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!

Desperate Times Call for Mending My Sheets

household

I purchased (ordered) new sheets a while back. They seemed fine, so I laundered them and made up the bed. That night, I could not get comfortable. I was hot.

I turned to my husband and asked if he too was hot. No, he was fine. Was it just me? After a few nights, I gave up and put the old sheets back on the bed. Everything was fine, until recently that is. A rather large hole had sprung up in the sheets. Oh (bleep)! Now what? I can not even shop for new ones with all the store closures, as of late, and I will not order sheets again. So back on the bed went the new sheets and again I was sweating and uncomfortable. Darn sheets!

So as the old expression goes…”Desperate Times Call for Desperate Measures”. I got the old sheets out. No…even with the hole I had not thrown them out yet. I found some scrap fabric in my sewing cabinets and sewed a large patch on both front and back of the fitted sheet covering the hole. I will now say a little prayer that my mended sheets will get us through until the Corona Virus has run it’s course and I can buy a new pair of cooler sheets. I am off to make the bed… Sweet Dreams!

Patched sheet

Interesting fact

The expression ‘desperate times call for desperate measures’ is believed to have originated with a saying coined by the ancient Greek physician, Hippocrates. In his work Amorphisms, he wrote: “For extreme diseases, extreme methods of cure, as to restriction, are most suitable.” —-https://www.gingersoftware.com/content/phrases/desperate-times-call-for-desperate-measures/

Making Baby Quilts from My Children’s Baby Clothes

Projects

When my children were little I decided to save some of their special clothes to “some day” make a baby quilt. Well that “some day” finally happened. The clothes were cut into squares and a quilt was made for each of my children using the clothes they used to wear. Ah the memories!

When making a baby quilt from baby clothes be sure to save enough clothes to make a good sized quilt. Remember, the clothes are small and only so many squares can be made from one little outfit. Also, be sure to use pockets and embellishments such as bows and patches. They add interest and function as well. A future child might like to stick something in that pocket after all.

Keeping Bows and 3-D butterflies
Pocket
Pocket

I made my quilts simple and just cut squares in the same size. I arranged them to my liking and then sandwhiched batting in-between the top and the soft flannel backing I chose. I then quilted them via stitch in the ditch or quilting as close to the seam as possible around all sides of the squares. I did the quilting by hand. This is my preferred method. I can relax on the sofa and quilt and I feel I have more control as well. I learned to hand quilt through the excellent book That Perfect Stitch The Secrets of Fine Hand Quilting by Roxanne McElroy. I also use the Roxanne thimble when quilting. It has an opening for the fingernail with a little lip on top. After quilting I attached the binding made from the same material as the backing material. Voila!

Roxanne Thimble

Making Garden Sleeves

gardening

I can not stand to be hot when I am gardening. For this reason, I do not like to wear long sleeves in the warm seasons. However, this is not always a good thing.

Not wearing sleeves when gardening has caused me to get into some itchy situations. Some plants can irritate the skin and it is best to wear sleeves when working around them. Hence, the idea of garden sleeves.

Garden sleeves can be made by cutting an old shirt slightly above the elbow, turning it under to sew a casing, and adding elastic. If there are no old shirts to be had, or a specific material is desired, a sleeve can be made by using a pattern piece from a sewing pattern for a shirt. Genius! I happened to come across a pattern in my stash for a garden sleeve (Butterick 5506). I had bought the pattern with the intention of making the hat, which I never did. So now, I will use the pattern to make my garden sleeves.

Completed Sleeves

The sleeves can be removed when the itchy task is complete. In this way, one can keep doing their gardening without changing clothes or overheating in a long shirt. Happy Gardening!

DIY Fashion Trends Fall 2019

Projects

Looking at what is trending this fall in fashion, I came across a couple of trends that caught my eye. These trends could bring out the DIY fashion designer and crafty side of me. Patchwork and feathers, need I say more?

https://www.elle.com/fashion/trend-reports/a26147021/fall-fashion-trends-2019/
https://www.elle.com/fashion/trend-reports/a26147021/fall-fashion-trends-2019/
Feather-Trimmed Boyfriend Jeans
Pradanet-a-porter.com$1,510.00

I love the idea of fashionable, wearable quilts. Not your grandma’s quilt! The idea here is to keep the clothing from looking like it could be grandma’s quilt wrapped around the body. The design needs to be fresh and the fabric trending. Looks like a fun challenge to me.

