easy, fun and can provide you with a neat variety of wool felt.  Give it a try!