Lip Balm Key Fob

Perfect for teens, tweens, teachers and coworkers and anyone else who keeps lip balm handy!

Perfect for teens, tweens, teachers and coworkers and anyone else who keeps lip balm handy!

Taking a cue from one of my favorite Sew Easy projects (a simple key fob), our first Sewing for the Holidays project is a key fob that doubles as a lip balm carrier.  The following directions will work for your basic tube lip balm (Burt’s Bees, Chapstick, etc).

Supplies Needed:

  • Two 2″ x 8″ rectangles of fusible interfacing
  • Remnants of two complementary 100% cotton fabrics (ideally a bit larger than 2″ x 8″)
  • One 1.5″ D ring
  • Lip Balm

Tip:  selecting a non-directional fabric with a small print works best

Step One: Cut, Fuse and Cut Again

Don’t skip the interfacing.  Without it, the fabric will stretch and you will eventually lose your lip balm!

Begin by drawing two 2″ x 8″ rectangles on the interfacing and cut out the rectangles.  (I like to loosely cut around the rectangles so I actually cut through both the interfacing and fabric after it’s fused.)  Following your interfacing directions, fuse one rectangle to the back of each fabric and cut out the rectangles of fabric.

Tip: Leave some space around the rectangles of interfacing when you cut them out so you can cut out the interfacing and fabric at once after it's fused.

Tip: Leave some space around the rectangles of interfacing when you cut them out so you can cut out the interfacing and fabric at once after it’s fused.

You'll have two strips of fabric, each with interfacing on the back.

You’ll have two strips of fabric, each with interfacing on the back.

 

Step Two: Sew Strips Together

Place strips right sides together and using a 1/4″ seam allowance, sew around three sides, leaving one of the  2″ ends open.  Be sure you backstitch at the beginning and end, or the strips will come apart when you turn it right side out. Clip the corners and turn the tube right-side-out.

Clip the corners after you have sewn the two strips together.  Don't forget to backstitch at the beginning and end.

Clip the corners after you have sewn the two strips together. Don’t forget to backstitch at the beginning and end.

Step Three:  Press Tube

After you have turned the tube right-side-out, press it flat and turn the open end in 1/2″.

Pressed Tube Side One

Pressed Tube Side 2

Step Four: Sew Pocket

Fold up the sewn end about 2 1/2″ (or the length of your lip balm tube) to create a a pocket for the tube.  Sew down the edges of the pocket being sure to backstitch at each start and end (you will backstitch 4 times).  You will sew as close to the edge as you can as long as you are catching both sides–I use a 1/8″ seam allowance.  (If you want, you can sew across the bottom, too.)

Fold up the side you want to show for the pocket.  Do not skip backstitching!

Fold up the side you want to show for the pocket. Do not skip backstitching!

Step Five:  Sew in D Ring

Fold down the open end over the flat edge of the D Ring and sew down the flap.  I usually reinforce it by sewing it a few times.

At a minimum, backstitch.   However, I prefer to sew a few times to really reinforce the flap.

At a minimum, backstitch. However, I prefer to sew a few times to really reinforce the flap.

Insert your tube of lip balm and enjoy!

Ready to attach to key ring, lanyard, backpack, etc!

Ready to attach to key ring, lanyard, backpack, etc!

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Beginner Project: Travel Tissue Case

Not only is this a great beginner project, but also a great gift!

Not only is this a great beginner project, but also a great gift!

Every few sessions, I teach this travel tissue case on the first day of my Sew Easy class.  It gets a new sewer used to the basic and most-useful stitches: straight stitch, zig-zag stitch, and backstitch.

Beginner or experienced, you’ll appreciate this quick project that makes a thoughtful gift AND uses up remnants!

The skills you will develop by sewing this case are:

  • cutting straight lines
  • sewing with straight and zig-zag stitches
  • reversing your machine for a backstitch

Supplies needed:

  • your basic sewing supplies
  • one 8 1/4″ wide by 5 1/2″ high rectangle of fabric
  • travel tissues
Use up remnants perfectly with this 8 1/4" x 5 1/2" rectangle

Use up remnants perfectly with this 8 1/4″ x 5 1/2″ rectangle

Begin by setting your machine to a zig-zag stitch and sewing the SHORT edges of your rectangle.  This zig-zag stitch will help prevent fraying.

