Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Sewing Machine Mini Quilt

Tuesday, December 5, 2017
mini quilt featuring sewing machine
The fabric for this project was provided to me by Riley Blake Designs. The project and opinions are my own.

You probably don't know this, but I have been pulled out of depression twice in the last two years by sewing. Through being creative, putting things together in a unique fun way, and taking time to do something just for me, I have found my happiness any joy renewed. So creating, and specifically sewing, have a very special place in my heart and in my life. When I was given the opportunity to participate in the blog tour for this new Happiness is Handmade line by Lori Whitlock, I jumped at the chance. The colors, theme and feel of this line just speaks right to my heart. I've been wanting to make some new mini quilts for a while now and this seemed like the perfect time to start.
I started with this sewing machine block from The Fat Quarter shop. It was a good size and I loved the shape. I had a blast putting it together. *Now, before we go any further, I need to add a disclaimer that I am a novice quilter. I have not done many quilts and my technique is sketchy at best. But, I'm learning, I forgive myself as I go for not being great at it, and I enjoy the process enough to do it anyway. So, don't zoom in- okay?
I added a small border under the sewing machine and then added two rows of hearts to the top and bottom. I purposely offset the two rows of hearts to give the quilt just a bit of movement. I really love how it turned out.
If you are interested in making this exact mini yourself, this heart tutorial by Cluck Cluck, Sew is the process I used to create my hearts. I cut the color rectangles at 2 1/4" X 3 1/2", the tops of the hearts were created with 1" squares and the bottom of the heart used 2 1/4" squares. They are a bit shorter than the ones in the tutorial, but I like this shape a little better. The border between the sewing machine and the heart row is 1 1/2" X 16 1/2" and the borders on the heart row were 1 1/2" X 3 1/2" and 2" X 3 1/2". If there are any questions, please let me know and I can write it up a bit clearer. :)
Happiness for me is indeed creating handmade and I'm so happy I will have a bit of this line hanging out with me for a long time in my sewing space.
Happy creating everyone!

Monday, December 4, 2017

Shine Bright Tote tutorial

Monday, December 4, 2017
Shine Bright fabric tote
The fabric for this post was provided by Riley Blake Designs, the project and opinions are my own.

I absolutely loved this fabric and the message the ladies from Simple Simon and Company incorporated into it. They dedicated this line to their daughters and wanted them to know what they hope for and think of the sweet girls in their lives. I want my girls to know that I think the same things about them, so I knew I wanted to make something they would see and use often. I decided on a tote bag that they could use to hold their coloring supplies, or even use for library books if they want. It's a simple bag, made a bit more fun with the addition of a pleated ruffle on the front.
Shine Bright fabric totes
I made two totes for a couple of my daughters, so in the tutorial I will be alternating between them.

Shine Bright Tote Tutorial
This pattern is fat quarter friendly. You will need one for the exterior and one for the lining. If you want to add additional interest or colors, you will want a few more fabrics.

