Horrid Little Staples!

Projects

I decided our dining room chairs were looking passe and worn. It was time to reupholster the chairs. We had done this once before so we knew how to go about it.

The first time we reupholstered, we replaced the foam and the backing fabrics as well. this time, we only needed to replace the main fabric. I ordered the fabric and cut it to size. Then it was time to remove the upholstery staples. I had the special upholstery staple remover tool from last time we did this. I remembered this step being a bit of work. I started to remove the staples but it was not going as smoothly as I had hoped. The staples were breaking! I did not remember the staples breaking last time I did this. This was now becoming an increasingly slow process as I had to use pliers to pull out the broken staples and hammer in the pieces that were too short to pull out. Horrid little staples!

My husband stapled on the new fabric. He reassured me that he did not use as many staples this time plus he bought a different brand. We are hoping the new staples will come out in one piece. The funny thing is, we looked at reviews for staples and no one comments on the ease of removal. People only care about how they go in and stay in. Luckily, we will not need to find out how they come out for a while. We are both very pleased with our “new” chairs. They look so much better and really make the room look more up to date.

As always, Good-luck with the DIY Projects!

DIY Needle Minder

Projects

Sick and tired of trying to keep track of my embroidery needles, I decided I needed a needle minder. However, the one I really wanted was out of stock on-line. I did not really care for any of the other designs. What was I to do?

I searched through my drawer and found a cute French button I had ordered but never used. The button was made of wood and painted with a sweet design. I decided to have this button made into my needle minder. I enlisted my husband to help. He purchased a very strong button magnet set and attached it to the button for me with epoxy. One magnet attaches to the button. This piece goes on top of the embroidery work fabric. The loose magnet is then put underneath the fabric and sticks to the other magnet holding the needle minder to the fabric. When taking a break from embroidering, the needle sticks magnetically to the button minder. No more lost needles! Thanks Honey!

As always, Happy Crafting!

The back of the minder. Just slip off the top magnet and place between the fabric.

Finished Just in Time for the Holidays

Projects

As I said in my previous post, (Cleaning-up the Pieces and Putting Them Back Together) I had begun a quilt that had been shoved to the back of the cabinet. I am pleased to say that after way too many years of procrastination, I have finally completed the Santa quilt! That is one task I can check off my list. One down, about four more to go. I’ll get there.

The Santa quilt was not hard to do, but it did take a bit of time. I, of course, had to change a few things along the way. First off, I left off the text. I decided I did not want the quilt to “say” a message. I did not feel it necessary. Also, my outer border is not as wide as what was called for. This is because I wanted to use the fabric I had on hand and I did not have enough for a wider border. But the biggest change I made was to what Santa is carrying in his hand.

“What do you think this is?” I asked my husband.

“A mouse,” he said.

I knew it! That is exactly what I thought it looked like too. The pattern is titled, Teddy Bear Santa, however, the “bear” looks more like a mouse. Its ears are too big and the snout is not quite right. So for my quilt, I made the teddy bear ears smaller. I also embroidered a mouth onto the snout. I am happy at how it turned out. I think those small changes make it look like the teddy bear it should be.

The Pattern
My finished quilt with my version of the teddy bear

One great benefit of making something oneself is that things can be changed. The pattern can be altered slightly to ones own taste. Why make something that will not please you, after all.

Well with that project finished, I will be off to the next one. Perhaps I will share it in a future post. As always, Happy Crafting!

DIY: Making 3-D Face Masks

Projects

With no end in sight to the wearing of face masks, I recently made a few more 3-D style face masks for the family. I received a complement from the cashier at the grocery store today on my matching face mask. I had made a shirt last year and since I had a bit of extra fabric left over, I made a mask to match. When I want to feel put together, I wear my matching top and mask. Who knows, perhaps I will make a holiday mask to get me in the spirit when the time comes. Here are the instructions for my go-to mask…

Face Mask Instructions:

Cut a rectangle  ( 10” x 14” regular size) (10” x 14.5” slightly larger size) or (desired size rectangle). [ I have learned, in making masks for my family, that one size does not necessarily fit all. Making a mock-up of the pattern without all the layers may be a good way to see what changes need to be made to the pattern before committing fabric to the project. ]

Next, measure down 2 inches on each side and draw line across and cut to make pattern.  A hexagon shape is made. 