Begin by setting your machine to a zig-zag stitch and sewing the SHORT edges of your rectangle. This zig-zag stitch will help prevent fraying.

Close up of the zig-zag stitch.  Try to sew so that the right side actually goes off the fabric, wrapping around the raw edge.

Close up of the zig-zag stitch. Try to sew so that the right side actually goes off the fabric, wrapping around the raw edge.

Press the short ends you just sewed as shown, with a 1/2" hem. Do this to both short ends.

Press the short ends you just sewed as shown, with a 1/2″ hem. Do this to both short ends.

Change settings to a straight stitch and sew close to the zig-zag side.  Sew down each hem.

Change settings to a straight stitch and sew close to the zig-zag side. Sew down each hem.

After sides have been hemmed, fold the rectangle, right sides together.  Bring the two ends to the middle and press.  Use four pins to hold fabric in place.

After sides have been hemmed, fold the rectangle, right sides together. Bring the two ends to the middle and press. Use four pins to hold fabric in place.

Line up the raw edge with the right side of your presser foot.  Backstitching at the beginning and end, sew a fabric/flaps together with a straight stitch. (depending on your machine, you'll be sewing with approximately a 1/4" inch seam allowance).

Line up the raw edge with the right side of your presser foot. Backstitching at the beginning and end, sew a fabric/flaps together with a straight stitch. (Depending on your machine, you’ll be sewing with approximately a 1/4″ inch seam allowance).

Now, change back to your zig-zag stitch and repeat sewing the same sides you just sewed with a straight stitch.  (You are now finishing this edge to prevent further fraying.)

Now, change back to your zig-zag stitch and repeat sewing the same sides you just sewed with a straight stitch. (You are now finishing this edge to prevent further fraying.)

Trim all threads (including any fraying and turn right-side-out!

Trim all threads (including any fraying and turn right-side-out!  Fill with travel-sized tissues and enjoy!

Not only is this a great beginner project, but also a great gift!

Sneeze happy!

Fabric Baskets

Fabric Baskets She Said Sew

Apologies for the yellowed photos. It’s been pretty dreary here and my photo quality is suffering!

My Winter 2013 Sew Easy class is making these little lined baskets–just in time to fill with Valentine’s Day treats!  (But they are perfect for every day, too.)  I keep one on my kitchen counter to hold all the odds and ends that haven’t yet found a home and a larger one next to my bed is full of magazines.  Fusible fleece gives these bags great structure, but for larger ones, try experimenting with a firmer fusible stabilizer like Pellon Craft Fuse.

The directions below are specific to my Sew Easy class, but you may size yours as you like.  Just make sure you begin with 4 pieces of fabric that are identical sizes and you’ll be successful.  (Remember that a larger basket will need a larger boxed corner.)  If you want more practice inserting linings, try making reusable snack bags which apply the same principles.

This is a great project for beginner sewing. The skills you will develop by sewing these bags are:

  • cutting straight lines
  • sewing straight lines
  • topstitching
  • understanding the concept of boxed corners
  • understanding the basics of lining a bag

Supplies needed:

  • your basic sewing supplies
  • two fat quarters or remnants in complementary patterns/colors
  • fusible fleece
  • matching thread

All seam allowances are 1/2″ unless noted

Step 1:  Fuse Fleece

Following directions on the fusible fleece, fuse to the wrong side of your exterior fabric.

Drawing your rectangle directly on the fusible fleece prior to fusing can simplify this process

Drawing your rectangle directly on the fusible fleece prior to fusing can simplify this process

Step 2: Cut Fabric

Cut two pieces each from your exterior fabric and interior fabric.  For our class, we are cutting our fabric 12″ wide by 9″ high.  You will have a total of 4 pieces.

Make sure you have two pieces for the interior and exterior (4 total)

Make sure you have two pieces for the interior and exterior (4 total)

Step 3: Prepare Boxed Corners

In our class, we will make a 3″ boxed corner.  So, from each bottom corner (there are 4 total), cut away a 2″ square.  Why 2″?  Each square will contribute to half of the bottom and there is a 1/2″ seam allowance.  Thus, by the time the the bottom is sewn, only two 1 1/2″ halves will remain for a total of 3 inches.

