Small Projects and Tutorials

Deanna at Wedding Dress Blue posted five days of small projects last week, along with links to tutorials.  I made two of the projects and was very pleased with them.

http://weddingdressblue.wordpress.com/2012/05/07/all-small-week-day-1-business-card-holder/

These card holders were easy and fast to make.  I like to have something handmade to hold gift cards and these were perfect.  I chose to use snaps as closures and I thought they turned out very cute.

http://weddingdressblue.wordpress.com/2012/05/10/all-small-week-day-4-pincushions/

I also made the Cathedral Windows pincushion.  I had tried a Cathedral Windows block years ago without much success, but this one turned out pretty well.

It was fun to check in each day to see what Deanna had for us.  Here are the other three projects she posted:

http://weddingdressblue.wordpress.com/2012/05/12/all-small-week-day-5-denim-storage-bins/

http://weddingdressblue.wordpress.com/2012/05/08/all-small-week-day-2-circle-skirt/

http://weddingdressblue.wordpress.com/2012/05/09/all-small-week-day-3-fabric-nesting-baskets/

Recycling Old Lace Curtains

When we moved into this house 11 years ago, the previous owners had left behind three lace panel curtains.  They were too pretty to get rid of but I really had no use for them and they have been hanging in a closet since 2001.  Yesterday, I finally decided to do something with the panels and made new curtains for my kitchen windows.  I needed bottom panels and valance for the window over my sink and three valances for the bay window area.

I was able to make use of the pretty bottom edging on the panels for the window over the sink ….

…and cut all the valances sideways to be able to use the pretty side edging for the bottoms.

I took down venetian blinds to make the kitchen brighter and more open.  Although I’ll be replacing the lace curtains with heavier ones in the fall, I don’t think the blinds are ever going back up.

Cute Valentine Bookmarks

Karen at Sew Many Ways has a a great tutorial for a heart bookmark that is perfect for Valentine’s Day.

http://sewmanyways.blogspot.com/2012/01/tool-time-tuesdayfabric-heart-bookmark.html

These literally take minutes to cut and sew.  The only change I made was to trim the seams and do some decorative top-stitching.  I made these to enclose with my Valentines to the family this year.

Red fabric is good for Valentine’s Day but I couldn’t resist making one in an animal print for a daughter who loves it.

The back has a little pocket which slips over the bottom corner of a book page to keep your place.

To accompany the bookmark and to help explain how to use it, I looked through my collection of vintage cards for something with a book and came up with this one.

I scanned it and added the caption, “A Valentine Bookmark just for you”.   The bookmark was slipped onto the bottom edge…

….and I wrote a personal message on the back of the card.

I think this will be a nice surprise as I continue the tradition of sending Valentines to special people.
This Valentine was sent to my mother by her first grade teacher in 1923

An Easy, Warm Balaclava

Deanna at Wedding Dress Blue posted a tutorial for this nice, warm balaclava.  I was unfamiliar with the term, but when I saw a hood tying tightly around the face with a piece coming up to the nose, I knew it was just what I needed for my three-times-a-day walks in all kinds of weather with my dog, Rusty.

You can find the pattern and tutorial here:

http://weddingdressblue.wordpress.com/2011/12/30/tutorial-balaclava/

The pattern prints out onto 6 sheets of paper which are easily taped together and cut out.  In printing my pattern, I found there was a small gap between the 1st and 2nd rows of paper on the right hand side, but it was easy to see where the cutting line should be.

There’s just one pattern piece to cut out and a simple zigzag stitch to put it together plus a couple of notions – elastic cording and cord stops.  I couldn’t find the single barrel stop Deanna mentions but used Dritz #493-1 2 Cord Stops along with Dritz #9342B Round Cord Elastic (JoAnn’s).  I shortened the cord by about 10 inches for the medium pattern so that the cord stops are on either side of the balaclava, about eye level.

Also, the piece of fleece remnant I picked up was only 22 inches long but worked fine by reducing the cuff to 1-1/2 inches. I had enough left from a 60″ wide piece to make another balaclava if I wish.

