Personalized Straight Pins

I recently made some fancy pins to give to my friends. They feature each friend’s first and last initials, and they are meant to be decorative but useful. Aren’t they cute?

I got the idea for these pins from Fancy Nancy, and her directions are terrific. To make my pins, I bought alphabet beads, corsage pins, glue, and some fancy beads from JoAnne’s. I slipped the first bead on, hit the pin with a dab of glue, put the next bead on and glued it, and so on until I was done. I don’t know if I needed to glue each bead, but I wanted them to stay so that’s what I did. After adding the beads to each pin, I gently scraped off the excess glue my fingernail and then left the pins to dry overnight.

I made myself some alphabet pins from the leftover materials. I’ll use this pins to mark the column a block belongs to in a finished quilt, so I can sew my blocks together correctly. I think the pins will also be helpful for organizing those tiny scraps needed for foundation piecing. My plan is to buy number beads so I can make matching row markers as well, to help label each row after laying out a quilt on a design wall.

The pins were not difficult to make, nor did they take much time. They would make a special gift for a quilting friend!

Fabric Luggage Tags

My husband has begun to travel a lot for business. Just recently, he returned from a trip to London where he enjoyed the sights, smells, and tastes of Great Britain. There was one thing he didn’t enjoy as much however: having to patiently convince the passengers on his flight that his bag was indeed his.

Apparently, this happens all the time to Scott. He stands by the luggage carousel looking for his bag and before he can grab it, someone else has swooped in to claim it as their own. “That’s my bag,” he’ll begin. “No, I have a blue bag!” comes the reply. “The tag has my name on it,” replies Scott with the patience of a parent talking to a toddler. “But my bag is blue!” comes the reply.

And on it goes, until Scott reveals what is stowed in a small outside pocket—an innocuous item that only he could have placed there. It’s strange, but it’s his pocketed item that finally convinces his fellow traveler to let go of Scott's suitcase and come back to reality.

I’m recently decided to make my husband a set of distinctive luggage tags. Do I think a simple tag will be enough to convince Scott's fellow travelers to leave his luggage alone? Frankly, no. But the personalized tag will be one more piece of armor in the Scott's never-ending battle of “That’s mine, let go.”

For one luggage tag you’ll need:

  • Tag Body: One 5”x3-3/4” rectangle, one 4”x4” square, and one 1-1/2”x4” rectangle
  • Accent strip: Two 3/4”x3-1/2” rectangles, two 5”x3/4” rectangles, one 1”x4” rectangle
  • Strap: One 1-1/2”x13” strip
  • Thin upholstery vinyl scrap: One 3-3/4”x2-1/2” rectangle
Long ago, I purchased some thin upholstery vinyl at Joanne’s in their home-dec department. I keep the vinyl on-hand to use in testing out quilting patterns (simply overlay your quilt with the vinyl and mark the quilting pattern using a dry-erase marker) and for marking applique placement for applique blocks (trace the applique placement diagram from your pattern onto the vinyl using a Sharpie Oil Based marker). I recommend buying more than a scrap of vinyl and keeping some on hand—it’s ever so useful!

Sew the strap

Fold the 1-1/2”x13” strip in half lengthwise WST (wrong sides together) and press. Sew along the 13” length. Turn right side out and press.

If you want, sew down the middle of the strap several times to add stiffness and structure.

Sew the Tag Front

Sew the 3/4”x3-1/2” Accent rectangles on either side of the Tag Body 5”x3-3/4” rectangle. Press towards the Tag Body rectangle.

Sew the two 5”x3/4” rectangles to either side of the Tag Front. Press toward the Tag Body.

Sew vinyl to the Tag Front

Center the vinyl rectangle on the Tag Front. Stitch very close to the edge on three sides. Do not stitch on one of the short 2-1/2” sides. That way, you’ll be able to slip your business card in and use it to identify your luggage to stubborn luggage thieves. Be sure to backstitch at the beginning and end of the seam.

Attach the strap

Form a loop with the strap. Lay the ends of the strap on the back side of the Tag front, along the side with the vinyl opening. The loop should point towards the center of the Tag Front.

Sew, running your stitches back and forth over the strap ends to secure them. Keep your stitches within the 1/4” seam allowance so they won’t show later on.

Sew the Tag Back

Sew the 4”x4” Tag Body square to one side of the 1”x4” Accent rectangle. Press towards the Tag Body.

Sew the 1-1/2”x4” rectangle to the other side of the Accent rectangle. Press towards the Tag Body.

Sew the luggage tag together

Layer the top face up and the back with its Accent strip face down. Place the Accent strip at the end furthest from the strap end. Pin.

Sew around the perimeter, leaving a gap for turning. Backstitch at the beginning and end of the seam.

Trim corners. Turn right side out.

Turn under the seam allowance at the gap and press, being careful not to touch the iron to the vinyl.

Wonky Tree Block Mug Rugs

I love making mug rugs for several reasons—one of which is that they make cute, easy to make gifts. They are also so easy to personalize.

For a Christmas party hostess gift, I recently whipped up a set of mug rugs. You can use any quilt block to make yours, but if you like these wonky trees, I can show you how I made them.

To make my wonky tree mug rugs, you’ll need:

Green fabric: Two 6” squares

White fabric: Two 6” squares

Batting and backing, cut to the same size of trimmed squares

Cut your block pieces

Lay one white square on top of one green square, both right sides up. Angle your ruler and make a cut. Gently pull the side pair away.

Make your next cut to create a tree. You can make your tree fat or skinny, as you like.

Repeat with the other set of white/green squares to create a total of four cut tree blocks (2 pairs).

Sew the left side of the tree block

Take a pair of matched green/white cut squares. Lay the left white background wedge down, right side up. Place the green tree section on top of it. Lay the tree section on the background wedge so that its top point overlaps the background by 1/4”. Pin and sew. Press to the dark.

Repeat for the other pairs, sewing and pressing.

Sew the right side of the tree block

Lay the right white background wedge on top of the green tree, pin and sew. Press to the dark.

Repeat for the other pairs.

Square up the blocks

Although a mug rug doesn’t have to be square, that’s how I like them so I squared up my blocks to 5” square. When trimming, make sure you cut at least 1/4” away from the point of your tree so it doesn’t get cut off in the seam allowance when you make the mug rugs.

