Posts Tagged ‘how to make’

Most of you probably know that we spent pretty much all of last year selling our home, moving into a tiny apartment, and then finally moving into our new home.  Whew – I’m so glad that’s all over.  We are LOVING our new home and, more importantly, our new neighborhood.

I am telling the truth … we had been in our new home for all of 5 minutes before someone hollered across the street, “Welcome home!”  A few minutes later, another family stopped by to say hello and welcome.  After only two hours, we had been greeted EIGHT times!!!  This may not seem all that ground-breaking to those of you who’ve been living in Pleasantville all your life – but for us…this was a miracle!!!  We lived in our former home for almost 6 years, and we were always greeted by people looking the other way when they walked by-  even if they were on the same side of the sidewalk!!!

Here is our new home!

Here is our new home!

So, anyway, while we were waiting to move in, I whipped up a little diddy I call my Address Pillow.  I knew I was going to put our old Ikea benches on the front porch.  I knew I did not want to paint them.  Alas, I also knew they needed painting!  So, I decided to amp them up a bit by putting a large pillow with our street address on one of them.


I used a heavy weight black and white ticking fabric for the pillow. For the numbers, I used a heavy weight felt.


Don’t y’all want to come on over??!!! (soon there will be a mustache pillow on the other bench)


I just freehanded the numbers, then attached them with a zigzag stitch all the way around BEFORE sewing the sides of the pillow. If you need more direction, just print out your numbers in your favorite font from your home printer, then use that as your template. Also, if your porch isn’t covered, you’ll want to use indoor/outdoor fabric – or give it a good Scotch Guard treatment.

I don’t know about you, but I really really like the pillow.  Another true story – when I meet people in the neighborhood, they invariably say, “OH, yours is the house with the pillow!”  I grin.  Inside I do a little jump and skip combo.


Blah blah blah.

here’s the breakdown:

Time: This project probably took about an hour.  I didn’t get too caught up in making my numbers perfect, I just enjoyed the process.  You’ll need to make two pillows – one for the lining and the other for the outside, so it takes a little extra time.

Cost: Hmmm.  Felt – about $2 because I bought the good stuff.  Fabric – I purchased better ticking than I usually would since it’s an outside pillow, so I think I paid about $10.  NOTE: I will make 2 pillows with that fabric, though.  So, the real cost is $5 … bringing the pillow’s total to a whopping $7.  Bam.

So, whattya think?  Are you going to make one????


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I realized LAST SUNDAY that TODAY was the last day of school for ALL of my kids.  WHAT IN THE WORLD!?!?  How did this happen???

Somehow in the next few days, I had to come up with 6 Thank You gifts for my kids’ teachers.  And not only that – this week is the last week of our pay period … translation: I need these gifts to be FREE.  But how in the world do I adequately say thank you for 9 months of loving and teaching my children …. for free???

Put on my thinking cap and think. think. think.

I opened up my scrap fabric drawer for some inspiration….

And I came up with this … a reversible scrap fabric apron. And I must admit, I LOVE them!

I kind of feel bad for showing off my mennequin’s posterior, but if mine looked like that I’d show mine off too. Anyway, I love how the reversible part peeks through in the back! This particular version is made from a fabric remnant my husband brought me back from Africa. The houndstooth fabric is just remnants from prior projects.

I made three of these in an hour – how awesome is that!?  Here’s how you can too:

You’ll need to remnant pieces that you can cut to approximately 30″ x 12″. (That is just what I decided to do. You can make yours as wide and as long as you want. This size will make you what I call a “carpenter’s” length apron – just above mid thigh.) I cut mine out with right sides together so that I can go straight to the machine without turning the fabric. Just pick it up and sew. Also, I chose to round the bottom edges. Purely a matter of opinion.

For this particular apron, I wanted to add rick rack (and who cares that I didn’t have quite enough – I just started down a little lower…it’s MY apron!). So, I just sewed the rick rack to the rightside edge of one apron panel. Then I placed that panel on top of the other panel with right sides facing. I sewed along the rick rack stitch line to attach the two panels together. This way you can be sure that the rick rack appears as it should.

Turn your apron section right side out and press. Lovely! Sigh, take in the sights, so pretty!!!

Now to attach the tie/band … cut a long strip of fabric about 6″ in width and as long as you like. This one wrapped all the way around and tied in front. Others can just tie in back, whatever you want and have enough fabric for. Then press the center, and then press in about 1/2″ on each side.

Making sure to match up the centers of the apron panel and the apron tie – begin pinning the panel to the inside seam allowance like shown.

