Thursday, August 19, 2010


So ya know, I ran out of fabric to finish those mitered napkins and got sidetracked...

I made some very simple coasters instead.  My DH is constantly putting his soda glass right next to my little laptop and of course a puddle ensues.  And I started to worry that someday, the laptop would be sitting in water and ZAP!  no more laptop.

So I made coasters and keep a couple right next to the laptop so he has NO EXCUSE for letting the water pool anymore.

They're simply cut into 4x4" squares, and sandwiched with a layer of thin cotton batt in between.  I used two different types of fabric, didn't have enough of the green one but lots of other scraps....

Then I serge all the way around, trim threads and dab the corners with some Fray Check.

  Took less than 20 minutes to make 4 of these.  And I made more napkins, dinner size, for a matching set!  Woohoo! 

 And yes, I'm trying to avoid going to the fabric store...  You know how that goes...  :D

Friday, August 13, 2010

Cloth napkins.. oops

Y'know how you really want to make something and think you just might be able to squeeze it and make it work out?  But it doesn't?  yeah... this is one of those times.  I knew the border was too short... but I wanted to make it work.  Of course it didn't, so I guess I WILL have to go out and buy a little more fabric  (YES!)  I have enough of this fabric to make a pair of dinner napkins too!  That'll be the next tutorial... Fancy mitered edge napkins.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Cloth Napkins - Simple ones

Okay... I'm a fabric hoarder.  I have so many scraps that are just large enough to make something useful from, but not large enough for garments or the big home dec stuff I want.  But some of these pieces are just big enough for a set of small cloth napkins.  Yeah... I'd like bigger dinner sized ones but these'll work and my Chinese blood feels good about not wasting fabric.  And it only took about 30 minutes for a set of 4.

So here's a quickie tutorial on how I got these done...
First tip... I used barkcloth scraps.  You can easily see the crosswise AND lengthwise grain making cutting really quick.  These were leftovers from a set of curtains I made for a client.  She lets me keep the scraps when the customer doesn't want them back, which is why I accumulate so much fabric... hmmmm... Anyway, here's a link to her webshop, the stuff is perfect for home dec things if you like that tropical look.  Barkcloth Hawaii.

So cut your napkins 1" bigger than your finished size.  Mine turned out to be just under 12".  A bit small, but it's what I have to work with.  Then fold over and press two opposite sides 1/4", and again, 1/4".  It should look like this.

Next, fold and press 1/4" and 1/4" again on the two other sides.  It'll look like this when it's ready for sewing.

Yup... that was the hard part.  Now all you need to do is sew.  I used the edgestitch foot and just sew all the way across on all four sides.

Simple enough eh?  So now you can go green and stop buying all those paper napkins... unless someone likes to blow their nose in it... eww.. yeah... he can use the paper towels instead.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Faith Hope Love by McKenna Ryan

I finished them all!  Here they are and they're ready for hanging.   As promised, here's a view of the back, after I finally got the invisible thread working properly... 

And this block is my favorite... mostly because of the quilted butterfly sitting on the "e".  

This project was incredibly challenging.  I think the hardest thing was keeping that thread under control, but the results were well worth the trouble.  I have McKenna Ryan's Forest Hollow pattern as well and will soon work on that one.  I'm planning on using it to create blinds for my daughter's bedroom.  She loves owls.

And on to the next project....Hmmmm... that dragon is still waiting for his wings, but I think I wanna clean up the mess here and de-stash a bit.  Maybe make something with my scraps next... I'm thinking cloth napkins...

Binder Cover Tutorial - Part 4: More Construction

Okay.. today we'll finish it up!  

First, let's tack down that origami flower.  Add a button or bead in the center if you'd like, but tack the middle. You can also tack the petals open if you'd like, but I usually save that for last.   

Let's get the back/sleeves ready.  To prepare the sleeves,  machine hem the straight edge by folding over 1/4" and pressing.  Then fold over 1" and press again.  Sew along that edge and your sleeves are ready to attach to the back piece.  Here's what they should look like.

Now, sew the sleeves onto the back piece. Place the wrong side of the sleeve onto the right side of the back fabric piece.  Sew all the way around using a 1/2" seam allowance.  Don't worry, it'll turn out correctly....

Now, place the front piece (the one with the interfacing) and the back piece (the one with the sleeves) right sides together and pin, matching the raw edges.  Make sure you are tracing just slightly outside the edges of the binder.  This will allow the necessary ease to slip the binder into the cover.  Don't sew yet.... one more step.

Slide the binder to the side just a little bit, a scant 1/4" will do. Trace.  This is the amount of ease you'll need in order to close the binder.  When you slide it back, it should look like this.  Now you're ready to sew.

Sew along your traced line, leaving an opening for turning the cover right side out.  Trim to 1/4" all the way around, clip your corners and give it a good pressing.

I like to press up the opening before turning.  This makes it easier to hand-stitch the opening shut when we're done.  Just fold it up along the traced line and press.

We're almost done.  Turn and press....

Slip stitch the opening shut....

Tack down the petals.... and it's done!  Ready for a new school year!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Binder Cover Tutorial - Part 3: Construction

We're ready to put the pieces together!  First, lets separate the outer pieces from the backing pieces.

I like to place them "mapped."  In other words, they're placed in position.  Here's the front pieces:

And here are the backing pieces:

Lets start putting together the front pieces.  Remember, all seam allowances on the decorative strip are 1/4".  We'll start by constructing the pencil pocket.  Hem the top edge by folding over 1/4" and press, then fold over 3/4" more and press, then sew.
Next, fold it down the center, lengthwise, and draw a stitching line.  Then make gathering stitches on the bottom edge of the pocket.  To make the gathering stitches, set your stitch length to 5.0 and sew just inside the 5/8" seam allowance.  Sew another row of stitches about 1/4" along that row.

Place the pocket piece on the bottom strip (back of the pocket), matching the bottom edge and sew using a regular straight stitch.  Then sew the sides of the pocket piece, matching the edges.  Gather the bottom to fit and sew across the gathered edge.  Your pocket piece is ready to sew into the decorative strip.

Assemble the origami flower/pocket strip pieces using 1/4" seam allowances.

Next, sew the front and back panel pieces to the strip using 1/4" seam allowances.  Press.  Here's the completed front piece.  

Apply the interfacing to the back of the front piece.

We're ready for Part 4:  More Construction