  • from lining fabric cut 2- 11" X 13" rectangles
  • from exterior fabric cut 1- 11" X 13" rectangle
  • from exterior fabric cut 1- 3" X 11" rectangle
  • from exterior fabric cut 1- 10 1/2" X 11" rectangle
  • cut one 3 1/2" X 20" strip for ruffle
  • cut one 4" X WOF strip for handles (if using Fat Quarters, cut 2 4"X 21" strips)
  • Cut 2-  3 1/2" X 11" strips for accent pieces on bottom of tote (optional- skip if using a dark color for main exterior fabric)
  • From Fusible Fleece cut 2- 10 1/2" X 12 1/2" rectangles
  • from Fusible Fleece cut 1- 7/8" X 42" strip (or 2- 7/8" X 21" strips if using fat quarters)
 Take the 3 1/2" X 20" ruffle piece and press in half along the length.
Attach strip to the top of the 10 1/2" X 11" main exterior piece, creating pleats as you go. Use a scant 1/4" seam allowance. *tip: if you are concerned about the pleats being evenly distributed along the tote, use pins to put the pleats in first.
Then add the 3" X 11" piece on top of the ruffle- this time use a full 1/4" seam allowance.
Press small piece up and away from ruffle.
Fuse the fleece to the exterior front and back pieces.
Measure 3" up from bottom of each of the exterior pieces and pin the 3 1/2" X 11" accent piece in place.
Stitch down using 1/4" s.a.
Press the accent piece down toward the bottom of the exterior pieces.
Add top stitching above the ruffle, at the top of the ruffle and on the top of both bottom accent pieces.
Take the lining pieces and place them right sides together.
Sew around the two sides and bottom using 1/4" s.a.- Leave a 3-4" opening on bottom seam!!
Mark a 3/4" square on the two bottom corners and cut out using scissors.
Repeat all steps for the exterior of the bag except DO NOT leave an opening on the bottom seam.
Line up the side and bottom seams, pulling the cut out square into a straight line. Pin the seams together.
Sew along the straight line you created using a 1/4" s.a.
Repeat for both lining and exterior of the bag.
Turn the exterior of the bag right side out.
Take your handle strip and press in half along the length.
Open up that seam and press the outer edges of the strip so they line up with the center pressed line.
Place the fusible fleece along the center pressed line to one side or the other.
Fold the outsides back into the center and then fold again along the center fold- this should capture the long raw edges inside the strap.
Press to fuse the fleece to the fabric.
Top stitch along both sides of the strip to create the handles
Cut long strip in half (if using a WOF cut)
Pin handles to front and back of bag exterior.
Line up the outer edge of the handles 2 1/4" in from the side seams.
Pin or baste in place
Slide the exterior of the bag inside of the lining.
Make sure side seams nestle- that they are going in opposite directions.
Line up the side seams and top raw edge of the lining and exterior of bag.
Pin around the entire top opening of bag.
Sew around top of bag using 1/4" seam allowance.
Pull the exterior of the bag through the opening in the bottom of the lining, turn entire bag right side out.
Stitch the opening of lining closed.
Push the lining into the exterior of the bag.
Press the top seam and top stitch around the opening of the tote.
Now your tote is finished! All that is left is to fill it with goodies- like coloring books, pencils and a matching zipper pouch and you have a delightful gift perfect for birthdays, Christmas or any occasion!
As always, if you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask!

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Ruffle Notebook Cover Tutorial

Wednesday, November 8, 2017
*I was given fabric to participate in the This and That blog tour. All opinions and projects are my own.
Notebook cover with ruffle accent
I love the florals in the main print of the This and That fabric line, but what I love even more, is the accent of black that runs throughout this line. It's such a fun contrast to the bright colors. That element of contrast is what led me to create this ruffle notebook cover. The pleated ruffle on the front is a fun element, made even more fun with the contrast of the black fabric. This tutorial will show you how to create your own, so that you can dress up your composition notebooks for doodling, bullet journaling or keeping track of your sewing projects, which is what I use mine for!
Ruffle Notebook Cover
4 fat quarters
1/3 yard for lining
1/3 yard for front accent (less if not directional)
1/3 yard for back of cover
2 1/2" strip of accent fabric, or 1" wide ribbon

decorative elastic if desired for closure

ruffle notebook cover cutting requirements

1-10 1/2" X 16"  Lining fabric (stripe)
3- 5" X 10 1/2" front feature fabric and cover flaps (floral)
1- 2 1/2" X 10 1/2" front feature fabric (floral)
1- 2 1/2" X 20" strip ruffle fabric (black)
1- 9 1/2" X 10 1/2" back cover fabric (red)

pleated ruffle to front accent piece of cover
  • Press ruffle strip in half along the length
  • line up raw edges of the ruffle strip with the right side of the 5" front accent piece. Pin pleats into the accent strip so that it covers the length of the 10 1/2" side.
  • baste into place 
  • Place 2 1/2" front accent piece on top of ruffle, right side down, lining up right sides. 
  • Sew in place using 1/4" seam allowance
ruffle notebook front cover assembly
  •  press the ruffle toward the 2 1/2" accent piece
  • top stitch on both sides of the seam a scant 1/8"
  • line up the left side of the accent piece with the right side of the back cover piece- right sides together
  • Sew the accent piece to the back, using 1/4" seam allowance
  • press toward the darker piece (in this case, the red side)
  • add top stitching if desired
add elastic for closure