Then fold over the tie/band and pin in place as well. I stitch the apron panel and band together first, then stitch the rest of the tie … if you start at the tip of the tie and sew all the way down to the other tip, your band will have a tendency to shift, so sewing the panel and band first helps to avoid that. But it’s your apron – do what you want!

Okay hot mamma, you’re almost done!!! Try the apron on for size and mark where you’d like to trim your tie (assuming that you want to trim it!)

Now all you have to do is tuck in your edges on both sides and sew ’em up. YOU’RE DONE!!!

Don’t just stand there… admire yourself and the mirror … this is one awesomely easy apron!

And so is this one! Wait…what? They’re the same thing??? How amazing are you!?!

Here’s another combo I whipped up.

EXTRA EXTRA: if you end up cutting a fair amount off the tie, just turn it into a headband. Bam. You’re killin’ it!

So, I feel as if you don’t really need the “breakdown” because I’ve been pretty clear…but here it is anyway:

TIME:  I finished 3 in one hour, so 20 minutes.  ***That means that you’ll have to cut them out at the same time though.

COST: FREE if you use scraps like I did!  Not more than about $3-$5 if you purchase fabric.

Okay, now don’t just stand there…go make some and give them away!!!


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Hey there friends and family and mystery sewers … how in the world are you???  I just realized it’s been about THREE WEEKS since my last confession post.  Gosh.  As we say here in Texas, “That ain’t right!”

You’ve probably guessed that my world has been a little rocked by my $35 Strapless Dress Revolution.  You are correct!  I’ve sold 35 dresses so far – HUGE THANK YOU to all of you!  So, I’m a little bit holed up on my sewing wall whenever my lame-non-sewing kids allow me the time.  Hopefully I’ll get caught up soon.

Anyway … I just couldn’t go another minute without passing along another easy project for y’all.  I realized today that I have never ever ever posted a tutorial for how to make a zipper pouch.  Seriously, y’all – how come no one has been harping???  Too late, you missed your chance because here’s a tutorial for how to make one of these little darlings:



And yes, it's even lined! I know - you're welcome!

How to Make a Lined Zipper Pouch – without a pattern! 


This may sound strange, but I prefer to start with the zipper .. meaning, the size of your zipper should determine the size (or atleast WIDTH) of your pouch. You'll want your zipper to be LONGER than the width of your fabric by atleast an inch or two on each side. This makes sewing up the sides so much easier!


I rarely measure, I just make sure that my fabric is narrower than my zipper - just like what you see here. You can make it as long as you want though. Decide on your outer fabric and cut two equal shapes.


Choose your lining fabric, and cut two more shapes the same size.


Now here's where you want to pay attention - we're going to be layering, and the order is very important. Start by placing one piece of your OUTER FABRIC face up. Then, along the upper width, place your zipper wrong size up and centered over the fabric.


See how the zipper pull is on the bottom not the top!


Now take one of your LINING pieces, and lay it on top of the zipper and outer fabric. You will want all three pieces (outer fabric, zipper, lining fabric) to align at the very top. You can pin if you prefer. No sew the two fabric pieces to the zipper.


When you open it up, it should look like this.


Okay, follow closely. Lay the remaining OUTER FABRIC piece face up. Turn your sewn section over so that the zipper pull is now on the opposite side but still facing down. Place the remaining LINING fabrin, on top of the entire set, face down. Look closely at the picture. You are aligning the two remaining fabric pieces at the top of the zipper, while the pieces already sewn are dangling down a little bit in the middle of the fabric sandwich.


Once you sew up the second size to the zipper, you'll have something that looks like this. Both OUTER FABRIC pieces on one side and the LINING pieces on the other, right sides facing each other.


And from another angle, this is what you'll see. Get excited now, because you are almost finished!


Lay out your pouch with the two sides separated. Unzip the zipper about halfway. Overlap the opening ends of the zipper just a bit. Now, sew a continuous seam all the way around the entire project - beginning with the lining and LEAVE AN OPENING for turning. (Apparently, my machine sews a straighter stitch than my fingers can draw one. relief!)


Clip the excess off the zipper at the sides, and then turn the pouch right side out by pulling everything through the opening. Use a pair of scissors to poke out the corners of the outer fabric.


Sew up that opening - and yes, duh, clip your fray thread! Then, tuck that little lining into your pouch....


And you got yourself a pouch that looks like this!


And it's beautiful on the inside too - are you as ecstatic as I am right now?!?!


If you want, you can tuck in the corners (okay, you can SEW them in also, but who has the extra 30 seconds to do that!?) and your pouch can stand on its own. Ta Da!