Use this pattern to cut 2 pieces of material and 1 of sew-on (non-iron) interfacing.

Place the 2 material pieces right sides together and then place the interfacing on top.  Pin.

Sew on the top 3 sides and the bottom 3 sides ¼” from edge.  Leave ends open to turn.  Turn and press with iron.  Top stitch sewn sides ¼”.

Iron down the top and the bottom where corners meet ends.

Top-stitch at edge of top and bottom ¼”.

Place one piece of elastic over one end and fold end over once and then once again to form a casing.  Pin in place.  Stitch close to the edge being careful not to catch elastic in machine.  (Sometimes, because of the bulk, it is easier to start in the middle and sew to the end and then turn the material and sew from middle to end. If machine will handle it, it can be sewn in one line.)

Now fold open the corners lining them up with the end casing and stitch in place.  This holds the shape of the mask.  Repeat for other side.  Tie the elastic in a not to the desired length.

As always, STAY SAFE and Happy Sewing!

Is She Still Sleeping on Those Patched Sheets!

life

Some time back I posted that I bought new sheets (since mine were worn) and they were HOT and uncomfortable. Due to the Covid circumstances, I could not get out and shop for replacement sheets so I patched my old sheets and threw them back on the bed. Anything was better than sleeping on those HOT sheets! I forgot to post that I did finally purchase new sheets and they are devine. In fact, after sleeping on them for a while (to be sure I liked them) I purchased a back-up pair.

Now, this leads me to explain what I did with my old, patched sheets. I am still using them. Well….kind of….let me explain. I do not like to waste things. I grabbed a pair of scissors made a slit and ripped my old sheets over and over again until I had a big stack of rags. I devided the rags into two piles. One pile went to my husband for him to use in the garage, the other I kept to use around the house. So, while I am not still sleeping on the sheets, I have not gotten rid of them quite yet.

I have also learned a lesson from the whole sheet incident. Mainly, if you want to purchase something in the future, keep a record of the brand, materials the item is made of, manufacturer, and where it was purchased. This is especially true of any item being washed, where the risk of the tag fading beyond being readable is a posibility. I put my record of items into a word document on my computer. I also attached pictures in the document so I would know what the item looked like. Genius!

As always, Happy Sleeping!

Pattern Review: Sewing the Easy Shift

Projects

I follow the blog Maison Bentley Style and found one of Kate’s posts to be quite useful to me as of late. Kate posted a few versions of an easy shift to sew at home. I liked the easy wear style and thought the pattern at This Little Miggy would be right up my alley. So, after a bit of time, I finally got up the nerve to cut out my material and push the pedal to the metal as they say.

The pattern was simple enough. It consisted of four rectangles that one gets by taking one’s measurements according to the directions provided. It also gave a pattern for a pocket to trace and cut out. All very straight-forward. I cut the pieces. However, I chose to make the piece for the back one piece instead of two rectangles sewn together. Why have a seam up my backside afterall?

The most challenging part for me was deciding how deep the v-neck should be. The pattern has one decide this themself. So, being conservative, I cut the v-neck. Well, it did not fit over my head. Ha! I went into my closet and got out a v-neck and used that for my pattern. (For me that was 9.5″) My shoulder seems ended up being 9″ each. The pattern had one cut a dip for the neckline in the back and turn under and sew. I chose to add a neck facing to this for a clean seam. It worked well. The sewing was simple. Basically straight lines everywhere.

Here is my finished dress made of linen.

I would recommend this pattern. Very easy to make (especially since I just gave everyone a hint on the neckline). If interested in this pattern, check it out at:

A special thanks to Kate for her wonderful posts and connecting me to the site for this pattern. Love your blog!!! Also a big thanks to This Little Miggy for sharing this wonderful pattern! It gives me courage to try and design something on my own next time. Who knew rectangles could turn into a dress!