Making a square template out of cardboard is a nice tool to keep for future bag-making.

Making a square template out of cardboard is a nice tool to keep for future bag-making.

Make sure you cut a square from all 4 pieces.

Make sure you cut a square from all 4 pieces.

Step 4: Sew Together Exterior and Interior Fabrics Sides

Backstitching at the beginning and end, sew the sides of like fabrics together.  Stop at the boxed corner.  Do not sew inside the boxed corner.

Basket Sides She Said Sew

Note: if you want to add handles, decorative or functional, do this now by sewing them at even distances on each side of the seam.  Sew handles with a 1/4 ” seam allowance and reinforce by reversing and re-sewing a couple of times.

Sew it 1/4" so there isn't a chance of these stitches showing in the final product.

Sew it 1/4″ so there isn’t a chance of these stitches showing in the final product.

Step 5:  Sew Bottoms

For the exterior fabric, sew across the bottom, backstitching at beginning and end.  Stop at the boxed corner.  Do not sew inside the boxed corner.

Again, do not sew inside the corners!

Again, do not sew inside the corners!

For the interior fabric, sew bottom as shown in this photo.  You are leaving a hole to turn the entire basket right-side-out.  The exit strategy I use will help the fabric turn inside and make swing the hole closed much easier.

Keeping the needle down in the fabric will serve as a "bookmark" and make pivoting easier.

Keeping the needle down in the fabric will serve as a “bookmark” and make pivoting easier.

Step 6: Sew Boxed Corners

Pinch squares together, matching seams.  Open seams (pinning will help keep them open) and sew across, being sure to backstitch at beginning and end.  Do this for both the exterior and lining.  Now you will have an unlined basket that sits upright.

Line up and open seams.

Line up and open seams.

Step 7: Insert and Sew in Lining

With exterior right-side-out and interior inside-out, place exterior inside interior.  Match seams and pull gently on sides to make sure there aren’t any large gaps.  If either interior or exterior is too large, take in at the seams.

Place the exterior inside the interior.  Right sides should be together.

Place the exterior inside the interior. Right sides should be together.

Free the arm of your machine and place basket over the arm.  Starting at one seam, sew all the way around–don’t worry, you aren’t sewing it shut because you left a hole in the lining where you will turn it right-side-out.

Modern machines should have a piece that is removable to make it possible to sew around a tube.

Modern machines should have a piece that is removable to make it possible to sew around a tube.

Step 8:  Finish Basket

Using the hole in the bottom of the lining, turn basket right-side-out and sew the opening closed by hand or machine.   Tuck the interior inside the exterior fabric and press the top.  Finish with a topstitch 1/8″ to 1/4″ from the top.

This is how it looks once the exterior has been pulled through.

This is how it looks once the exterior has been pulled through.

I am using an applique foot to attempt to show you how closely to sew to the top.  Please don't use an applique foot yourself, though!

I am using an applique foot to attempt to show you how closely to sew to the top. Please don’t use an applique foot yourself, though!

Make sure the handle stays to the right (if sewing handles)

Make sure the handle stays to the right (if sewing handles)

Fill with treats and pass it along to a friend.  You can even creating a nesting set!

Sew a few and create a nesting set!

Sew a few and create a nesting set!

Standard Pillowcase Tutorial

This is a great beginner project because it get right to the heart of cutting and sewing straight lines.  It’s easy to modify this project, too, by adding piping or ribbon.  These make excellent gifts and only take 1 yard of fabric total.  Make sure you take a look at the finished pillowcase at the end of the post so you understand where the fabric you select will go.

For those of you in my Sew Easy class, a note about fabrics:  select your fabric from the quilting section (rather than the apparel or home dec sections).  Specifically, at Hancock Fabrics, this is the area on the right as you enter the store.  Quilting cotton generally comes in a 45″ width, but some fabrics are a few inches less or even an inch or so wider. If the fabric you love is 42″, don’t worry, you’ll still have enough fabric.  Feel free to mix and match patterns or a solid and pattern.