I’m sure I’m going to get a lot of use out of the balaclava in the next few months and thank Deanna for the good tutorial.  My youngest daughter served as model.

Mini-Christmas Card Holder

Christmas cards – sending them and receiving them – used to be a major part of the season.  Everyone sent cards to everyone – we exchanged cards with our minister, doctor, grocer, teachers, neighbors, friends and woe to the person who forgot an aunt or distant cousin when making out the cards.

My sister and I liked to buy the dime-store boxes of cards in which every piece was different.  Then, we could match them up to the recipient – a funny snowman for a cousin, an English village scene for an aunt and uncle, a religious card for Grandma.

All personal cards were signed by hand, most with a short message, and addressed by hand.  There was usually a TB sticker on the back of the envelope to show the sender had bought a page of stickers to fight tuberculosis.

Envelopes, stamps and stickers had to be licked, a job the kids usually got to do.

A lot of cards were mailed and a lot of cards were received.  They were opened quickly and taped in a prominent place in the living room – surrounding the mantel or maybe attached to a velvet ribbon that traveled around a door jamb.  Visitors were likely to look through the cards, admire the designs and take note of the senders.

Things have changed a lot.  We still send cards but very selectively.  So many of the people who used to be so interested in the annual Christmas greetings are gone now and the younger people like to send e-mails or say, “Merry Christmas” on their blogs.  I receive 10 cards or so each Christmas now and don’t need a length of velvet to display them.  This Christmas, I was inspired by a card-holder wall hanging I saw in a quilt shop.  I made one to fit my mini-quilt rack – it’s basically a wall hanging with a pocket attached.  It’s plenty big enough to hold my cards which are still treasured and admired just as they were 50 years ago.

The vintage cards are from my personal collection.  The bank card and TB seal are from the 1920s, the other cards are from the 1940s.

A Really Cute Pieced Santa Ornament

This is a very easy paper-pieced Santa ornament.  If you’re familiar with paper piecing, it will be a breeze to make and if you’re not, this is a good introduction.   For the pattern and complete instructions, go to

http://pinwheelponders.blogspot.com/2009/07/paper-pieced-santa-pattern.html

There is also a link on that post to a good paper piecing tutorial.

The pattern called for small black buttons and a red pompom which I didn’t have.  Instead, I removed the paper backing after doing the paper piecing and embroidered two French-knot eyes and some red lines for the mouth.

Luckily, I did have some small bells for the hat.  A small white pompom would also work well.

On the Pinwheel Ponders blog, there are several examples of different fabrics used on the ornaments.

I chose to hand stitch a wire hook to the ornament for hanging.

Although not required, I have these tools on hand for paper piecing and turning small items.

The 1/4 inch paper piecing ruler, the hemostat and the point turner have been useful so many times on past projects.  I bought the hemostat (item 3022) and the point turner (item 3009) at Quilt-in-a-Day.  These items are sometimes at your local quilt shop.

Pocket Gift Basket from Scraps–Tutorial

For Christmas, I wanted to make some small baskets with pockets to hold little gifts.  I bought a pattern  and made three baskets, but they were very time-consuming and labor-intensive.  They turned out well, but I didn’t want to put that much time and work into the 8 additional baskets I needed.

I drafted my own pattern that made a 5-½ x 5-½ inch basket with a handle and pockets on the inside for the gifts.  It turned out to be just what I wanted and took about an hour to complete each one which included 15 minutes of hand-sewing, as opposed to about 3 hours for the first pattern and an hour of hand-sewing.  I also liked that I could use up fabric scraps to make them.  The basket is not difficult to make – basically two cubes joined with binding and handles.

I thought they turned out very cute and can be used after the Christmas treats are gone.

My daughter wrote on her blog about the three baskets I donated as craft table items at our favorite dog shelter, along with the items my two daughters donated.

LITTLE POCKET GIFT BASKET

Following are the materials I used to make one basket.  The fabric can be different or coordinating for any of the sections.  It’s fun to see how different each one can be.