As always, Happy Sewing!

DIY Grab-It Potholder

Projects

Another day of making potholders. Today it is the grab-it potholder. It slips on and looks like a puppet. Handy for grabbing a cookie sheet or muffin tin from the oven. Let’s get started…

Supplies:

material

quilter’s batting

thread

sewing machine

scissors

needle

thimble

copy paper (for making the pattern piece)

pencil

ruler

self-healing craft matt

rotary blade tool

Step 1: Make the pattern. This piece is basically an oval that fits your fingers. Fold a piece of paper in half then in half again. Make one side of the fold the width and the other the length. When unfolded all sides will be the same. My dimensions are roughly: 2.5″ width x 4.5″ length with a curved side. See photos.

Width 2 1/2″
length 4 1/2″

Step 2: Unfold pattern piece. Pin to fabric and cut 2 pieces. Pin to batting and cut 1 piece.

Step 3: Make the pocket pieces by folding the pattern piece in half (widthwise) and then folding down 1/2″. Pin to fabric and cut 4 pieces. Pin to batting and cut 2 pieces.

Step 4: With right sides together, sew two pocket material pieces together. Iron seams open. Place one batting piece inside and fold over. Repeat making one more pocket piece.

Pin pocket pieces together
Press pocket pieces, add batting, fold over

Step 5: Sew 1/2″ seam around pocket piece and keep going to quilt a maze design on pocket pieces. This keeps batting in tact through use and washing.

quilted pocket piece

Step 6: Sandwhich the main piece of batting between the two pieces of oval fabric with the right sides out. Stitch 1/2″ seam allowance around the edge. Quilt a bit on this piece as well. Simple straight lines will do just fine.

Step 6

Step 7: Now take the pocket pieces and pin to the oval. Sew around curves leave the straight sides open.

Step 7

Step 8: Cut a long strip of fabric 2 1/2 ” wide. The length should be longer than the oval…don’t worry about making it exact. It is better to have this too long so that it can be fitted and cut when almost finished sewing. After cutting the strip, fold one end 1/4″ under on width side. Now fold it in half lengthwise and press. Then pin just the start of the binding to the edge of the potholder with raw edges together. Do not pin the whole thing as the binding will have to be stretched and shaped to fit as it is being sewn. Sew in place with a 1/2″ seam. When almost to the end, cut the binding with an overlap and fold under 1/4″ and finish sewing.

Cut binding 2 1/2″ wide with self healing matt and rotary cutter or by hand is fine too
Fold and press
Pin just the beginning of binding to potholder
Cut binding when almost finished leaving an overlap. Oh and don’t forget to turn the end under (not shown in photo) for a finished look.

Step 9: Almost done! The machine part of the sewing is finished. Get out a needle, thread, thimble, and scissors to complete the potholder. Turn the binding to the back. It should just cover the seam stitch. Hold in place and with a threaded needle grab a tiny amount of fabric from the potholder and from the binding and whip stitch all aroung the potholder. Press the potholder to flatten it out and bit. Voila! Now you are ready to take those cookies out of the oven. Happy crafting!

DIY Pot Handle Potholders

Projects

I am back to making potholders. Now that my pot lids are cozy, I decided my pot handles should be dressed as well. I drafted a pattern and made it in two ways. The first way I tried has a band to finish off the edges. The second and easier version has the edge finished first. I will give directions for both. My favorite is the second version. It is faster to make and takes less fabric. These can literally be sewn up in less than five minutes.

Let’s start with my favorite version first…

Supply List:

a sheet of copy paper (to draft the pattern)

pencil

ruler

scissors

pan (to make the potholder fit)

material

quilter’s batting

sewing machine

thread

Length of my pattern: roughly 6″
Width of my pattern: roughly 2.5″

Step 1: Cut the pattern piece for the pot handle. My pattern is roughly 6″ long x 2.5″ wide. I folded the rectangle in half lengthwise and then cut rounded corners. This can be adjusted to fit any pot or pan handle. Just measure the handle and make adjustments as needed.