Make the wonky blocks into mug rugs

Cut four backing and batting squares the same size as your trimmed blocks. In my case, I needed to cut my backing and batting into 5” squares. Then I followed the steps in my tutorial here to create the mug rugs.

I quilted my wonky tree mug rugs by quilting in the ditch around the tree, and then quilting across the tree using various decorative stitches. It was fun putting some of those stitches on my sewing machine to good use!

Triangle Thread Catcher

I attended a quilt retreat recently where they hosted several demos. The first thing they showed us how to make was a triangle thread catcher.

I have no idea where the shop got this pattern, or if it's their own. I did a quick Google search through the vast Internet sea of tutorials and noticed there were plenty. Here's my addition to the Tutorial Sea:

Start by cutting out some 60 degree (equilateral) triangles—one for the outer fabric, one for the lining, and one out of batting. The larger the triangles, the bigger your thread catcher will be.

Layer the outer and inner fabrics right sides together, then place the batting on top. Sew around the perimeter, leaving an opening for turning.

Clip the points, turn the triangle right side out and press. Fold in the seam allowance at the opening and topstitch around the perimeter of the triangle to close it.

Bring two of the points together. Sew the side up from the bottom towards the points. How far up do you sew? I dunno. All I know is you want to be able to fold down the point later on and not have it touch the floor.

Repeat, sewing the other two sides. Stop at the same distance from the end.

Your triangle thread catcher now looks like this.

Use buttons to hold down each point and you’re done! Isn’t it adorable?

Popup Thread Catcher

At a recent quilt retreat, I saw a demo for a popup thread catcher.

The quilt shop that hosted the retreat never told us where they got the pattern, but I can share how I made mine. I’m sure there are tons of tutorials out there for popup thread catchers if you need more details. First off, materials:

  • A circle cut from a Pringles can approximately 1” wide
  • Two circles cut from a cereal box (these circles should just fit inside the Pringle circle)
  • Two circular pieces of fabric for the bottom of the popup, cut larger than the cereal box circles by at least 1/2”
  • A bit of packing strapping—just enough to fit inside the Pringle circle to reinforce it
  • A 9” x 10” fabric rectangle. I wanted my popup to have a top border, so I cut two rectangles 3-1/4” x 10” and sewed them to either side of a 3-1/2” x 10” rectangle

Fold the rectangle RST to form a rectangle 9” x 5”, match your border seams, and sew. Turn right side out and press.

Put the scrap of strapping inside the Pringle circle. Fold the fabric rectangle over the circle so that the fabric encloses the circle on either side. Even up the raw edges. I know this probably doesn't make sense but maybe a photo will help. See the Pringle can ring inside the folded fabric?

Push the circle tight against the top of the border and sew a running stitch just below the circle to hold it in place.

Turn one of the fabric circles wrong side up, then place a cereal box circle on top of it. Sew a running stitch around the edge of the fabric circle and gather it up around the cereal box circle. This is kind of like making a fabric yo-yo. Take a couple of stitches in place to hold the gathers. Repeat for the second fabric/cereal box circle set.

Put the two circles together, right sides out. I used my Clover Wonder Clips to hold the two circles while I sewed them together. This creates the floor of the popup thread catcher.

Hold the floor in place as you whipstitch it to the bottom of the fabric tube. I used my Clover Clips again (handy things!) to hold the floor so I could carefully whipstitch it in place.

That’s it! To pack up your thread catcher, just twist it and stuff the floor into the circle. It’ll stay in place all by itself.

To use your thread catcher, just give it a nudge and it’ll pop up on its own.

Quilted Eyeglass Case

I've been wearing eyeglasses since I was little, so that's probably why I was attracted to the idea of making a quilted eyeglass case. But even if your friends don't wear glasses, I'm betting they wear sunglasses from time to time, or that they "enhance" their vision with drug store cheaters/readers.

No matter what the reason, there's a good chance that someone on your Christmas list would appreciate today's feature in my 12 Days of Christmas Gifts series: a quilted eyeglass case.

Here's what you'll need to make yours:

  • Outer fabric: 7-1/2”x7-1/4”, 1”x7-1/4”, plus seven 1-1/2” squares cut from scraps
  • Inner fabric: 9”x7-1/4”
  • Batting or felt: 9”x7-1/4”
  • Velcro: 1” square

Sew Accent strip

Arrange the seven 1-1/2” squares as you like, then sew them together in a long strip. Press seams in the same direction.

Assemble outer layer

Sew the 1” Outer fabric strip to one side of the Accent strip, and press towards the Outer fabric.  The Outer fabric strip will be a bit smaller—just center the Accent strip on it and sew. Trim the unit even with the edges if the Outer fabric.

Sew the 7-1/2”x7-1/4” Outer fabric rectangle to the other side of the Accent strip. Again, press towards the Outer fabric.

Layer the eyeglass case

Lay the batting/felt, the Inner fabric face up, then the Outer fabric face down. Pin.

Trim and sew the flap

Round the edges of the flap by tracing around a small cup or other round object and then trimming all layers as shown.

Measure down 3-1/4” and 1/4” in on each side and mark with a dot. Sew the flap inward from the edge of the fabric towards the first dot, then around the edge of the flap to the other dot and straight out from the dot to the edge of the fabric.

Backstitch at the beginning and end of the seam.

Trim and sew and Inner end

Measure 1-1/4” down from top edge and 1-1/2” in from the right edge and place a dot. Draw a diagonal line connecting the dot to the corner.

Repeat for other corner—placing your dot and drawing a line connecting it to the corner.

Connect the two lower points with a horizontal line.

Draw a line from each of the corners, 1/4” in from the side and 1” down from the top. Continue the line straight out to the side as shown.

Sew the Inner flap along this line, backstitching at the beginning and end of the seam.

Trim corners.  Trim the seam where needed to 1/4”. Clip inward points.

Flip both ends right side out and press.

Sew the sides

Fold up the bottom, overlapping the body by 2-1/2”. Sew the sides using a 1/8” seam.

Turn inside out and sew the seams again

The seams are now enclosed in a French seam.

Quilt the flap

Pin the eyeglass case with safety pins as you would a large quilt.