Materials List:

1/4 Yard 45” Fabric (for header)

3/4 Yard 45” Fabric (for body)

Matching thread

 

Seam Allowance: 1/2”

 

Terms to know:

Selvage: The manufacturer’s edge of the fabric.  Often copyright, color swatching and basic information is printed on the selvage.  This edge is “sealed” and will not unravel like a raw edge or seam.

Raw Edge: Where the fabric has been cut

Raw Seam:  Where the cut edges of two (or more) pieces of fabric have been sewn together

Straight Stitch:  Quite simply, a series of stitches that make a straight line (——)

Overcasting: A zig-zig or actual stitch (see your manual) that is used to “finish” a raw seam ( /\/\/\/\/\/\/\ or _/_/_/_/)

Instructions:

standard pillowcase instructions pdf

Step 1: Prepare the Header

Take the 1/4 yard of fabric and fold and press flat lengthwise with the pattern side out.  You will have a long, thin strip of fabric that measures approx. 4.5 x 45 inches:

Step 2: Prepare the Body

Take the 3/4 yard of fabric and open it up and press.  This will measure approx. 27 x 45 inches.

Step 3: Attach Header

Place the body piece down, fabric side up and place the header on top.  Match the header to the body with raw edges together.  If one piece is longer than the other,  center shorter piece.

Pin the three edges together, going through all pieces of material and crossing the cut line with the pins.  The point should face the raw edges.

Sew a straight stitch down the length of the header.  Raw edges should be to the right.  Remove pins.

Trim edge to approx. 1/4”.  Then repeat by overcasting.  Trim threads.

Step 4:  Finish

Fold back the header and press.

Fold the pillow case in half with printed sides together (it should look like an inside-out pillow case now.  Using a straight edge, trim off any excess fabric.

Pin the two sides with raw edges (it will be an “L” shape).  Straight stitch and overcast as you did with the header.  Trim threads.

Clip corner.

Turn right side out and insert a fluffy pillow. Take a nap–you did it!

Sweet Stitches for Valentine’s Day

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I love Valentine’s Day!  Truly, I do.  When I was a girl, my mom made a big deal of Valentines with special treats, gifts, decorations and my grandmother’s sour cream cookies.  I never considered it a romantic holiday until I was much older and met my would-be spouse at a Valentine’s Day dance.  Lucky, lucky me!

So there’s a little backstory for you.

Especially here in the dreary Midwest, I find Valentine’s Day decorations the perfect remedy for the post-holiday, wintertime blahs.  You can’t go wrong with cheerful colors, candies and kind wishes for our friends!  For the next couple of weeks, I’ll post some Valentine’s day favorites and a few tutorials, too.  If you want to be sure you get every post, please subscribe (“Sew With Me”–to the right)!

Reverse-Appliqued Heart Pillow

Using one of my favorite applique techniques, I made this pillow last year.  Some of you may remember it from class.  Tutorial next week!

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Valentine’s Day Appliques

I love making appliqued shirts for the me and my boys.  Of course, you can applique a simple heart, but it’s fun to make an applique that uses hearts to replace another object.  Here are the boys’ Valentine’s Day shirts from last year.  You’ll see I replaced the dump truck rubble and leaves with hearts.  This year we may do Pac Man, replacing the pellets/pac-dots with hearts or some sort of robot.

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Tree of Love

In our foyer, we keep a little “tree” of twigs the boys have gathered on our adventures.  The addition of these hearts make a cheery greeting for all.  I saw something similar on Pinterest.  It was from a round-up and I couldn’t find the original source.  Perhaps it’s Martha? Regardless, I loved that i could do this project quickly and had all the supplies at hand.  (The original photo I pinned shows twine and a blanket stitch instead of the embroidery floss and whipstitch I used.  While I like the twine better, that would have required a trip to the store…and the blanket stitch would have taken a bit longer. Lazy me!)  Find the tutorial soon, although I doubt you need one!  These little hearts have a secret, though…

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Valentine’s Day Mini Birdhouse Garland

Find the tutorial here at my other blog.  I love this garland so much, I believe it will stay up through spring.  Sure, there isn’t any sewing (unless you replace the roof with felt), but it was so sweet I wanted to share.