Basket Outside fabric:

Cut four 5-1/2 x 6-½ inch pieces (note direction of fabric) for sides
Cut two 6-½ x 6-½ inch pieces for bottom (outside and lining)

Lining fabric:

Cut four 5-½ x 6-½ inch pieces for sides

Pocket Fabric:

Cut four 7-½ inch wide x 5-½ inch long pieces for pockets.

Binding Fabric:

Cut one 2-¼ inch strip 24-1/2 inches long

Handle Fabric

Cut two pieces 2-¼ wide x 8-½ inches long.

Stiff Fusible Interfacing such as Inner-Fuse by Dritz – A strip 28 inches x 5-¾ inches wide

Cut four 4-¾ x 5-3/4 inch pieces for sides

Cut one 5-¾ x 5-3/4 inch piece for bottom


SEWING – ¼ inch seams unless otherwise noted

  • Outside fabric sides and bottom:  Center the fusible interfacing on the wrong sides of the four sides and bottom of outside fabric.

  • Flip over and press according to manufacturer’s instructions.

  • Pockets and lining:  On the pocket tops (7-½ inch side) turn under ¼ inch and then another ¼ inch.  Stitch in place.
  • Finger press the center of each pocket and each lining piece along the wide edge.  Match up lining sides and pockets at the bottom edge – wrong side of pocket to right side of lining – stitch on the center mark from the top of the pocket to the bottom edge of the pocket/lining, back stitching at the top of the pocket.

  • Pin pocket to lining at bottom corners and at pocket hems on the sides.  Pin a small pleat on either side of the center stitching.

  • Baste along the sides and bottom of the pocket/lining 1/8 inch from the edge.  Make four of these pocket/lining sections.

  • To assemble outside of basket:  With RIGHT SIDES TOGETHER, stitch a side panel to two opposite sides of the bottom, press.  Be careful that fabric is going in the right direction.  The design should be facing toward the bottom panel.
  • Place another side panel beside the panel on the left hand side of the center.  Be sure pattern is going in the same direction.

  • Flip the second side panel over on top of the previously sewn panel on the left hand side of the center – RIGHT SIDES TOGETHER, matching raw edges at the side and top.

  • Stitch along the top, stopping ¼ inch from the point where the corner of the block meets the seam of the panel.

  • At this point, keeping the needle down, raise the foot, pivot, and turn the side panel and sew to the next pivot point.

  • Once again, pivot, turn panel and sew around to the top edge.  Back stitch at the beginning and ending and at each pivot point.  Don’t be afraid to fold or scrunch the basket to get it in the proper position to sew.

This is how the basket will look at this point.

  • Repeat with the remaining side panel on the other side of the basket.

  • Turn basket and press into corners with finger to shape basket.

  • To assemble lining:   In the same manner, sew together the lining/pocket sections to the remaining bottom piece.  Be sure the tops of the pockets are facing up.  Add the remaining two panels to form a lining/pocket cube.

  • Place the lining inside the fabric basket, matching up side seams, pinning at the top and pressing lining into place with your fingers.
  • Handles:  Fold sides of handle straps until they meet in the center, press, fold again lining up pressed edges.

  • Press and top-stitch on both sides of the handle
  • Pin a handle on opposite sides of the basket, 1 inch from the seam edge on each side.

  • Baste 1/8 inch from the raw edge, sewing from the inside of the basket.  Be sure all layers have been basted.  Note:  If pins are inserted with the points toward the top of the basket, they will be easy to remove as you sew.
  • Binding: Join ends with ¼ inch seam and press seam open.  Press in half lengthwise, wrong sides together.
  • Place binding on top portion of basket, matching raw edges, and pin.  Stitch RIGHT SIDES TOGETHER to the outside of the basket.  Sew from the inside of the basket.

  • Turn the binding to the inside of the basket, allowing about 1/8 inch to show at the top edge.  Hand stitch the binding in place.

Here are the rest of the pocket gift baskets I made.