Quilt the eyeglass case. I quilted the Accent strip in the ditch, then quilted each square with a curvy X.

Add Velcro closure

Sew the hook side of the Vecro to the front of the eyeglass case, and the loop side to the back side as shown.

Although this is a bit more complex than some of the other items featured in my 12 Days of Christmas Gifts series, I think you will agree that it's worth the extra effort.

Insulated Fabric Wine Glass Coaster

If you occasionally drink wine as I do, you might appreciate a special way of identifying your glass. Even better, this wine glass coaster also helps you protect your delicate tabletops and counters from nasty glass rings.

This coaster includes a touch of insulation that I hope will eliminate any chance of seepage. If you don't happen to have Insul-Bright, feel free to substitute a scrap of fleece or batting instead. The quilting this design has adds a nice festive touch to the coaster.

What a quick and simple hostess gift--and what an excellent way to use up your fabric scraps!

Here’s what you’ll need to make one coaster.

  • Fabric: Six 5” squares
  • Insul-Bright or fleece scrap: One 5” square

Layer Bottom square

Layer the Bottom fabric square (right side down), Insul-Bright square silver side facing up (or fleece), then Top fabric square (right side up). Pin.

In the next step you’ll be quilting the layers together, so I marked my Top Fabric square with some starting lines prior to layering.

Quilt Bottom square

Quilt the layers however you want—just so they don’t shift. I quilted a few intersecting lines that were fast and easy.

Press fabric squares in half

Press the remaining fabric squares in half, forming triangles

Layer triangles on Bottom square

Lay Bottom square with the bottom of the coaster facing up towards you. Layer the Bottom square with the triangles as shown.

Layer the first triangle. Notice that the triangles are not aligned with the edges of the square—instead, they are offset about 1/4”. You’re offsetting the triangles so that you end up creating a small square of open space in the middle. (see the last photo).

Layer the second triangle, then the third.

Layer the fourth triangle. Pick up the corner of the first triangle as shown, and slip the corner of the fourth triangle under it.

Pin everything in place.

Baste triangles in place

Sew around the perimeter of the square with large stitches to hold the triangles in place.

Trace circle and sew

I decided that I liked the look of round coasters better, so I traced a circle pattern on the back of the Bottom square. Flip the coaster over, and trace your circle. A CD makes a good circle, or the bottom of a large glass.

Sew around the circle you marked. I used a CD and thought it was a little large for my wine glasses, so I sewed inside the circle using the edge of my machine foot as a guide.

Trim the circle

Trim around the circle, leaving about 1/4” seam allowance. Clip the curves to make turning easier.

Flip coaster right side out and press

Your new coaster is all ready to try out. <wink>

If you decide to make a set, consider making each one unique so your guests will be able to identify their glass when needed. And besides, isn't it more fun to make several similar but unique coasters than it is to sew a bunch of identical ones?

Chalkboard Fabric Soda Can Cooler (Koozie)

I was at a party this summer and I saw a fabric soda can cooler (or kookzie as they are sometimes called) and fell in love. I'm always looking for clever and useful things I can make from my fabric scraps, and the cooler seemed to fit the bill nicely. As I was thinking, it suddenly hit me that I could make a small improvement on the design that might just make my like easier.

Have you ever sat your soda down at a party and then returned only to wonder which one of the many cans sitting there it is? Well, the improvement I hit upon touches on that very problem! With this cooler design, you'll be able to write your name on the koozie and later identify it quickly when needed.

You can also write other things on the chalkboard fabric besides your name, such as "Keep off!" or "Merry Christmas" or "Naughty Girl" <wink>. The possibilities are endless.

Here's what you'll need:

  • Outer fabric: Two 2”x12” rectangles and two 2”x3-3/4” rectangles
  • Chalkboard fabric: One 2”x4.5” rectangles           
  • Inner fabric: One 5”x12” rectangle
  • Insul-Bright: One 5”x12” rectangle
  • Batting: Two 5”x12” rectangles
  • Velco scrap: use 3/4"-1" wide Velcro, cut 3-3/4”

Sew the outer section together

Sew the two 2”x3-3/4” outer fabric strips to each end of the chalkboard strip. Don’t pin through the chalkboard—instead, use Wonder Clips or similar product to hold it in place.

Change to a Jeans or Denim needle, and loosen your stitch just a bit—to 2.75-3 mm. Finger press the seams toward the Outer fabric.

Sew the 2”x12” strips on either side of the chalkboard strip. Finger press the seams towards the Outer fabric. Set the seams by pressing them again using an iron set on Wool. Press from the back and be careful not to touch your iron to the chalkboard fabric.

Layer materials

Layer the materials in this order: batting, InsulBright, batting, Outer fabric face up, then inner fabric face down. Pin.

Sew around the perimeter, leaving an opening for turning

Backstitch at the beginning and end of the seam.

Turn and press

Clip corners and turn. Turn under the seam allowance at the gap. Press. Pin the opening closed.

Topstitch all around

Topstitch 1/8” all around, closing the gap. I decided to quilt mine just a little, but you could skip this step if you want.

Add Velcro

Place the loop part of the Velcro on back of piece, pin and sew.

Place hook side on left edge of front, pin and sew.

That's it! Isn't it cute?

Time to pour yourself a cold one and test this puppie out.

Oh, one thing. I've heard that it's best to use regular chalk sticks and to avoid the sidewalk chalk when writing on Chalkboard fabric. Not sure if that's true but I thought I'd pass it on. All I can say is that the chalkboard fabric worked wonderfully for me when I used regular chalk.

Happy holidays everyone and remember--if you like my tutorials please link back to me in your postings on social media.

Folded Fabric Flower Ornament

I love adding new ornaments to my tree, especially if they are meaningful. One of my favorite kind of ornament is something handmade by one of my quilting buddies. Every two years, my Guild presents a big quilt show and there are often ornaments, handmade by my fellow Guild members, for sale at the show.

At a show several years ago, I picked up a folded fabric flower ornament. I looked it over, and it turns out it's pretty easy to make.

