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!