Tutu for You

I don’t know what it is about little girls and tutus, but they are just cute.  Fortunately, they are pretty easy to make as well. (Dogs could really do without them, but I needed a model.) What You’ll Need: 3/4 inch wide no-roll elastic (2 inches shorter than waist measurement) 2 rolls of tulle (25 yards each) Hobby Lobby carries these. sewing machine or needle and thread scissors measuring tape Sew the elastic ends togther either using a zig zag stitch on your sewing machine or sew by hand. If you are not sure about waist measurement for a particular size, try this Wikipedia page. Cut the tulle into strips 24 inches long. Then alternating the colors, use a slip knot to attach to the elastic. I preferred the knot to show on the outside. There are hundreds of tutorials out there for this and really anyone could make these – no skills required. Here is a good step by step tutorial from Just We Moms. Now I just need to figure what I would need to make an adult sized one.  

International Quilt Festival

Quilting is big business and if you have any doubts about that, you should go to the International Quilt Festival in Houston on the first weekend in November. Sewing machines going for $30K or more and prizes worth $10K prove that this craft is serious. The craftsmanship and the creativity of the quilts on exhibit is just amazing. I have so much respect for the entries and all of the work that went into each one. Here are a few of my favorites from the show: Be sure to look at the other winners as well.

Stitched the Film

Be sure to check out your local PBS stations this month for the documentary film Stitched that follows some well known quilters through their journey to Houston’s International Quilt Show. These people are truly artists – and some are just a little weird.

Fruit Pincushions

Pincushions are pretty popular these days and with so many people starting to sew again, they make great gifts. Fortunately, there are some options beyond the orange tomatoes. I took a stab at making one based on a pattern by Heather Bailey. I was originally inspired by Patty the Snug Bug who has a tutorial on how to make them and she sells them at her Etsy store, too. Instead of doing a tutorial for these, I’m just going to pass along some tips based on my own experience and advice I found most helpful. 1. I used the crushed walnut shells for filler instead of sand or emery sand. I had no problems with it and it is much cheaper than the sand. You can buy it at the pet store in the bird section. 2. Do not be afraid to overfill. Load this sucker up!  I made this mistake because I wasn’t sure how much the the tufting would firm it up and it did, but not enough for a real pincushion. Mine will probably be relegated to toy or knick knack since it really isn’t tight enough for a pincushion. 3. Use wool felt if you can since […]

Bowls & a Review: Sewing in a Straight Line

I’ve been following Brett Bara’s blog for a couple of years and she just seems like this really cool, down to earth, modern chick (in the best way, of course). I was super glad to hear she would have a book coming out about one of my current obsessions, sewing. If you’ve watch Knit & Crochet today, then you’ve seen Brett in action and I always associated her with crochet, but turns out she is a wicked seamstress as well and proves it with Sewing in a Straight Line. The best part about the book is that it is great for a beginner and really helped me to understand shirring and removed my fear of zippers. You’ll be seeing a few projects from the book in the future, I’m sure. This book is full of modern and really easy projects that will impress everyone – including yourself. My first project was the folded bowls. I cheated a little and didn’t really follow the measurements called for, but used two fat quarters which made one large and one small bowl. The large was 9 inches square and the small was 6 inches square. There are just two things to mention that […]

Tote that Bag

One of the first things I sewed was a tote bag and there are hundreds of tutorials out there for them, but Icombined the features I like best into one of my own. After all, you can’t have enough tote bags can you? This variation has a lining and some interfacing added to give it a little more heft. You could skip the interfacing if you use a heavier fabric like upholstery or drapery fabric. What You’ll Need: 5 Fat Quarters (18×22 inches) These can be all the same or a combination. 1/2 yard Medium Weight Fusible Interfacing To begin, we want to make the straps for your bag. Using one of your fat quarters, cut out two strips 4inches wide and 20 inches long. If you want longer or shorter straps, just adjust the length, but be sure to have the same length on both strips. Go to your ironing board and press the strips in half so the strips are folded up to 2 inches wide. Then bring the edges to the center crease and press again. Take then to your sewing machine and sew 1/4 inch seams along both sides of the strap. You won’t need to […]

Murphy’s Quilt

Things are moving more slowly here crafting-wise as I delve deeper and deeper into sewing. Sewing for me at least takes a long time to accomplish since it is such a precise art. I mentioned before that I wanted to give quilting more of a go and so I purchased a kit from Joann’s for a baby quilt. I thought a kit might be the way to go so I didn’t have to worry about fabric choices and picking a pattern just yet (though I think that will be fun). I just wanted to concentrate on the construction so I could get that down before getting too fancy. As what happens to a lot of my projects, they go to the dogs. Murphy and Darcy have gotten my quilting disasters before, so it was time to give them something a little better and release any pressure on myself on making it OCD perfect enough to give to anyone. Of course the kit is discontinued now, so I can’t link to it, but a similar one is the Simple Quilts – Pink & Brown Lap Quilt. The kits come with the fabric for the front, binding and the back. All you […]

Easter Bunny

I recently finished another pattern from RetroMama called Betsy and Basil that is perfect for my niece’s Easter basket tomorrow. It was really easy to put together and the instructions were very clear. You can easily whip it up in a couple of hours. Happy Easter everyone!