Here's what you'll need to make a folded flower Christmas ornament:

  • 2 squares of coordinating Christmas fabric
  • A button or bell to decorate the center of the flower
  • Small bit of ribbon to use as the ornament hanger

Cut two circles from coordinating Christmas Fabric

Find something circular in the size you want to use, such as a dinner/dessert plate, soup bowl, or large cup. I typically use circles that are between 6 to 8 inches because they result in a nice sized ornament. You can use a smaller size if you like, but I wouldn't personally go any larger than 8". Today I'm making an ornament based on an 8-inch circle that I created by tracing around a soup bowl.

Trace around the object you selected, marking the back of your two fabric scraps. Carefully cut out the circles.

sew 1/4 seam all the way around, leaving an opening for turning

Place the two circles RST then sew all the way around using a 1/4-inch seam. Be sure to leave an opening for turning the circle right side out.

Clip the curves to ease the fabric before turning

Turn the circle right side out and press

Use a knitting needle or chopstick to push out seam. Turn under the seam at the opening. Press.

Tuck hanger loop in the opening and pin it in place

Top stitch all the way around, 1/8” to close the opening

Position the hanger loop at 45 degrees, as shown

Place the sewn circle with the fabric you want to feature inside the petals right side up. I want to feature the poinsettia fabric, so I'm placing that right side up.

Fold the circle in half, positioning the hanger loop at 45 degree angle as shown. Notice that my feature fabric--the poinsettia fabric--is on the inside now.

Pin the half circle (the "taco") at 12 o’clock and 9 o’clock.

whipstitch the circle at 12 o'clock

Knot your thread with a quilter’s knot. Bring up the thread from the inside of the "taco" at the 12 o'clock point to hide the knot.  Whipstitch the two sides of the "taco" to hold them firmly in place.

Fold the circle up in the other direction and whipstitch

Fold up the “taco”again, bringing the points at 9 o’clock and 3 o’clock together. Pin. Whipstitch through all four points, bringing up the knotted thread from the inside as before.

Sew a button or bell to middle of flower

Fold back each corner, creating petals

Finger press the ornament flat, creating a square.  Fold back each corner to create petals. After that, you can press with an iron if your ornament is not really laying flat.

That’s it! Isn’t she a beauty? And so quick and easy, too.

Funky Fabric Photo Frame

Every year, the President of my quilt guild hosts the annual Christmas party. Each party is unique, but there’s always food and some kind of entertainment. The President also gives a party favor to each member who attends—usually something she makes herself. One year, the President created these lovely picture frames made from fabric scraps.

Look! They have magnets on the back so you can put them on your fridge! Isn’t that a great idea? To fill the frames, Mary cut out photos from magazines. I don't know what I like best about this one--the musical fabric or the chocolate photo!

I had no idea how she made them, but Mary's a clever girl. Since it's been many years ago now, I figured she might not remember how she made them so I decided to challenge myself and see if I could find a way to recreate these cute picture frames. After a few fumbles, I finally got it figured out.

First, supplies. You’ll need some fabric, a scrap of batting, and some stiff fusible interfacing or Timtex.

To figure the size of your materials, first decide how big a photo you want to frame. Let’s say that you want to frame a 4” x 6”--a very common size. Now, add your frame width times two to both dimensions. Let’s say you want a 1” frame all around the photo. Times two, that’s 2”. Add that to both directions, and you end up with 6” x 8”. You’ll need to cut your batting and your interfacing this size.

Cut one piece of fabric, for the back, 1/2” smaller than that in both directions. In this example, cut one piece of fabric 5-1/2” x 7-1/2”.

Now for the big piece of fabric that forms the frame front, wrapping around the back just a little. Start with your interfacing/batting size, which in this case is 6” x 8”. You’re going to add a funky flange, so you need to add the seam allowance for that. So add 1” to both directions and you get 7” x 9”. Now you need to allow for the wrap around part--3/4" should do. Add 1-1/2" to both directions and you get 8-1/2" x 10-1/2". So cut a piece of fabric for the frame that size.

Create the funky flanges

Now to create the flanges which are totally optional, you need to choose a complimentary but contrasting fabric. Then cut a 2" strip, and subcut it to create the four flanges you'll need. I picked 2" because we're going to press this in half, and I figured 1" minus seam allowance (3/4") is all I'd want possibly covering the sides of my photo.

Cut two pieces that are 2" x the width of your interfacing plus 2". So cut two strips that are 2" x 8". Cut two more strips, 2" x the length of your frame plus 2". So cut two more strips, 2" x 10".

Fold the flanges in half and press.

Cut each flange at a funky angle: Place the fold on the left and angle your ruler however you like. You want it fat at the bottom and skinny at the top like shown. Then cut. Fold the trim piece in half and press.

Create the frame

Lay the first flange with its raw edges towards the top edge of the frame fabric, approximately the width of your frame plus 1/2" down from the edge. Since I'm using a 1" frame, I'm laying the flange 1-1/2" down from the top edge.

The raw edges of the flange are pointed up towards the top edge of the frame fabric. The folded edge is closer to the center.

Fold the frame fabric over the trim piece and pin. Sew a 1/4” seam.

Press the seam open, then turn the frame fabric and add the next flange using the same method: lay the folded flange down (fold towards the center), then fold the frame fabric back over the flange, pin, and sew.

Repeat for third and fourth sides.

Layer everything then sew the layers together

Flip the completed frame over and place the batting on top. Place the the fusible interfacing on top of that. Be sure to place the interfacing with it's fusible side up.

Pin everything to hold it together temporarily then flip back to the front. Pin from the front (removing the pins you used to hold everything together from the back), pinning the frame border out of the way as shown.

Sew a rough rectangle (it doesn't have to be perfect) and an X inside it to hold all the layers together.

Fold the frame fabric towards the back of the picture frame, mitering the corners

To miter a corner, fold the corner back, forming a triangle. Then fold the bottom edge over, and the top edge as shown. Pin each corner down if needed until you can fuse them down permanently.

Carefully iron the edge down

Removing pins as you go (so you don’t iron them!), tap your iron along the folded down frame edge, just enough to hold it in place. Be careful not to iron the uncovered areas.

Lay the back fabric on the back of the frame and iron it down

When positioning the back fabric, make sure you cover the frame edges. Stick magnets on the back of the frame.