So there you go fun people – your very own lined zipper pouch in less than 10 minutes.  (DISCLAIMER: the first time will take you longer because your eyes get all whomperjawed trying to figure out the order and placement.  Don’t worry, it’s gets WAY faster!)

Here’s the breakdown:

Cost:  about $3 – depending upon which size zipper you get..cheaper if you thrift them or steal borrow them from your mother’s stash.  You can easily use scrap fabric, so there’s no charge there!

Time:  seriously and realistically – TEN MINUTES … if you give yourself a little longer for a time or two!

I love these.  I really really do.  Every time I make one I get a little bit happier in life.  I hope you do too!

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Can you guess I’m excited about this latest project???  I almost never take photos of myself but last night, I couldn’t help it.  I was compelled to be associated with this clutch both mentally and visually!

I was inspired by this little sewing book I purchased from Stitch Social.

It’s a really fun book filled with crazy anecdotes from the 1950’s plus lots of pages to jot down ideas for your own projects.  Most of the stories are excerpts from an article where women shared what they made and how much they sold it for.  Crazy thing – most women were making things and selling them for $1!  Wow, their profit margin must have been AMAZING!

Well, somewhere in the back of the book is a simpler version of what I’ve done here.  The drawing in the book looks similar to my tissue pouches … and it inspired me to wrap up the day yesterday by making my very own clutch.

Don't you just LOVE this fabric designed by Ty Pennington!?!

If you’ve got about thirty minutes …. Why don’t you make one for yourself!

First you need to decide how big/small you want your clutch. I decided that I wanted mine to be half the length of this magazine and exactly the same width. So, I just used this as my template.

You can see I just cut about .5" from the magazine at the bottom and the sides. PLUS: I extended my shape beyond the magazine so that I have a fold over to close up the clutch. My finished shape was roughly 17" x 10".

Next, cut out an identical piece from your lining fabric.

I also knew I wanted to add a little row of ruffles/pleats on the clutch flap, so I cut a strip off the selvege of my lining fabric. This way, I could use the frayed selvege as an accent and not have to hem it!

Get yourself some of this Pellon Decor Bond fusible interfacing. It's pretty rad. It is a lot stiffer than regular interfacing but it isn't crazy stupid stiff!

Cut the Pellon the same size as your fabric - only cut one piece. Fuse it to your outer/main fabric - shiny side down.

If you're adding an embellishment, add it now. Also - it should be noted: if you're going to use one of those awesome purse snaps, do it NOW. I forgot this step last night so I had to come up with something inferior! Read on.

Now pin your lining to your outer fabric - right sides facing.

Stitch all the way around the fabric, leaving an opening like you would a pillow. Clip your corners, turn right side out....and PRESS! I haven't said it in a while, but ....IF YOU DON'T HAVE TIME TO PRESS YOU DON'T HAVE TIME TO SEW. Am I clear??? wink.

When you press, be sure to tuck the opening in nicely and press firmly.

Lay your piece in front of you with the lining facing up. Bring the bottom up to form the actual purse part. When you determine how far up you want it, you can pin it if you like. CONFESSION: I didn't use a straight edge when I cut my fabric, so you can see here that I got a little crooked. BIG WHOOP! The flap covers that up! Whew!

Starting with the bottom right corner, stitch all the way up, around over the flap section and back down to the other corner. You're enclosing the purse portion and will end up topstitching the flap portion.

Here you can see how the stitch runs from the bottom all the way around to the top ... and back down again (except that's not showing!)

Be sure to do some sort of reinforcement stitch where the bottom meets the flap. This will get alot of tugging everytime you put something in or take something out of your clutch, so be sure it doesn't start coming apart!

At this point last night, I proudly patted myself on the back and enjoyed my beautiful clutch. Oh. Wait. Yuck. I had forgotten to add any sort of enclosure. DANGIT. So, I was forced to add little squares of velcro. Not horrible but not great.

As a result of that tiny little detail (cough cough), I needed to add something to cover up the seams from the velcro. So, I added a fun little yo yo and a button. I would've added this anyway, but I had planned to place it on the SIDE of the clutch and not the dead center!

I've decided to call it a "happy accident" because I am super thrilled with my clutch! Sorry '50s gals, I'm not selling this one for a buck!

Here’s the breakdown for y’all:

Time: 30 MINUTES!  Seriously.  If you’re super meticulous, maybe (MAYBE!) an hour max.  I triple dog dare you to do it in 30 minutes though!

Cost: Anywhere from FREE if you use what’s on hand…to about $5.  You’re using such a small amount of fabric and a tiny bit of Pellon!

I know I said I want to be generous….but I’m keeping this one!!!