Step 2: Cut out pieces. Material = 2 pieces / Lining = 2 pieces / Batting = 2 pieces

Step 3: For the batting pieces only…trim off 1/4″ from width on top edge (edge with squared corners).

Step 4
Step 4: press

Step 4: With right sides together, pin one material piece to one lining piece with right sides together at top edge. Repeat with the other piece of material and lining. Set batting aside for now. Sew a 1/4″ seam. Press open seams.

Step 5: Place the two material/lining pieces right sides together.

Step 5: Now to sandwhich the layers. Place the two material/lining pieces right sides together.

Step 5b
Step 5b

Step 5b: Place one batting piece on top of material. Fold over lining. Hold and Flip over. Repeat this for other side. Pin in place.

Step 6

Step 6: Sew a 1/2″ seam from top around to other side of top leaving opening at top width.

Step 7: Turn and place on handle of pot.

—————————————————————————————-

Now for the more complicated version with the band trim….

If using this method, a contrasting fabric will be needed for the trim. Not much… a tiny piece… Also needed is a needle and thimble as hand sewing is required.

Step 1: Same as above

Step 2: Same as above

Step 3: Sandwhich pieces together. (Do not trim the batting in this method.) Place right sides of fabric together. On top of this place a batting then a lining. Flip and place a batting and a lining on the other material piece. Pin together.

Step 4: Sew a 1/2″ seam around from top around to other side of top leaving an opening at width end. (same as step 6 above)

Step 5: Turn.

Step 6: Pick out a contrasting fabric for trim
Step 6: Cut trim fabric double width as pattern fold in half lengthwise then fold in half widthwise and sew seam1/2″
Step 6: Place trim over pot holder with raw edges together.

Step 6: Pick out a contrasting fabric for the trim. Cut a rectangle that is the twice the width as the pattern (5″) x however wide the trim is desired to be then doubled and allow for seam allowance of 1/4″ (1 – 1 1/2″). Fold trim in half lengthwise and press with iron. Next, fold the trim in half widthwise and press with iron. Stitch a 1/2″ seam allowance on width of trim. Slip this over the pot holder with raw edges together. Pin in place.

Step 7: Hand sew trim to pot holder with raw sides together
Step 7: Turn trim to inside and pin in place
Step 7: Whip stitch trim to lining
Pot handle potholder with trim

Step 7: Hand stitch the trim in place using a 1/4″ seam allowance. Turn trim to inside and pin in place. Whip stitch the trim to the lining only covering stitching. Place on pot handle.

My pots and pans are all dressed up and ready to use. No more burnt hands for me! The best part of this DIY projcet is that the potholders take very little fabric and can be made very quickly. The fabric I used were scraps leftover from other projects, so it did not cost me anything to make them.

Be sure to check-out my previous DIY post on making potholders for pot lids as well. As always, Happy Crafting!

DIY Chair Cushions

Projects

I ordered materials to make a couple of cushions for our wooden chairs. I finally got around to making them yesterday. As with most projects, the procrastination is worse than the actual project.

First off, I needed a pattern. I gathered together some copy paper and taped them together to make my patterns and labeled them. Next time I need a cushion, I will be able to pull out the pattern and get started without delay. For my cushions, I bought foam in a four pack. The foam is 1 inch thick but can be doubled by using more than one piece and this is what I did. Each cushion got two pieces of foam for a total thickness of 2 inches. I wrapped the foam in quilter’s batting sewed together with a seam. The batting was 16 inches wide by 37 inches. This allowed for a half inch seam allowance. The batting adds softness and keeps the foam in place. The foam (as I said) was 2 inches thick and 16 inces square. So I drafted a square of 17 inches, this allows for a half inch seam allowance all around. (Cut two for each cushion) For the sides (making it a box cushion) I made a template 17 inches x 3 inches. This allows for the height of the foam at 2 inches plus a half inch seam allowance. (Cut 3 per cushion.) The fourth side is slightly different as I added a zipper so that I could wash the cushion cases. So for this side, I drafted a piece 17 inches by 2 1/8 inch. (Cut 2 per cushion.)