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Quilted Camera Strap Cover

I’m the picture-taker in my family. It seems I can’t go to any event—whether a party, bee meeting, quilt retreat, or other special event without wanting to take my camera along. I call myself a picture-taker and not a photographer because I’m still learning how to take good photos. Still, I have to admit that a camera feels very comfortable in my hands and that I Iove taking photos even if they don’t turn out exactly how I want.

One thing that doesn’t always feel comfortable to me is the camera strap. The darn thing seems to be designed to chaff and dig into my neck so frankly, I’m more prone to hold my camera all the time than to hang it around my neck. So when I was looking for things to feature in my 12 Days of Christmas Gifts series, I thought about my camera and how to make using it better and a camera strap cover seemed a simple project to tackle.

I started my measuring the length and width of the strap that came with my DSLR camera and came up with a plan. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Outer fabric: One 2-1/2”x20-1/2” rectangle, two 2-1/2”x2-1/4” rectangle
  • Inner fabric: One 2-1/2”x20-1/2” rectangle, two 2-1/2”x2-1/4” rectangle
  • Batting: Two 2”x23”
  • Lightweight vinyl scrap: 2-1/2”x4”

A note about these materials: I measured my camera strap from leather clasp to leather clasp, and it measured 23”.  The strap was 1-1/2” wide. Measure your camera strap and make any needed adjustments accordingly.

You can purchase the lightweight vinyl at Joanne’s, in their home-dec department. I like to keep some of this vinyl on hand for use in testing out quilting designs (you can draw on it with a dry-erase marker and lay the vinyl on your quilt to preview the design) and for marking applique placement (I copy the placement diagram on the vinyl using a permanent marker, then overlay my block to place the next applique piece). In this case, the vinyl will be used to hold an ID card in case my camera gets misplaced.

Also, the materials specify two batting strips—I wanted my camera strap extra soft and cozy, so I used two scraps of batting.

Add the contrasting ends

Sew the Inner fabric 2-1/2””x2-1/4” rectangles to either end of the Outer fabric 2-1/2”x20-1/2” rectangle. Press towards the Outer fabric.

Repeat, sewing the Outer fabric small rectangles to the Inner fabric longer rectangle. Press towards the Inner fabric.

Hem the strap ends

Fold each end of Outer fabric strip up by 1/4” and press.

Fold each end again by 1/4” and press. Sew along the folded hem to finish it.

Quilt the strap

Place the Inner fabric strip face up, and center the two batting strips on top. Pin.

Quilt the strap however you like. I simply sewed down the length of the strip several times.

Add the vinyl ID pocket

For now, you only need to sew one end of the vinyl pocket—the sides of the vinyl pocket will be sewn when the strap is sewn together.

Place the vinyl piece on the Outer fabric strip, 3” from one end. Sew this end only. The other end you’ll leave open, and the sides as I said earlier, will take care of themselves.

Sew the strap

Place the quilted Inner fabric strip on top of the Outer fabric strip, right sides facing. Pin.

Sew along both lengths of the strap, backstitching at the beginning and end of each seam.

Flip the tube right side out and press

When pressing, be careful to avoid the vinyl ID pocket.

Add your identification information

Print out your identification info and slip the print out into the vinyl pocket.

Slip the strap cover over your camera strap

Take your new strap cover out for a photo shoot. Isn’t it cool and distinctive? Doesn’t it feel comfy? I love mine!

There are quite a few people on my Christmas list who own nice cameras or will be getting one for Christmas that would love a custom camera strap cover. How about you?

No Sew, No Knot Fleece Blanket

If you’re looking for an easy Christmas gift to make for someone on your Christmas list, consider a no sew, no knots, fleece blanket.

I typically wait until the fleece goes on sale and then pounce—and around this time of year, that won’t be hard at all since fleece is one of those featured December items. I’m sure you’ll find lots of pretty fleece to choose from at your local Joanne’s, Walmart, or Hobby Lobby.

You’ll need two pieces of polar fleece. You can get one patterned, one plain, or two patterned pieces depending on your preferences. I choose two Doctor Who prints for my favorite Whovian.

Polar fleece comes 58-60” wide. Here’s how much you need to buy:

  • Baby-size blanket: 1 yard (cut in half and use both pieces, one as the top and the other as the bottom, or buy two 1 yard pieces of fleece, cut each in half and make two baby blankets 30”x36”.
  • Toddler size blanket: 1-1/2 yards
  • Child-size blanket: 1-3/4 yards
  • Teen and Adult-size blanket: 2 yards

The yardage amounts here may look like I’m telling you to buy too much fleece, but keep in mind that you will lose 8 inches off the length of your yardage for fringe. If you buy 1 3/4 yards of fleece (63 inches), then the blanket part (minus the fringe) will be 50”x55".

Layer the two pieces of fleece, wrong sides together

Pin the two layers so they don’t shift. Pin far from the edges because you’ll be trimming them to remove the selvage.

I bought two lengths of Doctor Who fleece--one blue, one black. Here, I've placed them together right sides facing.

Trim the edges to make both pieces of fleece exactly the same size

If you use a rotary cutter to trim the edges, you’ll want to use a large one—60 mm—so it won't shift as you cut through the two layers of fleece.

Cut a 4” square at each of the four corners

If you use a rotary cutter, cut almost to the corner of the square in both directions, then use scissors to finish the cut. This will make the corner nice and neat.

Cut fringe along all four sides, on both pieces of fleece

Cut the fringe 1-1/2” wide and 4” deep. As you cut the fringe, flip it back. This will help with the next step. I found however, that when I moved the blanket to cut the next side, some of the fringe slipped back. So I decided to complete the steps for the fringe on each side before continuing to the next side.

Notice that I didn’t have any problem using my smaller 45mm rotary cutter to cut the fringe. Go figure.

As you near the corner, you will need to adjust the width of the strips slightly to make it come out even. I cut a few at 1 1/4” in between a few at the normal width of 1 1/2” in order to hide the variances.

Cut a small slit at the fold though both layers

You'll want to make as tiny a slit as you can because the fleece stretches easily.

Pull the bottom fringe through the hole in the top fringe

In my case, the black Doctor Who fabric was on top, and the blue was on the bottom. So I pulled the blue fringe through the hole in the black fringe.

Repeat, pulling the new bottom fringe through the new top fringe

Continue this all the way around, on all sides of the fleece blanket. After you do a few of these, you'll quickly figure out that you can treat the two pieces as one, and push them both through holes from the back to the front in one motion.