  • if using decorative elastic for closure, line up the elastic 2 1/4" from left edge of front cover
  • pin in place
put the notebook cover together
  •  press the cover flap pieces in half along the length (5" X 10 1/2" pieces pressed to create 2 1/2" X 10 1/2" pieces)
  • line up raw edges of flap pieces with both sides of the notebook cover front. *tip: pay attention to the direction of the print on the fabrics at this point
  • place the cover lining right side down on top of the cover front.
  • pin in place
  • Sew around the entire cover using a 1/4" seam allowance, leaving a 3-4" opening on the bottom for turning
  • clip all four corners and turn right side out
  • press
  • stitch opening in bottom closed
tutorial to create ruffle notebook cover
 Slide your composition notebook into the flaps and bring the elastic around to the front to keep closed.
ruffle accent cover for composition notebook
Now you have a beautiful new cover for your composition notebook! I use mine all the time to keep track of the projects I am making, adjustments to patterns and ideas for future projects. I LOVE having one in my sewing room (or two or three!!).

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Exposed lace zipper sleeping bag tutorial

Tuesday, October 24, 2017
tutorial to sew a sleeping bag for 18" dolls
*I was given fabric to participate in the Safari Party blog hop. All opinions and projects are my own.

Whenever I make a project, I always hope that it will do two things- show off the fabrics I love, and be something useful, practical or fun. When I saw this Safari Party fabric from Melissa Mortenson for Riley Blake I knew immediately what I wanted to create with it- this fun cozy sleeping bag for my daughters and their 18" dolls.  The hardest part was figuring out how to get it come together. I wanted it to have the feel of a real sleeping bag, with a zipper, but I also didn't want to have to use a separating zipper. I came up with a fun compromise- using these darling lace zippers I have loved forever, but never had a project to use them on, until now!
I love that the lace zippers add a bit of fun to an already darling project thanks to such cute fabrics! Read on for the tutorial:

Exposed lace zipper sleeping bag:

2- 21"X10" rectangles for back (sleeping bag back, and lining)
2- 16"X10" rectangles for front. (I wanted a patchwork look for the fronts on mine, so I pieced different fabrics together, feel free to use a solid piece of fabric)
1- 21"X 10" and 1- 16"X9 1/2" rectangles of fusible fleece
1- 12" lace zipper

Sew the front 16" rectangle to the 21" rectangle you want for the back of the sleeping bag. Line them up at the bottom of the 21" rectangle with right sides together and with the front (shorter) piece on top, sew on the RIGHT SIDE. Press the front of the sleeping bag to the side.
Sew the lining 16" rectangle to the 21" rectangle that will be the lining back (you will see this fabric when the sleeping bag is zipped closed). Line them up right sides together and with the shorter piece on top sew the LEFT SIDE. Press the front to the side.
*Sorry for the lack of pictures on the next steps!
Fuse the fleece to the two pieces of the lining that are already sewn together. Place the outside and lining pieces on top of each other right sides together and sew around using a 1/4" seam allowance, leaving a 2-3" opening on the bottom for turning. Clip all corners and clip a "V" out of the corner where the short side meets the long side. Turn right side out and press. Add a few lines of quilting if desired.

