Easy-to-Sew Pouches for a Garden Kneeler–Tutorial

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For the past few years (since I turned 80), I’ve had some back problems which make it difficult to do any gardening.  I can get down on my knees but have trouble getting back up.  Then, I found the Rumford Gardener’s Kneeler/Seat on Amazon and that solved the problem.
41J3S812GCL._SX425_The unit can be used as a seat or, more importantly to me, a kneeler.  It folds for easy storing, is shipped fully assembled and has been such a great help to me that I ordered another one to keep near the back yard.  I’m sure there are other brands that are just as good, but I haven’t used them and I know this one is a good value at around $25.

I noticed that there are also pouches for tools available but they cost about half as much as the kneeler and I thought it wouldn’t be hard to make a set.  These pouches are simple, easy-to-sew and work great for me.  I put four hand tools that I use the most in the pockets and can carry the kneeler from place to place in the yard without difficulty.

Here is how I made the pouches:

Choose medium weight fabric – heavy canvas would be difficult to sew and turn.  I found a remnant of medium weight outdoor fabric that worked perfectly.
toolpouch (1)TOOL POUCHES FOR GARDEN KNEELER – two pouches

CUT:
2 pieces 8 inches wide x 30 inches long of fabric for base
2 pieces 8 inches wide x 8-½ inches long of fabric for pocket
2 sets of Velcro fasteners 6-½ inches long

toolpouch (2)On top edge of pocket, turn down ¼ inch and another ¼ inch and stitch to form a ½ inch hem.

Place base right side up on surface.  Pin pocket fabric right side up on base, matching pocket with bottom and sides of base fabric.  Baste close to bottom and side edges to secure pocket.  Stitch down the center of the pocket fabric to make two sections.
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Bring top edge of base down to line up with bottom edge of base, right sides together (pocket will be on the inside).  Using ½ inch seam, stitch along the sides and bottom, LEAVING OPENING ON ONE SIDE OF ABOUT  3 INCHES TO TURN.

Trim corners, turn and top stitch ¼ inch from the edges all around the base, tucking in the opening seams and securing.
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Working with the back of the piece, measure from the top edge down 6-½ inches and draw a line.

Stitch one piece of Velcro with the bottom edge of the Velcro slightly covering the drawn line.  Stitch the other piece of Velcro to the back top edge.  Top edge will fold down to secure pouch.

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toolpouch (6)Fold edge down over bars on stool with pockets on the outside.

Repeat with the other pieces of fabric and Velcro to complete two pockets with a total of 4 sections for small hand tools.

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*I’m not being paid for my endorsement of this product – I just like it a lot and want to share.

Flat Pocket Gift Bag – Tutorial

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At Christmas time last year, I had embroidered pillow cases for two friends who live out of state.  I wanted to enclose the cases in something that could be mailed in a padded envelope and that might be useful after the gift was opened.  I designed a flat bag with a deep pocket to hold the gift and the bag could be used to store many items throughout the year.

In this case I used some pretty Amish fabric for the outside of the bag and assorted scraps for the pocket and lining.

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For Easter, I made dishtowels with an appliquéd bunny.  Once again, I turned to the flat bag design for a nice gift bag, using orphan blocks for the outside of the bags.

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This is an easy bag to put together, can be done in a short amount of time and makes good use of scraps, embroidered pieces or orphan blocks.

Here is how I made the bags (my example finished at 7-½ x 7-½ inches.  It’s easy to change the dimensions to fit whatever item is going into the bag – flat items like books, Cds, DVDs, towels, pillow cases, etc., work best.

You will need:

A piece of focus fabric, quilt block or embroidered piece the size of the gift plus an additional 1-½ inches to width and length.  (Example:  gift is 7 inches square.  Front piece = 8-½ inches square.
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A piece of fabric for the back of the bag that is the same size as the front plus ½ inch lengthwise.  (Example:  Cut back fabric 8-½ inches wide by 9 inches long.)

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Sew the front panel to the back with ¼ inch seam, joining at the top of the front panel.

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Press the seam toward the front panel.

Cut a piece of fabric for the lining that is the exact size of the joined front/back panels.  (Example:  8-½ inches wide x 17 inches long.)

Place lining and front/back panels right sides together, pinning from just below center seam on front/back panel, along side, across bottom of front/back panel and down other side to just below center seam, back-stitching on each side.

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Cut ½ inch from edge just below sewing at center seam on both sides and trim corners of sewn portion.

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Turn sewn portion and press.
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Cut pocket fabric the width of fabric and the length doubled.  (Example:  8-½ inches wide x 17 inches long).

Fold pocket fabric in half lengthwise and press.  Line up fold of pocket with clipped sides and raw edges on the lower part of the front/back panels.  Pin in place or baste.

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Beginning at the folded edge, sew ½ inch seams down the side, across the bottom and up the other side, back stitching on each side.  Trim corners and trim the clipped pocket portion on a diagonal.

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Turn pocket portion and press.  Top stitch 1/8 inch from edge around piece …

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…and fold in half to form flat pocket bag.