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I’d love to hear from you and know what Valentine’s decorating plans you have for 2013!

Christmas Countdown/Advent “Calendar”

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Click on photos to enlarge them.

The problem:  My boys destroy everything.  Ev-er-eeeeeee-thing.  Nothing is spared in this house.  So, any sort of Advent calendar wouldn’t be long for this world.  I envisioned doors being ripped off, decorations chewed on… So I knew I needed something that could be 1) easily replaced/repaired and 2) could be both out of the way, but visible.  (The latter is becoming more and more difficult, what with the chair moving they do and the best places already being occupied with items that need to be kept up high.)

The solution: To turn a mitten garland into a calendar.  This way if one gets wrecked, all I have to do it replace a single mitten.  I’m feeling pretty smug over here right now.  And will until I Google this; I’m certain I’m not the first to make one of these.  Every time I think I’m clever I find out I’m about the 47th person to make it and post it.

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Anyway, no tutorial here–you can figure this one out on your own.  I mean, my 2- and 4-year olds were able to do the bulk of the decorating, so I know you can do it!

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Another great thing about the project was it required no new purchases and used up a bunch of random buttons and bits of ribbon and ric-rac.  I thought I was going to have to buy white fabric paint, but found some winter white puffy paint in my craft supplies.

Any day I don’t have to go to a fabric or craft store with my devils angels is a good day!

In a nutshell:  Trace a mitten to make your pattern.  Cut out 48 mittens.  Sew them together, wrong sides together and being sure to backstitch a half inch at start and finish (or you’ll trim it off and the mitten will come apart), and use pinking shears to trim top and sides.  Decorate.  Hang.  Smile.  Merry and Happy, my friends!

Pajama Monsters

Pillowcases made out of felt with boxed corners couldn’t be easier. Customize for the little person in your life and enjoy having those PJs tucked out of sight.

Since the boys’ PJs end up tossed on their beds anyways, I figured why not let a cute monster gobble them up? Essentially, the pajama monster is an envelope-backed pillowcase made in felt.  Start with a few rectangles and then cut any or as many of the following as you’d like:  eyes, horns, teeth, cheeks/rouge, nose, lips, tongues, etc.  Just free-cut these and place on your large rectangle to get a feel for how they will look.

In my example, I made mine a princess monster:  ears, crown, eyes with eyelashes, nose, single tooth because this monster is going to a little princess we know.  Partner this with a book and a cute pair of (handsewn!) PJs as we did here, and you have a great gift:

The fabric you see was used to make super comfy PJ pants and an appliqued PJ tee to match.

Supplies needed:
  • your basic sewing supplies
  • One 14″ wide by 16″ high rectangle of craft felt
  • Two 14″ wide by 10″ high rectangles of craft felt
  • Scraps of other colors of felt for features like eyes, ears, teeth, etc.

Ideas for future:

Add buttons, ribbons, ric rac, ruffles and more to add even more dimension.  Try experimenting with the shape of the pillow.  Of course, you can get very, very detailed here–just remember who you are sewing for!  These will receive some serious “love” (er, abuse).

NOTE: ALL SEAM ALLOWANCES ARE 1/2 ” UNLESS NOTED!

(You can click on any photo to enlarge it.)

Step 1:  Cut pieces

Cut  the pieces for your monster’s features.  Eyes, ears, teeth, horns, glasses are just a fews suggestions.  Just remember that any layered features (like pupils on eyes) may have to be sewn together before sewing them on the monster.  Here are a couple of examples of Pajama Monsters from my Sewing for the Holidays class:

Aren’t these guys cute?

Step 2:  Attach Features

Attach the features to one of the small rectangles.  Think about the order they will have to be sewn on and sew accordingly.

I begin by laying out my rectangles and experimenting with features. Once I am satisfied with placement, I remove the large rectangle and bottom small rectangle and begin pinning and sewing the features in place.

To get the princess face, I began by sewing the pupils to the eyes, then I sewed on the eyelashes and nose to the “face” (rectangle), finally I sewed the eyes in place and then added the tooth.