Attach the zipper:
Line the zipper up with the top of the sleeping bag front. Make sure you leave a scant 1/4" from the zipper teeth to the fabric to make it easier to slide the pull. Fold under the zipper ends to create a 45 degree angle and hide the raw edges of the zipper. Stitch the zipper in place. I ran two lines of stitching, one 1/4" away from the zipper teeth and one on the scalloped edge of the zipper to hold it down.
To attach the second side of the zipper you will need to fold the sleeping bag so the sides line up. Make sure the bottom corners are level and zip up the zipper so it lines up. Carefully pin the zipper to the back of the sleeping bag, again making sure to leave a scant 1/4" from the teeth to the fabric so it will pull open easily.  It takes a bit of patience for this part, so just go slowly and make sure everything is lined up. When you are done, fold under the zipper ends again and sew down the same as you did the front. You will need to unzip the zipper to get it all sewn down and it will involve some serious manipulation of the sleeping bag to make sure everything stays in place, but it can be done and you will make it!! :)

You can finish the bottom in one of two ways. On the blue sleeping bag, I turned it inside out and used my machine to edge stitch from the bottom of the zipper, around the corner to the center fold. It makes it a bit narrower at the bottom, but it was fast and easy. On the pink sleeping bag I used a needle and thread and ladder stitched it closed, a much more precise, but time consuming option. Either way you choose, make sure to close the hole in the bottom you left for turning.
The final step is to give it to your doll owner of choice and see them squeal in delight!
Have fun sewing and let me know if you have any questions!

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Mini Banner Flags

Sunday, October 15, 2017
Mini Banner sewing tutorial
 I love making mini banners for accent pieces in my decor. They use a fairly small amount of fabric, can be customized for any style and they are a quick and satisfying project for an afternoon. Today I'm going to share with you the measurements and methods I use to make these mini banner flags.
make ornaments with mini banner flags

You can hang them individually with dowels and twine. They  make a great addition to a gallery wall. Or, use them as ornaments on a seasonal tree. **If you would like to embellish your banners with these badges, you can find the patterns Here on my contributor post for The Polka Dot Chair.
make a bunting with mini banner flags
Or, string them together to make a bunting.
Are you sold? Ready to make some?
Mini Banner Flag
Fabric- fat quarters or scraps, if buying yardage I recommend 1/3 yard for directional prints, 1/4 yard for non directional prints.
Finishing supplies: twine or ribbon for stringing, dowels and twine for individual hanging.
Felt for embellishments if desired.

cutting instructions for mini banners
 Cut a rectangle of fabric 4" wide by 10".
Fold in half along the length to create a 5" X 4" rectangle.
Fold in half again along the width to create a 5" X  2" rectangle. Now you will cut the angle to create the banner. Position your small rectangle so the fold on the short side is at the top.
 If you want one center point on the bottom:
  • measure up 1" on the side OPPOSITE the fold 
  • draw a line from that point to the opposite corner on the bottom.
  • Cut along that line
If you want two points on the sides on the bottom:
  • measure up 1" on the side WITH the fold 
  • draw a line from that point to the opposite corner on the bottom
  • cut along that line 
For both:
*If you want to embellish the flags, you can do it either before or after you sew the sides of the banner together. I like to do it after so that I can use more dimensional embellishments without it making it harder to sew the flags together, but if you don't want to see the stitching on the back, you may want to do it before.
  • Unfold the center fold to go back to your 5" X 4" rectangle, now with angles at the bottom.
  • Starting 1/2" down from the top fold, start sewing around the flag, using a 1/4" seam allowance.
  • Once you have sewn down 1 side and the bottom (the part with the angles) sew up the last side, leaving a 2" opening for turning before finishing the side 1/2" from the top.
  • Clip the bottom angles
  • turn right side out and press
  • topstitch around the flag, leaving 1/2" opening from top on both sides to create a channel for stringing or dowels, making sure to close the opening left for turning.
  • Repeat for as many flags as you'd like
 If you are making individual banners, cut your dowel down to 4 1/2" long and string through top channel on flag. Tie twine or ribbon on both sides of dowel to create hanger.
If you are making a bunting, arrange the flags in your desired order then string onto twine or ribbon.
sew mini bunting for seasonal decor
Let me know if you have any questions!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Spider Swarm Pillow

Thursday, October 12, 2017
This is a sponsored post. I was given a Cricut EasyPress to use and review. All opinions and projects are my own.
Use EasyPress to create fun halloween decoration