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Sometime around Thanksgiving, I just-so-happened to be in a fabric store with all their Christmas fabric on sale for 60% off.  I mean seriously y’all…how can you afford NOT to purchase SOMETHING!?!

I’ve been using one of these fabrics throughout the holidays in just regular off-the-bolt form.  I hung it over a door to serve as a backdrop for fun photos.  I placed it over a table to serve as a table cloth, and I’ve used it as a makeshift tree skirt.  But, the real reason I bought this fabric was to become something for Ellie and/or Rosamund.  I knew I wanted to use some sort of creative energy to make something I’ve never made before….after all, that’s the real Christmas sewing spirit, right!?!

I came up with THIS:  A Saloon Skirt

I don't know what the official name of this kind of skirt it, so I'm calling mine a Saloon Skirt. It reminds me of skirts I've seen in western movies! Except - they probably didn't wear green/red/maroon huge polkadots...but they would've if they could've!

Here's the side view ... and what give this skirt it's personality. The seam allowances are sewn down to create two casings on each side. Those casings are given ribbon which is then tied at the bottom after the fabric is rouched. I just love this angle of the skirt!

I’m certainly not the first person to make this kind of garment, but this IS the first time I’ve made one myself.  I didn’t use a pattern, I just used the technique as best I figured it could be done.

The awesome thing about this skirt – it can be for a GROWNUP just as easily as for a LITTLE’EN.  I’m already thinking of a linen version for me!

If you’re intriqued—– read on for a free tutorial.  It’s the same tutorial no matter what size you make.  The only difference in the sewing is the size of the rectangles that you start out with.

To begin, cut yourself 2 rectangles of fabric. For my 4 year old, I cut the fabric approximately 30" wide and I have no idea how long. sorry. For your skirt, you want it to be no longer than waist to floor length...probably a little shorter. Keep in mind that you'll be scrunching up the sides so you MUST make the beginning rectangles longer than your desired finished length.

Now, you have to hem the bottom edge of both pieces. It may seem weird to sew the hem first, but you must for this skirt.

Next - sew the sides together ...BUT START AT THE BOTTOM, matching the hemmed edges. Usually I recommend sewing garments from top to bottom...but allow me a crazy diversion here! You want your sides to match up perfectly. Sewing from the bottom up will allow for this! NOTE: use a wider seam allowance than usual so you can be sure to fit your ribbon through there.

It's been a while since I've said this ... say it with me ... "If you don't have time to press, you don't have time to sew!" So now go press your two side seams open. I also like to tuck the sides at the hem inside so that they don't get any ideas of peeking out after washing.

The next step is to create the casings for your ribbon drawstring. Do this by topstitching your seam allowances closed. I always prefer to sew with the rightside facing me ... but if you're unsure of yourself, you can get by with sewing on the wrong side...just this once! This could help you enclose that seam allowance more easily.

Cut yourself 4 equal-length strips of ribbon (or you could make ties about of fabric). I cut mine about 2 or 3 inches LONGER than my skirt.

This picture is hard to make sense of ... but I'm threading my ribbon through the casing using a large and long safety pin. Start at the top and thread the ribbon all the way through to the bottom. Each side will have 2 ribbons.

After you've threaded your ribbon, be sure a little bit is peeking out at the top and secure them in place with some stitching. Then you can trim the excess. (only at the top!)

At the bottom, just let your ribbon excess hang out. You can trim it once you've tried it on and know how long or short you want the ties to dangle. DO NOT secure the ribbon here, let it remain loose .

Now make your waistband casing for the elastic..leaving the opening to thread your elastic through.

Insert elastic and close up the hole. You are ALMOST FINISHED...HOLLAH.

Hold both ribbon ties in one hand, and push up the fabric with the other. Keep pushing up the fabric until you get it to the right height. Tie the ribbon into a bow. Repeat on other side. Give yourself a huge hug...you made yourself a super-fun drawsting Saloon skirt!

Here's what the side will look like. For this skirt, I wish I had large black Satin ribbon on hand, but this narrower version will work.

Ellie's going to wear this with a long sleeved black T and black leggings. What's awesome is, when she tried it on she said, "Wow, this is the coolest skirt EVER!" Mission accommplished!!!

Just in case you missed it, here is the full view again!

and just for grins…I had to add a tattered rose headband!

This was really fun to make.  I am pretty sure more of these are in my future…I’m wanting a long one for me to wear with my riding boots.  Hmmm…I need to get of this computer STAT!

Here’s the lowdown folks:

TIME: This took a bit of time, but I think it’s because I was figuring it out as I went.  I’m guessing for an experienced sewer – about an hour.  For a newbie – about 2 hours.  But the 2nd, 3rd and 4th versions will go much much faster!