Place all ears, horns, etc. at least 2 inches in from the sides, or they will be cut off when making boxed corners!

You can experiment with sewing features elsewhere, but it works best to only sew on the top rectangle.

Step 3:  Sew Pillowcase
Place the small rectangle on the bottom half of the large rectangle.  Place the other small rectangle (the “face”) on top.  The lower rectangle should fit into the bottom of the rectangle and the face rectangle should fit in the top.  The two small rectangles will overlap in the middle.  You want this overlap to help keep the pajamas inside.

Can you see how the three rectangles are layered here?

Pin into place and sew all the way around the rectangle.  Backstitch at start and stop.  If you’d like, trim the edges with pinking shears.  Otherwise trim back with regular scissors.

Use plenty of pins!

Step 4:  Sew Boxed Corners
Cut a 1.5″ square from each corner and then pinch the corner shut, matching seams.  Pin together and sew.

1.5″ squares cut from each corner will give pillow depth–just be sure those horns or ears are at least 2″ away before cuting.

Pinch corner together so the seams match up. Sew this closed being sure to backstitch at beginning and end

And there you have it–a little monster to hold your little monster’s pajamas!

 

Tooth Fairy Pillows

A recent rash of lost teeth prompted me to make my own tooth fairy pillows.  (I often sew them with my youngest students, but these are merely one pocket sewn to two squares.)  As I was sewing mine, I quickly realized how this project would be a great project for beginning sewers.

The front features the recipient’s initial and a little pocket for holding the tooth/money/gift.  There is a little tooth appliqued on the pocket.  The back has a little envelope–the perfect size for any tooth fairy correspondence.  When I give these pillows, I include a note from the tooth fairy.  The poem inside reads:

Dear [name],

In the pocket, place your tooth that fell out

And in the morning you will shout!

For I will visit and you will find

I’ve left a surprise for you behind!

And for the teeth that are not in a rush,

Don’t forget, you still need to brush!

Love,

The Tooth Fairy

Since these pillows are small, you can easily practice with remnants you already have.  While I am not going to give you a precise tutorial, I will let some photos do the talking.  The skills you will develop by sewing tooth fairy pillows are:

  • continuing to develop cutting and straight-line sewing skills
  • adding a pocket
  • applique
  • inserting a basic handle

Supplies needed:

  • your basic sewing supplies
  • 7″ x 7″ squares of fabric (one plain, one printed)
  • Heat n Bond (for applique)
  • 4″ x 6″ (wide x high) rectangle for pocket
  • 5″ x 3.5″ (wide x high) piece of white felt
  • another small fabric remnant (for initial) and white felt remnant (for tooth)
  • 8″ of ribbon

Ideas for future:

Add buttons, ribbons, ric rac, ruffles and more to add even more dimension.

NOTE: ALL SEAM ALLOWANCES ARE 1/2 ” UNLESS NOTED!

(You can click on any photo to enlarge it.)

Have fun experimenting–I can’t wait to see what you come up with!

A ribbon handle is perfect for looping over a bedpost or, more importantly, a door knob. It’s a nice touch for the tooth fairy who may not want to risk waking the child!

Close up of the front. A little pocket on the left is the perfect size for not only teeth, but also can hold money, lipgloss, a small toothpaste or toothbrush. An appliqued initial personalizes the pillow, but isn’t necessary.

Close up of another style–have fun with placement of extras like buttons and trim!

A close-up of the envelop on the back of the pillow. You stitch the “flap” on first–before you sew the pocket onto the pillow back. If you don’t it won’t be a pocket!

Adding a note from the tooth fairy is a nice touch!

Fleece Fingerless “Gloves” Tutorial

Smartphones are great, but they’ve made wearing gloves a bit tricky!  Pair these gloves with a cute infinity scarf-style cowl and you’ll have a great gift to give this winter.  Best of all, both projects are simple and the pair can be done with 1/2 yard of fleece.  This is another great project for beginning sewing, which is why I frequently teach or highlight it in my fall/winter classes.  The skills you will develop by sewing fingerless “gloves” are:

  • continuing to develop cutting and straight-line sewing skills
  • sewing with fleece
  • sewing a tube/around a circle

Supplies needed:

  • your basic sewing supplies
  • Fabric: remnant of fleece (or 1/2 yard fleece if making the infinity cowl, too)
  • Sharpie or chalk

Ideas for future:

These look great as is, but consider hand sewing some embellishments on them after they are finished.  Vintage buttons, fabric flowers, ribbon, will make these even more charming!