A Biscornu Pincushion from Darlene

Today, I found in my mailbox an Easter gift from my blogger friend, Darlene.  She sent me a pretty card and a biscornu pincushion she had made.  I was familiar with this type of work only because Darlene had blogged about it with this web site as reference:

http://www.prettyimpressivestuff.com/biscornu.htm

I learned from this web site that a biscornu is an interesting 8-sided little pincushion.  The word “biscornu” (sometimes written “biscournu”) is derived from the French adjective meaning skewed, quirky or irregular.

Darlene’s tiny cross-stitch work is so beautiful.  What a nice surprise!

An Easter Gift Bag from Scraps

I wanted to make up a small gift bag to hold Easter candy for the grandchildren and I’m always looking for ways to use up fabric scraps.  This little bag fit the bill in both cases and ties securely to keep all the treats from falling out.

This is how I made the bag:

I used 1/4 inch seams throughout.

For the bottom of the bag A:

  • Cut two pieces of fabric 6 inches wide x 6-1/2 inches long.  I chose to use a cute vintage bunny print.  Notice the direction of the print before cutting so that you have the look you want on the front and back of the bag.
  • Draw a 3/4 inch square at the two corners at the bottom of bag A.  This measurement will make the bag 2 inches deep.

  • Cut out the squares

  • Place the front and back of bag A right sides together and stitch along the sides and across the bottom.
  • Spread the side of the bag and bring raw edges together at the corner, matching seams

  • Stitch 1/4 inch straight across for corner

  • Repeat with other corner.  Turn and press.

For top of bag – B

  • Cut 2 pieces of contrasting fabric 6 inches wide x 6-1/2 inches long.  I wanted to use some blue and white scraps for this portion of the bag and cut 6 strips of white and 6 strips of blue, 1-1/2 x 6 inches.  Sew 6 strips, alternating colors, to form two 6×6-1/2 pieces for the top of the bag.

  • Join front and back of B together and stitch down sides.
  • At the top of B, turn down 1/4 inch and then another 1/4 inch and stitch for the hem.

Joining top and bottom – A and B

  • Place the top of the bag over the bottom, matching raw edges at the top and side seams.  Stitch to join these pieces.

  • Turn top A inside of bottom B and press.  Measure down 1/2 inch from seam and pin on an 11-1/2 piece of trim which has been joined with a 1/4 inch seam.

  • Stitch through the center of the trim, catching all 3 layers of trim, bottom and top of bag.
  • Press and assemble bag so that top portion comes out of bottom of bag.
  • Fill with Easter treats and tie with a pretty ribbon.

Bag measures about 5 x 8-1/2 inches x 2 inches deep – just the right size for a stash of jellybeans.

I also made a larger version, using a 6-1/2 inch unfinished quilt block and added borders to make the piece 8-1/2 inches wide x 9-1/2 inches long for the front bottom of the bag.  I added 3 pieces of fabric the same size  for the top and back bottom pieces.  I cut 1-1/2 inch squares for the corners.  On this one, I sewed a piece of lace with eyelets near the top and threaded the ribbon through the eyelets.  You can adjust the fabric size to suit your purposes.  The blocks cut out for the corners gives the depth for the bag.  This bag measures 8 inches wide x 14 inches long x 3 inches deep.

Springtime Mantel and Cushion Cover

Desert Sky Quilts has a great quilting blog which includes tutorials for some blocks she designed.  I liked her Indestructible Star and tried it using her instructions for a 12-1/2 inch unfinished block.  I added a border and ruffles to make a nice cushion cover.

(http://desertskyquilts.livejournal.com/)

I thought this would be a good pattern to use with scraps for a springtime mantel cover.  For this cover I reduced the blocks to 6-1/2 inches.

For the length I wanted, I made 5 blocks using scraps of a different coordinating color for each.

I added setting and corner triangles along with a border and a plain piece of fabric for the top of the mantel.

I didn’t want to use batting and placed the backing right sides together with the block portion and sewed around the edges, leaving an opening on the back edge.  The piece was turned and pressed, then I used a minimum amount of machine stitching to hold the back and front together and top stitched around the edge.

I like the cover very much – cheerful and spring-like.

This cover measures 19-1/2 x 43-1/2 inches.