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Super Stars and Sofa Cushions

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Wedding Dress Blue has an interesting quilt-along and tutorial for an easy version of the Lemoyne Star called Super Star that is fun and quick to put together.  Click here for her tutorial.  I have a large, deep-seated sofa that requires large cushions behind my back if my feet are going to touch the floor.  I had salvaged two large foam cushions from a discarded couch and the 16-inch star was perfect when I added some strips and additional half-squares to make the block larger.  I made the block for the front and back of each cushion and chose not to quilt the covers which will have to be laundered frequently.

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I used only scraps in these two cushion covers, including a large bag of white scraps I had bought last fall in Ohio Amish country.

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I made a total of 80 half-squares that were 2-½ inches and for this many pieces, I turned to my Wonder Cut Ruler which made quick work of them.

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I also used scraps for the side sections, cutting 6-inch wide strips of various lengths of fabric.
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I had salvaged two long zippers from the original cushions and didn’t have to buy anything to complete the project.

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My dog, Addie, wondered when I was going to be finished taking pictures so I could fill her dinner bowl and also when I was going to get out of the way so she could get back to her favorite spot on the couch.

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Repurposing a Hamper Rack – A Tutorial

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I have a hamper rack on which the hamper portion wore out very quickly.  I wanted to recycle the rack as well as use up a lot of fabric scraps, so I drafted a very simple pattern and used a Log Cabin variation to make the front and back.  The lining is from some old home dec curtains.

The only repair I did on the rack was to replace two side straps.  I cut two pieces 7 x ½ inch of scrap leather (could be from an old purse) and cut a small hole ½ inch from the ends on each piece.  I removed the screws on the broken straps and screwed them through the holes on each end to affix the replacement straps.

sidestrap
The rack measures about 16 inches wide x 25 inches high with ½ inch diameter legs – similar to the hamper racks sold by Ikea.

I used pieced blocks for my hamper, but, of course, any kind of fabric could be used.  Here is what you will need.

SUPPLIES

  • Hamper rack approx. 16 inches wide x 25 inches tall.
  • 2 pieces of fabric 28-1/4 inches wide x 24-¼ inches long for hamper bag
  • 2 pieces of fabric 28-¼ inches wide x 24-¼ inches long for bag lining
  • 10 pieces of fabric 4 inches wide x 6 inches long for tabs
  • 10 pieces of Velcro ¾ inch wide for tabs

HAMPER BAG

  • Place hamper bag fabric right sides together and sew with ¼ inch seams along two sides and bottom.
  • Keeping right sides together, at each side seam on the bottom edge, mark and cut out a 2-½ inch square.

2.5 final

  • Fold the cutout portion of the bag together, placing the seam in the center …..

bott-final…and sew a ¼ inch seam.

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  • Repeat for the other corner. Turn and press.

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  • Use the same procedure to sew the lining.
  • Make a mark at the top center front of bag.  Then mark 3-3/4 inches two places on either side of the center.  Repeat with back of bag.
  • Pin a square of each set of Velcro pieces centered over each mark with the top of the Velcro patch ¾ inch from top raw edge.  Stitch in place.  Repeat for back of bag.

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TABS

  • Along 4 inch edge of the tab fabric, press edge ¼ inch to wrong side of fabric.

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  • Fold piece in half lengthwise, wrong sides together, and press.

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  • Open fabric and fold each side to meet at the center fold.  Press.

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  • Fold in half lengthwise and press.  Top stitch around sides and bottom of piece.  Repeat with remaining 4×6 pieces of fabric.

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  • On the finished edge of each strap, sew a ¾ x ¾ inch piece of Velcro.

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  • On the wrong side of each tab, mark 1-½ inches from the raw edge.  Place tab inside bag at top edge, wrong sides together, matching 1-½ inch mark with top pressed edge and aligning with the matching piece of Velcro below.  Pin.  Repeat with remaining tabs.

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  • Place lining inside the bag, wrong sides together, matching corners.
  • Pin every two inches along the top edge.
  • Top- stitch 1/8 inch from top edge, being sure to catch the 1/4 inch of fabric turned under on the bag and lining.

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  • Place on rack, looping tabs over the rack and securing with the Velcro patches.

finished

The hamper can be folded for storage.

folded

This makes a nice storage unit for lightweight toys (think stuffed animals), sewing, clothing, towels, etc.

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/

An Envelope Gift Bag from Orphan Blocks – A Tutorial


I enjoy trying pieced blocks just for the experience and many of them are never used in a quilt.  I have a stack of various sizes and developed this envelope-style lined gift bag to hold small, flat gifts and then be useful for storing sewing, cosmetic and other small items.  Each bag uses two orphan blocks of the same size.  Of course, scraps could also be used.

Here is how I make the bags:

  • Choose two quilt blocks of the same size, one for the outside bag and one for the lining (my blocks in this example are 12-½ inches)

  • Place the two blocks right sides together and stitch a ¼ inch seam on all sides, LEAVING A 3 INCH OPENING ON WHAT WOULD BE THE BOTTOM SIDE OF THE BAG.  Back stitch at the beginning and ending.