NOTE: ALL SEAM ALLOWANCES ARE 1/2 ” UNLESS NOTED!

(You can click on any photo to enlarge it.)

Step 1:  Draft pattern and cut out fabric

Take a blank piece of paper and draw a 4.5″ wide by 9″ long rectangle.  Then, measure in 1/2″ from the left side and put a dot 1 5/8″ down and another 3 5/8″ down.  It will look like this:

Then, cut out your pattern and poke small holes through the dots.  Cut four rectangles from your fabric and transfer the dots.  Since fleece is so plush and it can be difficult to pin through multiple layers, I often trace my pattern and then cut, like so:

Step 2: Sew inner seam

The side with the dots is the inner seam (the side with the thumb hole).  Take two rectangles and place them right sides together.  Pin well.  Begin sewing at the top–backstitching–and sew to the first dot.  Stop and backstitch before lifting the needle and presser foot and advancing to the next dot.  Put down presser foot.  Lower needle and  begin to sew–backstitching at the beginning and the end.   Clip the  thread over where you advanced. Repeat for remaining rectangles.

This is a close-up of the area between the two dots (thumb hole). Advance here by lifting the needle and presser foot and sliding fabric away until the 2nd dot is lined up under the needle. Lower needle and presser foot and continue. Don’t forget to backstitch at each dot.

Step 3: Reinforce inner seam

Open seam, pressing each raw edge its side and pin.  Sew a 1/4″ seam allowance down each side of the inner seam, backstitching at beginning and end.

From the wrong side

From the right side. You sew all the way down each side of the seam. The hole is already in place so no need to advance.

Step 4: Sew outer seam

Fold glove so right sides are together and sew outer seam, backstitching at beginning and end.  At this point, try on the glove to make sure it’s not too baggy for your hand or the person you are sewing for.

Technically you could stop right here. Since you are sewing with fleece, the raw ends won’t fray. But it looks much nicer with the hems sewn.

Step 5: Finish top and bottom hems

With gloves inside out, finger press a 1/2 inch single fold hem (this means fold the fabric only once) and pin generously.  Freeing the arm of your machine or working carefully on the top, sew all the way around the tube.  If the arm of your machine is too big (as most are), just sew slowly, careful not to stick yourself or to sew hem to another part of the glove.  Turn right side out and your gloves are complete!

Lots of pins and a slow speed will help make this step successful.

All done!

You can choose to embellish at this point by adding a few decorative buttons.

Envelope Back Pillowcase with Piping

This is a great project for updating a room–with a small amount of fabric you can easily update old throw pillows.  Or, you can make new throw pillows by buying (or, even better, sewing!) pillow forms.  To make this a true beginner project, skip the piping and simply sew the three pieces together as shown.  However, I challenge all new and returning sewers to try adding the piping.  With the correct tools (you’ll need your zipper foot), you’ll be surprised how much a little piping adds to your projects!

This really is a great project for beginning sewing, which is why it pops up in my Sew Easy class again and again.  The skills you will develop by sewing pillowcases are:

  • continuing to develop cutting and straight-line sewing skills
  • pivoting
  • constructing an envelope back
  • sewing a double-fold hem
  • sewing close to an edge/sewing with a narrow seam allowance
  • optional: adding piping and sewing with a zipper foot

Supplies needed:

  • your basic sewing supplies
  • zipper foot
  • Fabric (3/4 yard or several fat quarters)
  • 10-16″ pillow form
  • packaged piping
  • disappearing ink pen, chalk or dull pencil
  • optional: straight edge, self-healing mat and rotary cutter

Ideas for future:

This same concept can be applies to covering square pieces of foam (as in a bench set) by adding 2” more fabric and creating a boxed corner

This same idea can be applied to make sweet little tissue covers

You don’t have to use the same fabric!  Since there are three pieces, feel free to mix and match

If you are redoing a bedroom, consider buying an extra flat sheet.  You can use this as fabric for your own pillows, valences, etc.

