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Inspired By: Sewing with Vintage Sheets

Today I'm feeling inspired by these lovely sewing projects made with vintage sheets.

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Round Up: Tea Towel Tote Bags

I love picking up tea towels, both vintage and just "pretty", when I see them. I was thinking about how fantastic it would be to use them to make tote bags and I found plenty of inspiration on the web.

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Round Up: 9 Gifts to Sew for Men

 A little inspiration for Father's Day sewing.

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Round-Up: Pillowcase Dresses to Sew

The other day my neighbor said to me, "I bought some dresses from Hanna Andersson and thought that you could totally make these". And she's right, she bought pillowcase dresses from Hanna Andersson. And I thought to myself, "why have I never made one?" There are a ton of tutorials on the web and endless variations. I put together a little round-up of some of my favorites.

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Round Up: 7 Big Bags to Sew

Sometimes a girl just needs a big roomy bag, no? Probably some guys, too! Here's a little round-up of some of my favorites.

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[Disclosure: Any links to books link to my Amazon Affliate shop where I receive a very small commision from sales]

Round-Up: 12 Felt Flowers to Inspire

Today, I'm feeling inspired by pretty and happy felt flowers. Here are twelve to inspire:

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Tutorial Round-Up: 18 Hearts to Sew

For those of you looking to do some Valentine sewing, here are 18 pretty hearts to sew (all are tutorials).

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See anything you want to make?

Kids Craft: Gingerbread Man Felt Ornament

This is a really easy craft for kids (and adults) that can be made with a minimum of supplies and skill. I'd estimate the age level at 6 and up (with help from grown-ups), but my 4-year-old was able to help with some aspects of this craft.

Supplies needed:

  • Brown felt
  • White embroidery floss
  • Embroidery needle
  • Fiber-fil
  • Scissors
  • Disappearing ink pen (or chalk)
  • Gingerbread man cookie cutter (or download pattern)

Trace cookie cutter to make 2 gingerbread men. Do as I say and not as I do here and make sure your disappearing ink pen shows up on your felt. You can also use chalk.

(Optional) Mark Xs where to cross stitch eyes, mouth and buttons. It's pretty easy to figure out where they go without the markings.

Using the full 6 string thickness of the embroidery thread, cut the string rather short to prevent knots. Knot the bottom of the string. I found that both my 6-year-old and my 11-year-old had no problem with the large Xs, but I did the small Xs for the mouth for my 6-year-old.

When finished with the face, snake the thread through the back of the stitches to secure and cut. Then stitch Xs for the buttons the same way as for the face (short string, knot on end, snake through back of stitches when done).

Estimate the amount of thread needed for sewing around the outside of ornament by circling the thread around it as above and cutting a little extra.

Sew the two pieces together using a running stitch around the perimeter of the ornament. Hide the knot by starting the stitching in the middle of the "sandwich" (see photo above).

When stitching around the perimeter of the ornament, be sure needle catches both top and bottom pieces. Depending on the age of the child, help child hold the two pieces together so they remain straight.

Leave a hole in the side to stuff with fiber-fil. 

After stuffing, stitch the hole closed hiding the end piece of the last stitch in the middle of the "sandwich" by piercing only one layer of the felt. Tie a knot as close as possible to the inside of the ornament and tuck inside.

Use a length of embroidery thread to make a loop at the top of the head for a hanger. Tie and turn knot to bottom to hide.

We had fun with different colors of embroidery thread and made sugar-cookie-men in addition to gingerbread men!

To include younger children: let them choose colors and let them hold the cookie cutter while you trace. When stitching, after you pierce the felt with the needle, let them pull the thread all the way through. Consider using a straight upholstery needle, which is dull (a little difficult to push through the felt, but doable) and let them do some of the sewing.

Most of all - have fun!

Handmade Gifts for a Baby Boy

Now that the baby shower has passed I can show you the handmade gifts I made for my soon-to-be-born nephew!

Above is the quilt. As a novice quilt-maker (can't call myself a quilter yet), I felt I had to stick to something simple. The time between finding out the gender of the baby to baby shower was very short and I didn't want this to become a quilt I'd give her when he turns 12 years old. I chose fabric that could do all the talking and went with wide stripes (after having auditioned many more fabrics and widths). Their nursery theme is animals and sports (via Babies-R-Us) with browns, blues, greens and oranges. Somehow my scheme ended up with mostly greens and oranges. I followed my own Quick Baby Shower Quilt Tutorial.