I love having the ability to customize my projects and Iron on is such a fun way to do it. My problem with using iron on is getting it to adhere well to my projects. It always seemed to lift and peel. I have discovered that the problem wasn't the vinyl I was using- it was me. Not only was I using an iron, I wasn't heating the vinyl nearly long enough. Enter the EasyPress. The large heating surface heats evenly across the entire plate and a built in timer makes sure I don't stop before it's ready. It's so easy now to create projects that use iron on vinyl with confidence. Behold: The Spider Swarm pillow!!
I'm definitely one who prefers cute over creepy when it comes to Halloween decorations, but I don't mind a bit of skin crawling fun here and there. This spider swarm pillow fits my style perfectly.
Want to make one of your own? Read on:
Spider Swarm Pillow How-to
fabric for pillow cover: 1/2 yard white fabric
black iron on vinyl
trim (optional)
sewing supplies and vinyl cutting tool
16" X 16" pillow form

1- 16" X 16" square white fabric
2- 12" X 16" rectangles white fabric for back

Using your Cricut Maker, or other cutting machine, cut spiders out of black iron on vinyl- I used 4 different spiders, resized them and turned many of them different directions to create the swarm. One thing I didn't do, was make sure the spiders weren't touching each other- something I would definitely change next time. Using the BrightPad made the weeding process much easier- it takes a while, but it's worth it (I think!) Since you can only cut 12" wide on the mat, I made the swarm fit within the 12" and then cut a few more spiders on another mat to individually scatter around the white edges.

Use EasyPress to adhere vinyl to pillow front. A couple of things to note- when placing your swarm, remember to leave room for your seam allowance (1/4"). I also left a bit of room on the bottom and sides because often pillow forms are squishy and you don't see that part of the pillow and I wanted to make sure you saw ALL the spiders. ;) This project would be a million times faster if you just created the swarm and then pressed it onto a premade pillow cover- like ones you can find at Ikea. But, the envelope closure of this pillow makes it a fairly straightforward sew- which lets you customize both the background fabric and add any trim or embellishments you might want.

Take one of the pillow back pieces and press one 16" side over 1", then again another 1" to create a finished edge. Top stitch down hem. Repeat for second back piece **Tip: If fabric is directional, make sure the sides you create hems on will overlap once placed on pillow back.

add vintage trim to pillow front by basting in place

If adding trim to edge of pillow, baste the trim down on the pillow front
back of pillow with envelope closure
Take your first pillow back piece and lay on the top of the pillow front, right side down. Line up the raw 16" edge with the side of the pillow and line up the top and bottom. Place the second pillow back piece, right side down, on top, lining up the opposite 16" side from the first piece. The two back pieces should overlap. Pin well, especially where the pieces overlap. Sew around all four sides of pillow using a 1/4" seam allowance.
Turn right side out and add a pillow form. Just like that, you have a new pillow!
halloween is much creepier with a spider swarm pillow

Making spider swarm pillow is easy with Cricut Easy Press
Now all that is left is to enjoy your creepy new decoration!
Happy Halloween!!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Sew a Bunny Softie with the new Cricut Maker

Thursday, September 28, 2017
cut softie pattern with Cricut Maker
I was given a Cricut Maker to review and this post contains affiliate links.

You have probably realized by now that my current crafting mostly involves fabric. I love all the new fabric prints and the fun things you can sew. I love that things last longer when made with fabric than with paper. What I don't love is all the prep work that goes into getting ready to sew. Preparing your fabric, cutting out the pattern pieces- it's a lot of effort that goes into getting ready to do the thing I really want to do, which is sew. That's where my love for the Cricut Maker runs deep! All the steps of printing or cutting out the pattern, pinning or tracing the pattern and then cutting out the fabric- they are all gone with this awesome machine! When I started looking for a pattern to try out this fun feature with, I couldn't resist these darling bunnies- and the best part is that the pattern is free if you have a Cricut Access membership!
All the pattern pieces were cut out with the Cricut Maker
Once I made one, my girls all decided they needed their own, so I ended up making three! I have a few tips for you if you decide to make this pattern that will hopefully help you out! Read all the directions for the project first- they will give you all the steps for assembly, but here are some of the things that worked for me:

baste bunny limbs closed before attaching to body
The first tip is to baste the limbs closed before attaching them to the body. I like my softies nice and firm since the batting tends to break down over time and I want them to have a nice feel for a long time. But, firm limbs are hard to attach since they don't have a lot of room for seam allowances. If you are new to sewing, I would leave a bit more space at the top of each limb so you have more room to work with. Basting will hold the sides of the limbs together and make them easier to attach.
adding limbs to the bunny can be tricky
The second tip is to baste the limbs to the body before adding the back. You can see that once you add arms, legs and ears, it's a bit crazy looking. Trying to keep everything pinned neatly in place can be tough, so go ahead and use a long stitch, and a scant (just smaller than) 1/4" seam allowance to stitch them all in place. Also, note the position of the ears on this bunny. I like them a bit to the sides so they don't always hang over the bunnies' face.
pin the bunny back on
Once you have the limbs sewn down, start at one of the notches on the body and line up the back. Normally when you pin two pieces together, you like them to be flat and even, but with so much bulk in the middle, you have to rely on the notches, and the seams to guide you when pinning. I start just below the notch on one side and pin that side in place, you can see that I leave the legs out of the bunny for now. It makes it much easier to sew the neck if you do the bottom last. Pin up the side and make sure the neck seams line up. Go around the head, pinning more than you normally do and down the other side. Again, check to make sure the neck and notch seams line up. Sew around the bunny where you have pinned- *tip: I like to back stitch a couple of times on places that will get a lot of stress- if your bunny will be loved (and if you give it to a child- it will!!) the limbs and ears will all get pulled on, so, I back stitch whenever I get to the beginning or end of a limb as I go around.
Now it's time to do the bottom. Feed your legs up and into the body of the bunny. It might take a bit of manipulation to get the feet through the neck. Get the bottom as neat as you can and pin from the inside of each leg and around the corner to where your stitching stops. Sew the two legs in, leaving the space between the legs open for stuffing. Make sure to back stitch when starting and stopping- especially the opening where you will turn the softie right side out and stuff it!!
**The biggest tip I have is to go slow and watch your seams. You want to make sure you are catching the front, back and both sides of each limb and ear so they are securely stitched into the bunny. Use a smallish stitch length and lift your presser foot often through the curves.
bunny softies
** Before you turn your softie right side out use pinking shears or sharp scissors to notch your curves. You will get a much smoother shape to your softie if you do!
dress for bunny softie
This is how I ended up making the dress. Cut out the pocket pieces and the dress pieces- skip the straps.
  •  Sew the pocket pieces right sides together, leaving 1-2" on the top straight edge for turning.
  • Clip seam on curves and turn right side out, press.
  • Edge stitch along the top of pocket to close the hole. 
  • Center the pocket on the front dress piece and sew around the bottom curve, back stitch at the beginning and end of pocket to secure. 
  •  Press the top of each dress piece down 1/4", then again 1/2". Press the bottom of each dress piece up 1/4" then again 1/4". 
  • Unfold the pressed hem pieces and put the two dress pieces right sides together. Sew down  both sides of dress (with notches)
  • Fold hems back up and top stitch down.
  • turn arm curves under 1/4" and top stitch
  • fold top hems back down and stitch at just under 1/2" to create a channel for the elastic.
  • Take a 7" piece of decorative elastic and thread it through the front and back channel of top of dress. Sew ends together and turn the elastic so the seam of the elastic is in the casing.
    elastic makes easy straps
The elastic allows the dress to easily come off and on.
sweet bunny softie
 I had so much fun making these bunnies. My three youngest girls have all claimed their favorites and are having so much fun playing with them.
fun bunnies to play with
I even used scraps and my Cricut Maker to create the little bunting in the background. I can't wait to use my Maker machine for all the crafting I want to do!

As always, let me know if you have any questions- I'm happy to help!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.

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