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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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Clockwise from top left:

 

 

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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Clockwise from top left:

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!

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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Summertime Crafty Wreath Round-Up

Some pretty wreaths for your summertime decor, all incorporating the use of fabric.

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Sustainable Style: T-Shirt Tote Bag DIY Round-Up

I love these t-shirt totes that are taking the DIY community by storm! They can be as easy or customized as you want them to be. There are a lot of tutorials and DIYs on the web, I rounded up a bunch for you to peruse.

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And a few more takes on the t-shirt tote:

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Linen and Lace Table Runner (How To Make)

This week on The Long Thread, Ellen is featuring ideas for incorporating handmade items into your wedding. My contribution is this fairly easy Linen and Lace Table Runner. I imagine this being used in outdoor garden-type weddings and more! Here's the How-To:

Materials:

  • Linen fabric in the measurement you need
  • Lace remnants
  • Thread to match linen
  • Thread to match lace
  • Usual tools for sewing (scissors or rotary cutter, sewing machine, ruler)

  1. Measure your table. Consider whether you want the runner to hang off the side and how far down. Add three inches to each the length and width you decided upon.
  2. Turn and press the edges up one inch and another half inch (to hide the edge in the hem). Stitch hem closed around perimeter of runner.
  3. Decide on the lace you would like to use by auditioning different pieces and their placement. I liked the look of three rows but more or fewer rows could give a different look.
  4. Top stitch the lace to the runners. I pinned down the lace and used a straight stitch when I could hide it in the design. When I felt the straight stitches might show up too much on the lace, I used a zig zag stitch with a short width and a long length. I stitched along both the top and bottom of the lace.
  5. Trim the lace to the width of the runner.
  6. You are finished!

Notes:

  • Linen is a bit tricky to get straight and perfect. I do not mind a "wonky" look with linen and didn't let it bother me. 
  • If you don't have a bunch of lace remnants (unlike me!) and will be shopping for them, I thought it looked better to have the colors of the lace match.