The fabrics are:

  • Green Squiggle from I Heart by Rashida Coleman Hale
  • Orange Sock Monkey from 5 Funky Monkeys by Erin Michael
  • Rings in Chocolate from Metro Living by Robert Kaufman
  • Woodland Life Retro Panel from Critter Community by Suzy Ultman
  • Racer Stripes Green from Children at Play by Sarah Jane (also on back)
  • Elephant Dots in Earth from Urban Circus by Laurie Wisbrun

I also made a set of burp cloths, somewhat coordinating with the quilt (using scraps where I had them). I had originally planned to make these with cloth diapers which were some of my favorite burp cloths when my girls were babies. However, I did an informal poll on Twitter and read a few comments here and there about how cloth diapers seem to repel the, um, liquid. That didn't seem to match my personal experience. So, when I was at a store that sells them, I opened one of the name brands of cloth diapers (don't worry, it was a reclosable package!) and lo-and-behold, the fabric seemed to have some sort of coating on it. My guess it keeps the baby dry and soaks in the, um, liquid. And of course they are designed for large amounts of liquid with a different chemistry. My guess is that the "technology" of the cloth diaper is different than the 11-year-old ones in my possession. Also, mine came from an odd-lots store, so while they are that famous name brand, they were probably already "out-dated" 11 years ago.

Now, I'm sure there are many brands and types of cloth diapers. And possibly with more research I could have found what I was looking for, but they are also quite expensive. AND, I came across this great tutorial from Made By Rae. And she claims her burp cloths are THE BEST. And hers used supplies I already had on hand. So I had a winner.

Made By Rae's tutorial uses knit fabric on one side and gauze or cotton fabric on the other. She demonstrates how to use a t-shirt for the knit side. AND it just so happened that my poor husband had bought some new undershirts (yes, I'm using that word because that's what they are!) He threw them in the laundry prior to use and ... they ... shrunk. No, he did not buy a "famous" brand or a store brand (I believe they pre-shrink their fabric), but rather a "designer" brand. So these 100% cotton knit t-shirts were now the same width but shrunk up in the length like some sort of sad belly shirt. It was really quite funny. And fortunate for me. For the rest of the burp cloths I used some scraps that happened to coordinate nicely from my collection of Michael Miller / Patty Young jerseys. By the way, I pre-washed all the fabrics in hot water for the burp cloths.

WOW, that's a lot of words about burp cloths! Thanks for sticking around! Do you have any strong opinions (or not-so-strong) about burp cloths? Do you have a go-to quick quilt for baby showers?

Round Up: 12 Laptop Sleeves or Bags To Sew

Laptop sleeves and/or bags make a great gifts and there is no shortage of tutorials on the web. Here are a dozen featuring different techniques and fabric choices to inspire your own gift-making.

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Round-Up: 12 Softies to Sew

Softies certainly make cute holiday or shower gifts! Here are twelve softie sewing patterns to inspire you:

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Back to School Round-Up: 12 Lunch Bags to Sew

Here's a project I've always wanted to do: school lunch bags. I have too much on my plate right now to be able to make these by the time school starts, but this could be a project a little later down the road (and they always have last year's bags to use in the mean time). Following are some of my favorites from around the web that have different advantages. Have you made lunch bags? Do you have a favorite pattern or tutorial?

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Back to School: 9 Pencil Pouches to Sew

Are you thinking about "Back To School" yet? I know I am. Even though the kids don't go back until September, this last month of summer is when the anticipation for cooler temps and school starts to build. 

To inspire some Back To School sewing, here's a little round-up of pencil pouch tutorials of many styles:

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Eco-Friendly Sewing: 11 Holiday Decoration Ideas

If you're looking to do some eco-friendly sewing for the holidays, here are seven ideas for decorations and/or ornaments.

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Twelve Pretty Gift Ideas to Sew

Today I have twelve more gift ideas to sew to help kick-start your holiday sewing (see previous posts here, here and here). 

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Twelve Gift Ideas to Sew for Children

Continuing on the theme of getting-ready-for-holiday-sewing (see previous posts here and here), today's focus is sewing for children. I didn't divide it between boy and girl, because you're the best judge of that, but I think there are projects here that almost any child would love to receive as a gift.

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Seven Eco-Friendly Gift Ideas to Sew

Continuing with the "get ready for holiday sewing" theme, I present you with seven ideas for eco-friendly gifts. Start gathering materials and felting sweaters!

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Quilted Throws: 10 Free Patterns or Tutorials

I'm just going to say it. If you plan to sew holiday gifts this year, it's time to get started. At the very least, it's time to start planning. This week I'm going to help you (and me) out a bit with some ideas to get your planning underway.

Quilted throws always make nice gifts, but even the easiest ones can be a bit time-consuming so don't wait until the last minute! You'll be trying to bake cookies and send (make?) cards in December, too, you know! Here is a round-up of ten free patterns or tutorials of quilted throws that I think could be made by beginners (also quick projects for those more experienced).

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