COST: about $5 if you have ribbon and elastic onhand.  YOWZA YEAZERS!  About $8 if you have to buy everything assuming you stick with sale priced fabric!

There you go…will you make one of these, please!

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Sewing Season Christmas Season is in full swing, isn’t it!?!

I don’t know about you, but the craziest gifts to come up with are not for family members or friends … but for the millions of SIX teachers I get to give gifts.  I am already pretty close to being out of budget for all gifts…so what’s a mom to do???


These are really super easy and super cheap – yet they really make people smile!  I have already delivered 5 of the 6 of these gifts, so I’m speaking from experience when I say that they don’t look like cheapo gifts – and the recipients are pretty stoked!

Here’s how to make them…

In addition to buttons to cover and thumbtacks , you'll need something to remove the shanks. I prefer to use one of these jewelry plier thingies. I have no idea what it's called but here's a photo. For gifts, I think 4 buttons should be the minimum. Give as many as you want, but 4 is a nice gesture. =)

Just grab the shank of the back of the button with your plier thingy and pull. Sometimes you have to kind of jiggy it a bit! Just do whatever you have to do to pull that out!

You'll end up with this - a button back and a loose shank. You can throw that shank away!

Now simply cover your button as usual. If you need a tutorial for that, go here.

Now you're ready to glue your tacks tot he back of your button. I prefer to use these heavy duty home decorator pushpins, but regular thumb tacks work too. (If you use a button larger than 3/4", I'd recommend these heavy duty ones b/c the smaller ones look pretty wimpy)

Put a dab of hot glue in the center of the button back, and then push your pushpin right in there. EASY PEASY HUH!?!

You'll get something like this ... except yours probably will not be blurry!

To up the wow-factor for the gift, just grab some cork squares from your hobby store. Cut them in half to get two small cork rectangles. Insert your pushpins and add a fun tag. done.

You can see my first five sets here.  I put them inside little fun cellophane bags.  It was really a fun project to make and to give.  I am fairly certain Ellie and Rosamund’s teachers felt loved.

Here’s the breakdown:

Cost: 5 covered buttons will cost you about $1.50.  Cork squares – about 25 cents when cut in half.  Thumb tacks – about 10 cents.  Fabric – SCRAPS so free!  Total cost (at most) per gift is under $2.  LOVE THAT!

Time: about 10 minutes per gift…depending on how crazy those shanks are to remove.

I hope you’ll make some …you probably have these materials on hand already!

Merry Christmas Sewing Season!!!

PS:  We made these at our Craft Crowd’s Make It Merry Christmas… head on over to their blog to see more photos!  (If they’re not there, check back – I’m looking for my camera uploader thingie!)

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Now that it’s almost December, I’ve decided to begin preparations for cold weather.  Sorry Jeana, but there’s just no need to do this any sooner here in Texas.

I found this darling pattern at TooSweets on Etsy and couldn’t resist.  It’s ridiculously affordable and your pattern arrives in your inbox!

Here is what I have made (SO FAR!) from this pattern…although, I am quite certain there are more versions on the horizon!

Keep in mind - it's more than just a little difficult to photograph babies and silly 4 year olds!

Rosamund's jacket is made from Joel Dewberry fabric and lined with a yellow linen-look fabric.

Sadly, Rosamund was more impressed with her $1 Store cow than she was with her made-with-love bolero!

For the record - the "lovely" securiy blanket is NOT one of my projects!

I am learning the importance of a hidden camera! Ellie's bolero was made from a Moda print and lined using a small portion of duvet cover I found in the As-Is bin at Ikea.

Here is the breakdown for this project:

Cost: about $20.  The pattern is $5.95 but you only have to buy 1 because it’s good for sizes 12m – 7yr!  I made a 12m & a size 6, neither required more than a yard for each fabric.  So, for about $10 per jacket, you’ve got yourself a GREAT jacket!

Time: This a harder one to calculate.  The pattern is easy to read and easy to follow – but for the new sewer, you might get hung up a bit around the neckline.  I found that the pattern pieces didn’t form a circle for the neckline, so you have to cut up some of the fabric.  This doesn’t take long, but if you’re not experienced with this, it might add a bit of time for you.  Soooo, I’m going to say that this pattern will take you about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

This is a darling pattern and I really happy with the results!  (I promise I’m not getting paid to say this – I just bought the pattern and made the jackets…so I thought you might like to know about it!  Plus, Etsy sellers enjoy promoting other Etsy sellers!)

See you tomorrow, I hope, with details of Thanksgiving!

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