That’s it! Now what could be simpler?

Kitty Cat Fabric Needle Case

I'm a machine girl. If there's a way to do something by machine, that's how I do it. So when a bit of handwork looms on the horizon, a happy little needle case helps to get me in the mood fast.

I have a cat named Lucy, and she can be a bit of a vixen at times. Even so, she's so stinkin' cute that I can't bring myself to discipline her even when she's been naughty. I guess cats just make me happy. So when it came time to make a new needle case, I decided to put a cute little kitty face on it.

Want to make one? Here's what you'll need:

  • Cat ears: Two 2" squares
  • Cat face and cat back: Two 3-1/2”squares
  • Cat base: Four 2" squares
  • Cat nose for tab: One 2-3/4" square, cut in half diagonally
  • White fabric scrap for eyes and glint
  • Fabric scrap in your choice of color for irises
  • Interior fabric: One 3-1/2" x 6-1/2"
  • Felted wool or fleece for needle area: One 2-1/2” x 5-1/2” rectangle
  • Fusible interfacing: One 3-1/2" x 6-1/2" rectangle
  • Button for cat nose

Mark the back of the cat ear and cat base squares diagonally

I like to use a sandboard to prevent my squares from shifting while I mark them.

Make the cat face square in square block

Place a Cat Ear square on the upper left corner of the Cat Face fabric, RST (right sides together). Sew on the diagonal. Flip and press.

Repeat for the other ear, placing it in the upper right corner.

Continue this same process, sewing the Cat Base squares to the lower left and right corners.

Make the cat back square in square block

For the back of the needle case, you’re actually making a modified square in square block. Place a Cat Base square on the upper left corner of the Cat Back fabric, RST. Sew on the diagonal, flip and press.

Repeat, sewing the remaining Cat Base square to the upper right corner.

Sew the front and back squares together

Arrange the Cat Face and Cat Back squares as shown, with the Cat Base sides closest to each other.

Place the cat back square on top of the cat face square, RST.

Pin, and sew along that cat base side. To match everything up perfectly, I shoot a pin straight through the point on the Cat Back square.

Then I push the pin through the point on the Cat Face square. While holding this pin straight so nothing shifts,  I very carefully pin on either side of the pin locking everything in place for sewing.

As you sew, sew through the X formed by the corner seams. Doing so will make the points on your square in a square blocks come out nice and sharp.

Since there are so many seams coming together here, press the seam open to reduce bulk.

Add the nose

Lay the two nose triangles RST. Sew along two straight edges, and not along the bias.

Trim the point, turn right side out, and press. Trim the dog ears.

Fuse interfacing to interior fabric

Following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse the interfacing to the back of the interior fabric.

Sew the nose to the front

Lay the nose triangle on top of the front piece. Place the triangle at the bottom of the Cat Back square as shown, centering it and aligning raw edges.

Pin and sew with a long basting stitch using 1/8” seam.

Attach the needle area

Lay the felted wool/felt/fleece on the right side of the back piece, centering it. Pin, and sew using 1/8” seam allowance. Sew across the middle of the needle area to help secure it.

Lay the back piece on top of the front piece and sew

Lay the back piece on top of the front piece, right sides together. Pin and sew around the edges, leaving a space open for turning. Be sure to backstitch at the beginning and end of your stitching.

Turn and press

Trim the corners and turn the needle case right side out. Use a chopstick or knitting needle to poke out the corners so they are sharp. Press.

Whipstitch the opening to close it

Sew a small loop on the back of the nose

Using three strands of embroidery floss, form a loop and sew the floss loop to the back of the nose piece.

Add a button nose

Fold over the nose piece and mark the position of the nose button. Sew nose button to the kitty face.

Add the mouth

Using a single strand of embroidery floss and a backstitch, stitch the mouth on your cute kitty. Lightly sketch the mouth, and then just follow the line!

Add whiskers

Following the same procedure as the mouth, lightly sketch the whiskers. Then use a single strand of embroidery floss and a backstitch to stitch the whiskers. Don’t feel like you have to use black—feel free to experiment with color.

Add the eyes

Iron fusible to the back of your white fabric scrap and the scrap you chose for the iris color. Trace 2 large circles on the back of the white fabric and 2 smaller circles on the back of the Iris scrap. I used two buttons, one larger than the other, to trace my circles.

Cut out all 4 circles. Fuse the iris on each white eye.

Cut small bits of white and fuse them to the irises to add a glint to each eye.

Positon and then fuse the eyes in place.

Add the tail

One final touch and then we’re through! Iron fusible to the back of the Tail fabric scrap. Sketch a flippy tail on the back of the Tail fabric, cut it out. Fuse the tail onto the back of the needle case.

Three Part Pillowcase--Burrito Style

I love giving pillowcases because they are quick to make and very easy to personalize! If you have children, grandchildren, or great-grandchildren on your shopping list, believe me--this is just the thing! I made a few for my daughter who's a Freshman in college, and she just loves them. I think they remind her of home.

This is a three part pillowcase, with a Body, Cuff, and Trim piece.

  • Body: 3/4 yard
  • Cuff: 1/4 yard
  • Trim: 1/8 yard (you only need a piece 3”x42”, so you can use scrap fabric if you like)

Got your fabric all cut and pressed? Good. Let's go!

First, lay the Cuff fabric face up

Next, fold the Trim fabric in half wrong sides together, and press

You don't need to trim your pillowcase by the way, I love how that little bit of contrasting fabric really makes a handmade pillowcase extra special.

Lay the Trim fabric on top of the Cuff fabric

Match the raw edges, and pin.

Lay the Body fabric on top of the Cuff/Trim fabric, right sides together

Be sure to pin again through all three layers.

Burrito Time! Roll the body fabric up towards the pinned edge

Now here comes the burrito part. In this step, you’ll roll the Body up inside the Cuff fabric, just like the filling is rolled up inside a burrito.

Starting at the bottom, begin rolling the Body fabric up towards the pinned edge. Keep rolling until the Body fabric roll is about 3” from the pinned edge.

Don't repin anything just yet.

Bring the Cuff fabric over the Body fabric, enclosing it

Pick up the bottom edge of the Cuff fabric, and bring it up over the Body fabric roll, wrapping the Body fabric up like a burrito.