Next I pinned the pieces to my material and cut them out.

Prepare pattern pieces and cut out material.

I started with the invisable zipper side first. Inserting an invisable zipper is really pretty simple. First, use iron-on interfacing and cut a strip the size of the zipper for each side. The length of the zipper and about one inch width. Iron this to the WRONG side of fabric for each piece. Open zipper. Then pin the zipper centered to the edge of the piece right side of zipper to right side of fabric. With a zipper foot on the sewing machine, stitch in place until coming to the pull. The zipper foot will not pass this point. Backstitch and take out of machine. Now the zipper foot on the machine will need to be moved to the other side. Sewing the other half of the zipper is the same process. Be sure that the fabric lines up at the top of each side and pin right side of zipper to right side of fabric. When this is complete, the top and bottom seam will need to be completed. Still using the zipper foot, zip the zipper up and move the tail of zipper fabric to the side and continue the seam down from where the backstitch left off. Lastly, unzip the zipper and continue the seam from the top of the zipper to the top edge of fabric. This piece should finish a little wider than needed. Fold the 17 inch by 3 inch template in half and line the folded side up with the zipper. Pin to the piece and cut off the extra fabric. Finished.

Place right side of zipper to right side of fabric. Pin.
Sew with zipper foot attachment stopping at zipper pull.
Pin other side of zipper to second piece of fabric aligning fabric evenly.
Sew second side.
Push zipper bottom to side and finish sewing from backstitch to end of fabric.
Finished zipper side panel.

Now to put it all together.

Ready to sew last three sides. Be sure zipper is open!
Last three sides pinned and ready to sew.

Sew the sides to one of the squares. Remember, sew right sides together, and the seam allowance is half an inch. Next, sew the sides together at their edges. Sew one side to the other square. It will look like an opened pizza box at this point. Be sure to UN-zip the zipper. Very important or the cushion will not be able to be turned when done sewing. Pin the remaining three sides to the square. Sew one side at a time. When finished turn right side out. Stuff foam cushion inside cover, zip. Voila! C’est facile!

Finished cushion
Ready to sit down.

DIY Pot Lid Pot-Holders

Cooking

While I love my pots, I do not like the fact that the lid handles get hot. I have felt the heat more times than I care to remember. A potholder seems a bit big. I just want to grab the lid and carry on. What to do?

I did not see any patterns for pot lid protectors so I made my own to custom fit my lid handles. I cut-out one long rectangle of fabric and folded it right sides together and one piece Insul-Bright insulation and placed it on top of the fabric. I sewed it together leaving space to turn. Then I turned the fabric and top-stitched all around.

Cut 1 piece of material on fold
cut 1 piece of Insul-Bright and place on top of folded fabric (right sides of fabric together)
Sew from folded edge down and across bottom stop to leave opening start across bottom and back up to fold (sewing on 3 sides only). Cut corners.
Turn and pin opening shut.
topstitch around all four sides.
Fit around pan lid to find where to place snaps. Sew on Snaps. I used 2 snaps per pot holder.

At first, I thought I would use a velcro closure, however, I did not have velcro on hand. Also, washing things with velcro can be a pain. I rummaged through my sewing box and found some tiny sew-on snaps. Bingo! This was just the ticket. I then fitted the pot-holders to the handle to see where the snaps should be sewn. Voila! My pot lid pot-holders were complete.

Do I like these? YES! Do they work? YES! Are they washable? Yes! How I like to use them is to snap them on the handle of the lid and then cook. I can grab the lid at any time without getting burned. After I am finished I have the choice of either storing them in the pot holder drawer or snapping them back on the clean lid so it is ready to go for next time.

So, the moral of my story…if you can not find what you want…MAKE IT. As always…Happy crafting!