Use the concept of piping on hems, valences, pillow cases (i.e.. between the header and body of the pillowcase you made in Sew Easy), around handbags

Step 1: Cutting the Pieces

Using the method that suits you best for cutting straight edges, use the following guidelines to make your pillow.  For a square pillow the rule is to measure 1 inch square more than the form size for the front and 3 inches smaller (side to side) to create two rectangles for the back (see measurements below for further explanation):

10″ Pillow Form

Cut one 11″ by 11″ square

Cut two 11″ by 8″ rectangles

12″ Pillow Form

Cut one 13″ by 13″ square

Cut two 13″ by 10″ rectangles

14″ Pillow

Cut one 15″ by 15″ square

Cut two 15″ by 12″ rectangles

16″ Pillow

Cut one 17″ by 17″ square

Cut two 17″ by 14″ rectangles

Step 2:  Prepare the Back

Set iron for your type of fabric.  For each of the rectangular pieces, start with right side(patterned-side) facing down and press down a 1/2” hem on the long side of the rectangle.

Open hem and press raw edge in to meet the fold.  This is sometimes referred to as “turning and pressing.”

Can you see the frayed bits close to the crease? Just tuck that raw edge right into the crease!

Then fold again and press closed.  (Of course you may press a 1/4” hem and then fold and press another 1/4” hem, but many people find this difficult when working with such a narrow hem.)

Pin hem and sew hem in a place that is comfortable for you.  (I like to get close to where the folded fabric meets the single layer.)

I often press the hem again, just to have a nice, crisp edge.  Set aside.  Don’t forget to do this for both of the back pieces.

Step 3: Add Piping

(This is the most tedious part of the project.  Not doing piping?  Skip to Step 4B.)

Take the square piece of fabric and your piping.  (Make sure this piece of fabric is wrinkle-free!) Place your fabric pattern-side up.  Starting somewhere in the middle (NOT THE CORNER) of one side, pin your piping to the edge of the fabric.  The raw edge of the fabric should match the taped edge of the piping.

Continue doing this around the entire square.  When you get to a corner, clip the piping tape a bit to form the right angle.  Do not clip through the stitches of the piping, though!

To join the corded (piped) ends, bring each end in toward the raw edge a bit and criss-cross.  Pin.

Feel free to let these tails hang off even more making a total X. It’s better to have more piping that find out you are short at the last seconds of sewing. You will snip off any excess when you are finished.

Attach zipper foot.  Sew around the entire square as closely to the piping as you can.  Pivot at corners and be mindful of the pins!  (Ouch!)

You caught me! I’m using a 1/4″ foot here because I left my zipper foot in class the night before I wrote this tutorial. This is a placeholder until I take a new photo.

 

Step 4A:  Attaching Front to Back (piping)

With the piped side up, place the two back panels on top with the right side (pattern-side) facing down.  Make sure front and back match the way you want them too!!!  (i.e. prevent upside down prints!) Match up the raw edges.  The back panels will overlap.

Pin into place in a few spots.  Then, flip over the pillowcase and pin around all edges trying to go in on one side of the piping, under the piping and then come out on the opposite side.  When you are finished pinning, remove the few pins you used as placeholders on the opposite side.  Now you are ready to sew with the front panel up (so you can see the stitches you made when adding the piping).

Follow those stitches around the entire square.  Clip corners.  If you desire, you can trim and serge or overcast raw seam.

 

Step 4B:  Attaching Front to Back (no piping)

Place the square right side up.  Place the two back panels on top with the right sides facing down.  Make sure front and back match the way you want them too!!!  (i.e. prevent upside down prints!) Match up the raw edges.  The back panels will overlap.

Follow those stitches around the entire square.  Clip corners.  If you desire, you can trim and serge or overcast raw seam.

 

Step 5:  Completing the Pillow

Turn right-side out.  Check for any skipped stitches in seams.  Stuff with pillow form.  Trim any loose strings that have appeared.  Congrats–you’re done!