Pin through all those layers.

Sew it up

Sew the pinned edge with 1/4” seam allowance. You can also sew using 3/8” seam allowance, but as a quilter, I’m used to 1/4” seams, so I use that.

Unwrap your burrito!

Unwrap the burrito, folding back the Cuff just a bit so you can pull out the pillowcase Body.

Press the Cuff and Trim flat

I always press on both sides to make sure it lies flat.

Fold the pillowcase in half, wrong sides together

It may seem weird to put the wrong sides together in preparation for sewing a seam, but what you’re doing here is creating an enclosed seam called a French seam. So you gotta start with wrong sides together. Trust me.

Pin along the side and bottom edges of the pillowcase.

As you pin, be sure to match up the Cuff and Trim fabrics at the seam.

Stitch along the side and bottom edges of the pillowcase with a 1/4” seam

Clip the corners at a diagonal.

 

 

 

 

Turn the pillowcase wrong side out

I use a wooden chopstick to poke the corners out carefully. You can use a knitting needle if you have one instead.

Press along the seams and sew

Sew the side and bottom seams again, this time using 1/2” seam allowance.

The first seam with its raw edges is now inside this new seam, which means that the raw edges are not exposed. This is a French seam.

Turn the pillowcase right sides out

Poke out the corners again and press the seams flat.

Voila! You've got one real cool pillowcase all neatly pressed and ready to wrap. Only 132 more presents to go! <grin>

Folded Fabric Christmas Tree Ornament

 love making handmade ornaments, and what could be more adorable than this folded fabric Christmas tree ornament? It's so super-quick to make you really could whip up a few right now for last-minute gifts. Before I go on, I want to shout out to Brenna at Life After Laundry for the great idea! She's very creative and I hope you take the time to visit her blog. I've added my own touches to the ornament pattern because I can't help but do that and I hope you enjoy them.

This pattern makes two ornaments, and you'll need the following materials:

  • Inner fabric scrap: One 8” circle
  • Outer fabric scrap: One 8” circle
  • Lightweight fusible interfacing: One 8” circle
  • Ribbon or other trim for hanging loop
  • Star button or similar trim

Cut out fabric and interfacing circles

You can make your tree ornaments any size. I typically trace around something circular such as a dessert or dinner plate and let it go at that. You’ll need two fabric circles—one cut from the Inner fabric and one from the Outer fabric.

Cut out the same sized circle from the fusible interfacing

Fuse the interfacing to the back side of the Outer fabric

Cut the circles in half

Sew the halves together

Lay one Inner fabric half-circle on top of an Outer fabric half-circle, RST. Sew, leaving an opening for turning. Backstitch at the beginning and end of your seam.

Repeat for the other set of half-circles.

Turn right side out and press

Trim corners and clip the curves. Turn the ornament right side out. Use a chopstick or knitting needle to poke out the corners. Fold in the seam allowance at the gap, and press.

Topstitch all the way around

Topstitch all the way around the half-circle, closing the gap. Load your machine with contrasting thread and use a decorative stitch if you like.

Fold the tree and tack it in place

Fold the fabric over as shown. I played with the placement of the folds for a while until I came up with a pattern I liked. I started with a circle that was roughly 7-3/4”, and my folds were placed at 1-1/4”, 2-1/2”, and 4-1/2” from the bottom.

Pin to hold the folds, and tack in place.

Attach a star button at the top of the tree

Attach hanging loop to the back of the ornament

So...wasn't that easy? Despite the late date, I encourage you to give them a try. They are super fast to make and aren't the results wonderful?

Merry Berry Table Runner

Getting ready for the holidays? Here's a quick table runner pattern I call the Merry Berry Ornamental Table Runner. The runner finishes 15" x 39".

Here are the fabric requirements:

Background – 1/2 yard

Gold – (1) fat eighth, or scraps

Ornaments – (1) fat quarter each, or scraps

Border—1/4 yard

Binding—1/4 yard

Backing—1 1/4 yards

Cutting:

Background

               (12) 3” squares

               (5) 8 1/4” squares, cut once diagonally

               (6) 7/8” squares

               (6) 2 1/8” squares

               (2) 4 1/2” squares, cut once diagonally

Gold

               (3) 1 3/4” x 2” rectangles

               (3) 7/8” x 1 1/4” rectangles

Ornaments

               (1) 10 1/4” square for each ornament (3 total needed)

Borders

               (2) 2” x 36 1/2” strips

               (2) 2” x 15 1/2” strips

Binding

               (3) 2-1/4” x WOF strips

Backing

               (1) 21” x 45” rectangle

Creating the Ornament Blocks – Finish 12”

Draw a diagonal line from corner to corner on the back of (4) Background 3” squares. Place (1) Background square on top of a corner of (1) Ornament 10 1/4” square, RST. Sew on drawn line. Trim the seam allowance to 1/4”. Press back, forming the corner. Repeat for each corner.

Sew (1) Background 8 1/4” triangle to the (3) sides of the square as shown. Press.

To assemble the remaining corner, sew (1) Background 7/8” square to either side of (1) Gold 7/8” x 1 1/4” rectangle. Sew (1) Gold 1 3/4” x 2” rectangle to the bottom of the unit.

Sew (1) Background 2 1/8” x 5 1/4” rectangle to either side of the unit. Position (1) Background 4 1/2” triangle in the middle of the top side of the unit as shown, then stitch and press the triangle back towards the corner to complete the Corner Unit.

Sew the Corner Unit on the remaining corner to complete (1) Ornament Block. Square to 12 1/2”. Repeat the steps to complete (3) Ornament Blocks.

Completing the Table Runner

Sew the (3) Ornament Blocks together. Notice the rotation of the blocks.

Sew (1) Border rectangle to each side of Quilt Center. Sew (1) Border Rectangle to top/bottom of Quilt Center.

Layer backing, batting, and quilt top. Baste, quilt as desired and bind. Decorate your table, sit back and relax because you're ready for the holidays!

What I love most about this pattern is that you can personalize the ornaments however you like. For example, notice that I kept one simple, added stripes to another, and applique and a stripe to the last one. If you decide to modify your ornaments like I did, just make sure you end up with a 10 1/4” square before starting the blocks.