Sew Up Some Quilted Coasters

And now for more Martha inspired crafts…. I’m still sewing away in what is slowing becoming more of a sewing room instead of a craft room. While I’m venturing out and making pj pants and more toys, I am inching closer to quilting. My grandmother on my mother’s side was an avid quilter. She left us with about a dozen quilts that I fondly remember my mother bringing out whenever the weather got cool. All that aside, quilting kind of scares me so this is me making a small attempt at quilting. The great thing about these coasters is that they give you some good practice at sewing that all important straight 1/4 inch seam and gets you used to the idea of sewing through the multiple layers of batting and working with a walking foot. These were really quick to churn out and didn’t take up much fabric. I kind of cheated and used some squares from a charm pack I bout at the Fat Quarter Shop. A charm pack is usually a collection of 5 in. x 5 in squares. This design is Giddy by Sandy Gervais for Moda Fabrics. To make your own, go to the directions on the […]

Sew Your Own Clutch – Just Like Martha

I have to say, I’m amazed that this is something I could make. It really has opened up my eyes to the possibilities of really making anything I set my mind to and it was pretty easy, too. You can get all the supplies to make one yourself from the designer at her Etsy shop, Upstyle. You can also buy one that is already assembled if you don’t have a sewing machine. If you buy the kit, the only things you’ll need to buy is matching thread and glue for attaching the purse frame. She also sells purse frames alone so you can use your own fabrics to really make special. I really love this frame because it looks so modern. The trickiest part was sewing through some of the really thick layers and attaching the purse frame, but it is all doable. Check out the video on the Martha Stewart Show where Robin Grawunder demonstrates how easy it is to make one for yourself.

Happy Bunting

Fabric bunting just screams happy to me. Bunting is traditionally used for festive occasions and can be made of fabric, paper or plastic. In reality it is just some triangles, right? Couldn’t be hard to make, can it? It is easy as pie and even this novice sewer can make them. What You’ll Need: Cotton fabric (stash fabric preferably) 1 fat quarter (18″ x 22″) can make 4 triangles (makes two flags once sewn together) Extra Wide Double Fold Bias Tape in coordinating color (3 yards) Triangle template pdf (makes 9 inch long triangles) Step One: Cut out 16 triangles using template. You can use scissors or a rotary cutter if you have one. Depending on the amount of fabric you have, you may choose to use the same fabric for the front and back of your triangle or you could use different fabric for each or you could even use the same fabric for the backs of all triangles leaving only the front ones with the different fabrics. Step Two: With right sides facing, align two triangles together and pin. You will have eight triangles. Step Three: Sew along the long edges of the triangles, pivoting at the point. You […]

Whoooo Stuffed Owl

I am trying to get in more sewing practice lately and I’ve found sewing toys a good way to practice some skills and since they are so small, I can finish them quickly. Recently, I’ve run across patterns written by Retro Mama that are really quick and the instructions are very clear and easy to follow. This cute owl is Stewart from the Owl Softie pattern. What You’ll Need: Pattern from Retro Mama Cotton fabric for wings and back Corduroy or linen for front White, black, yellow, orange felt (preferably wool or wool blend) Stuffing Wonder under fusible interfacing You could easily use scraps for all of the fabric since the amounts needed are so small. I sewed most of the pieces using my sewing machine and hand sewed the felt pieces of the face and feet. I also left the bottom open to fill the owl instead of the side like the pattern calls for just because I didn’t want the sides to have different shapes and it would be less noticeable at the bottom when I sewed it up. All in all, a pretty quick and easy to follow pattern. I think it took me about 2 hours […]

Black Apple Dolls

I am trying to learn how to sew and my attempts have been less than perfect, but I keep trying. I saw these Black Apple dolls by Emily Martin on the Martha Stewart Show and fell in love with them so I got out my trusty Hello Kitty sewing machine again and gave it a whirl. My version of the doll, isn’t perfect, but I think that’s what makes her kind of special. You can personalize them in all kinds of ways from their faces, hair, clothing and accessories. It can take you back to your childhood when you played with your own dolls. Mine are going to the babies in my life, but I think I may keep one for myself! This is what you’ll need: Black Apple pattern The link will take you to the Martha Stewart site for the pattern as well as clips from the show that featured Emily demonstrating how to make the dolls. Cotton or canvas fabric for face, legs and arms Cotton fabric for dress (A leftover fat square will be plenty.) Wool felt for hair (I bought mine from Feltorama. The link on the Martha Stewart site to the felt resource doesn’t work.) […]

Tutorial for Creating Your Own Stuffed Toys

A tutorial from artist Abby Glassenberg was featured on Craft recently and it is an excellent guide for designing and making your own stuffed toys. There are six posts in the series so far from how to design your pattern to how to turn the fabric right side out after sewing. Check it out. While She Naps Site If you’re not up for making your own, you can buy one at the While She Naps Etsy store.