  • Trim the 4 corners …

  • …and turn the bag right-side-out.  Press and tuck in the opening fabric.  Top stitch 1/8 inch from the edge on all four sides.

This is all of the machine sewing you’ll be doing on this project.  A bit of hand sewing will complete the bag.

  • Place the finished piece on point right-side-up on a mat and fold the bottom point to meet the left hand point.

  • Pin together so that the sewn edges meet but do not overlap.

  • Using needle and thread and beginning at the top edge,  join the two pieces, catching just the edges of the lining fabric so the stitches don‘t show on the outside of the bag and so the edges abut.

  • Fold the right hand point over to meet the center and join together.

  • Turn and press.

  • Sew a small snap on the back flap and center.

  • If desired, add a button or other embellishment to the back and/or front.

The 12-½ inch block makes a bag approximately 7 x 8 inches.  It would be a good size for a small journal or paperback book.

A 9-½ inch block makes a bag about 5-3/4 inches square.

An 8-½ inch block makes a bag about 5-¼ inches square – good for a CD or DVD


A 6-1/2 inch block makes a bag 3-½ inches square – just right for a gift card.

These bags are very fast and easy to assemble, make nice holders for gifts and reduce the stack of orphan blocks.

Fading Charms Quilt

Deanna at Wedding Dress Blue posts wonderful tutorials and her latest is a charm quilt that uses 846 charms (by Deanna’s count – I took her word for it).  The pattern is written for 2-½, 2, and 1-½ inch charms.  Click on the link below to see the tutorial.

http://weddingdressblue.wordpress.com/2012/03/23/tutorial-fading-charms-quilt/

I decided to make the quilt of  1-½ inch charms to use the scraps from 10 years of sewing and quilting, stored rather haphazardly in 6 large dresser drawers.  I spent a lot of time cutting the squares and then enlisted the help of my granddaughter to sort them according to color and to count them.  She spent several Sunday afternoons helping me out.

It was nostalgic for me to cut the squares and then sew them one by one into the quilt, remembering the projects and where/when I bought the fabric.  In most cases, I remembered each square very clearly.  There was fabric from the quilt that started my quilting – a baby quilt for my helper granddaughter….

….pieces from my husband’s flannel shirts that he could no longer wear but wanted made into a quilt the year before he passed away; material used in full-sized quilts for my daughters and grandchildren and in baby quilts for my two great-grandchildren; fabric from a 25th anniversary wall hanging for my youngest son and his wife; lots of squares from the countless charity quilts I made for the Linus Project for hospitalized children.  There were pieces from queen-size quilts (two of which won ribbons at the county fair), and quilted jackets (one of them a 2nd prize winner at the Ohio State Fair).

There were squares from potholders, placemats, wall hangings, tablecloths, curtains, clothing for the family, costumes for the grandchildren, holiday and birthday projects,

I also used scraps to piece the backing and for the binding.  The only fabric I bought was for the background.  My label is in the form of a pocket so I can print out this post and keep it with the quilt to describe how special it is.

So many hours of sometimes pleasant and sometimes frustrating sewing over the past 10 years!  Making this memory-filled quilt made me realize I’d like to do something like this every January, using a piece from each project of the preceding year.  It may be a small project like a table runner or pillow cover, depending on how many items I made in a year, but it will be a nice reminder.

My Fading Charms Quilt measures 36×36 inches and there are a few repeats of charms because I wanted to use only fabric that had been in a previous project.  It is a nice size as a topper for my loveseat in a bedroom.  The scrappy quilt goes well with the red walls and lodge theme.

The quilt is also a perfect size for hanging over the loveseat.

This is a good quilt to make whether you’re rummaging through drawers of old scraps or cutting nice, fresh fabric.  I like it very much.

The granddaughter and quilt that started it all

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

A Mini Quilt Becomes a Table Cover

Deanna at Wedding Dress Blue has a really nice tutorial for a “Sew Small Sampler Quilt” with 3-½ inch unfinished blocks.  She has directions for 12 old favorites plus measurements for background blocks to set the quilt on point.  The blocks are not difficult and Deanna offers to help anyone who needs a little more direction in making the quilt.

I decided to add borders and size the piece to fit my 1930s era sewing table.

I chose to use up a lot of green scraps to steer this piece in the direction of St. Patrick’s Day.

I did very simple stitch-in-the-ditch quilting along with a free-hand pinwheel motif in each block…

…and decorative stitching in the borders.

As I was piecing the blocks, I used 1-¼ inch scrap blocks as leaders and enders, and by adding a few extra strips of fabric, had enough to make the backing.

The piece measures 26x 16 inches and will be nice for my March sewing table cover.

Check out Deanna’s tutorial for a good project.

http://weddingdressblue.wordpress.com/2012/01/26/tutorial-sew-small-sampler-quilt/

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.