I quilted my table runner in the ditch around the ornaments and on either side of the ornament stripes. I also quilted the stripes with soft curves. For the plain ornament block I quilted "stripes" into it.

The background was quilted with simple holly motifs. To do that, I sketched out two holly leaves (one big, one small) then pinned them to the quilt and simply quilted around them then quilted a vine down the middle.

On the back of the table runner I used a light Christmas fabric that shows the quilting beautifully. I chose a contrasting binding because I happen to like that.

I really loved making this table runner. It went together easily and the quilting was a breeze!

Why not make a quilt?

If you like my ornament block, you can make it into a quilt! Yep, I have a free pattern for a quilt that finishes 75” x 85”. The quilt pattern features the lovely Merry Berry and Bright fabric collection from RJR Fabrics.

Click here to download my Merry Berry Ornamental pattern.

Zippered Pouch

I used to be zipper-phobic. I coveted many things with zippers such as zippered pouches, zippered purses and the like, but somehow I couldn't get over my fear of actually making something with a zipper. Then I finally challenged myself to just try, and I made a zippered pouch.

Success!

Here's how you can make a zippered pouch.

Decide on the dimensions

I typically make zippered pouches to hold something, like a notebook. Be sure to include the thickness of the notebook in your calculations. Here, my sketchbook is 6-1/4" x 9 and it is 1" thick, so I will make my pouch 10-1/2" x 12" (roughly 3" bigger).

Cut your fabrics

Add 1/2" seam allowances to your dimensions and cut the front and back. Using my measurements, I'll need a front and back piece that measures 11" x 12-1/2".

You can piece the front and back if you want. Here, I decided to cut a top piece 3-1/2" x 12-1/2" and a bottom piece 8" x 12-1/2". When I sew them together using 1/4" seam allowances, I'll end up with a piece that's 11" x 12-1/2".

I also decided to add a flange between the top and bottom pieces, so I cut it 1" x 12-1/2". I pressed the flange in half, and placed it between the top and bottom pieces, then sewed them together. I made a front and back piece this way.

Cut fusible fleece and lining fabric this same size

If you want back your front and back pouch pieces with fusible fleece. Cut the fleece the same size as your front and back pieces (in this case, 11" x 12-1/2") and fuse them to the wrong side of your front and back pieces.

Cut lining fabric for your pouch this same size--11" x 12-1/2".

Sew zipper to front

Lay Front, right side up, on your work table. Place the zipper, right side down, on top of Front. The top of the zipper should be about 3/4" from the left edge of the Front.

Bend the tab of the zipper back at a 90 degree angle as shown. Instead of pinning the zipper in place, I use mini clips.

Place the Lining on top, right side down. Pin or clip all the layers together.

Using your zipper foot, sew along the edge of the zipper. Backstitch at the beginning and end of the seam. When you get near the end of the zipper (about 1" from the end), stop. Move the zipper out of the way and continue sewing the seam. (You don't want to catch the zipper in the end of the seam.)

Press the Front back, away from the zipper.

Sew zipper to the Back

Lay the Back on your work table, right side up. Lay the Front on top, right side down. The top end of the zipper(the zipper pull) should be to your right.

Place the Lining on top, right side down. Pin or clip all the pieces together.

Sew along the edge of the zipper and as before, stop about 1" from the end and move the zipper out of the way before continuing to the end of the seam. Be sure to backstitch at the beginning and end of the seam.

Press away from the zipper.

Sew the Front and Back together

Unzip the zipper at least halfway so you can turn the pouch right side out later on.

Fold both sides out, away from the zipper, so that right sides are facing. Pin or clip the two Lining pieces together. Pin or clip the Front and Back together.

Sew around the perimeter of the pouch, leaving a 6" opening in the lining so you can turn the pouch right sides out. Yep, you need both the zipper unzipped at least halfway, and an opening in the Lining in order to be able to turn this pouch right side out after sewing.

Turn the pouch right side out and sew the opening closed

Clip the corners. Turn the pouch right side out. Poke out the corners using a knitting needle or other blunt point.

Fold under the seam allowances at the opening in the lining, then sew it closed.

Finish the zipper end

Cut a 2" x 3" piece of fabric to finish the zipper end. Turn under the short ends a tiny bit and press.

Turn the long ends in towards the center and press.

Press in half. Fold over the zipper end and clip or pin in place.

Sew the end of the zipper tab closed.

Yippee! You're done. Enjoy your new zippered pouch.

Easy Flannel Baby Blanket

I love it when someone close to me gets pregnant because that means I get to make a baby quilt! Sometimes though I don’t always have the time to make a quilt. That’s when I pull out my easy peasy flannel baby blanket pattern.

Not only is this blanket easy to make, it’s quick too! It’s one of those gifts every mother will appreciate because it’s so useful (not to mention soft and cuddly!)

To make this blanket you’ll need two yards of flannel, one yard for the front and one yard for the back. May I suggest these gorgeous flannels from the Afternoon in the Attic Flannel collection? The fabrics coordinate perfectly, and you’re certain to find a color combination you like.

After you purchase your flannels, it’s time to make the blanket! This is an easy get it done in an afternoon kind of project.

Cut the flannels

Cut off the selvages, then stack the flannels, one on top of the other and cut them the same size. I cut mine 36” square.

You can also cut rounded corners if you like, by tracing around the edge of a small plate and cutting on the line.

Prewash

After cutting the flannels to size, prewash them (I call this “preshrinking”). Dry the flannels on high heat and press.

Sew 1/4” from the edge

Layer fabrics RST (right sides together) and pin. Sew 1/4” from the edge all the way around, leaving a 6”-8” opening for turning.

Turn right side out

Clip the corners at a diagonal. Turn the blanket right side out and gently poke out the corners so they are square. Press.

Sew the opening closed

Press under the raw edges at the opening and pin.

With thread that matches the top, sew all the way around, 1/4” from the edge. This will close the opening and stabilize the edge of the blanket.

Create a “border”

Top stitch all the way around, approximately 2-1/2” from the edge. This will create a nice border for the blanket, and further stabilize the edge. To add more interest, you might want to use a contrasting thread and a zig-zag or other decorative stitch.

At this point, your blanket is all done!

Making the Blankett 11.jpg