Feathers are always fun. Can anyone pull it off? Why not! The key here is how much feathers and how the item is paired with the whole outfit. These jeans are fun, but $1,510.00 of fun! I could easily see this as a DIY project. Why not make a feather cuff and attach it to the jeans with velcro or large stitches that can be removed when the trend dies down?

Speaking of feathers, I once admired a fellow student’s feather earrings. Reminded me of the 80’s. I asked her where she got them, but I couldn’t find them, so I made my own. Earring posts, a couple of beads, and feathers from the craft store. An inexpensive solution and made to my liking to boot. Now it looks like they will be in fashion again this fall.

Earrings I made

Whether or not to spend on a trend or DIY really comes down to money, time, and talent; also, whether the trend will be around long enough to justify the purchase. If it is not too complicated and money can be saved, why not DIY? This will make it original and some fun can be had as well.

Let’s Go Fly a Kite

Projects

It’s the little things in life that can bring enjoyment. Stopping to smell the roses, watching ducks swimming in a pond, seeing a rainbow, and watching kites flying in the sky. Why not bring a little enjoyment to yourself and others? Let’s make a kite!

I tried making paper kites when I was a kid. We would cut old sheets to use as tails. Sadly, my paper kites never really flew. They usually just bounced along after me on the ground as I ran around the yard. This could be due to poor kite design, lack of wind, or just not knowing what I was doing. Who knows?

In college, I took a fabric design course in which we had to dye fabrics, tie-die fabrics, batik fabrics, and stitch fabrics. After we had finished our tie-die fabrics, the professor gave us instructions to turn our fabric art into a kite. Cool! What was even cooler was that this kite actually flew! The kite flew so well in fact that I didn’t have to run around the yard to try to get it in the air. Wow!

The sled kite that I made is quite simple and inexpensive to make. I think it makes a perfect first kite as it is so simple to get up into the sky. It also rolls up to a nice portable little bundle. So let’s get started!

Finished Sled Kite

Sled Kite

What you will need:

  • newspaper
  • black sharpie marker
  • yardstick
  • tape
  • material (to fit the pattern size you make)(white muslin to tie-dye/or cotton pattern)
  • thread
  • needle
  • scissors
  • thimble
  • straight pins
  • tape measure
  • iron
  • ironing board
  • 2 wood dowel rods size 36″ x 3/16 (cut to size)
  • coping saw
  • pencil
  • small piece of sand paper
  • tie-dye kit (optional)
  • kite string on spool with clip
  • fishing swivel (optional)

The first step is to make a pattern for the kite out of newspaper. Take two pieces of newspaper a tape together to make one large piece. Next take a yardstick and decide how long the kite will be. The number should be easily divisible by 3. I choose 27 inches. Take your marker and mark a line 27 inches. Then cut along this line.

Mark line at 27″
Cut at line

Now that you have this you will need to make a grid on your paper. The grid will be 3 squares by 2 squares. Each square should be the same size. Since I chose 27 inches….3 goes into 27 nine times. I will have six squares that are 9 inches. Cut along outer edge.

Make Grid

Now take your yardstick and place it diagonally on the top left square from bottom to top and draw a line. Then place your yardstick from the top right of the same first square to the bottom right square of the last square of the top row. Draw a line. Cut on these two diagonal lines. This is the kite pattern. The bottom edge should be placed on the fold of the fabric. It will be a mirror image when opened.

Mark diagonal line
Mark second diagonal line
Cut at diagonal lines
labeled kite placement guide

Here comes the creative part! Fabric choice! My suggestion would be something bright and eye-catching. (Pale blue or white will not be exciting in a sky of the same color.) This is where tie-dying comes in….take white muslin and tie-dye the fabric to your liking per box instructions or buy a fabric with a pattern already printed. Such materials to consider would be any light cotton such as a batik print. Once the fabric is chosen, fold the fabric to fit the pattern piece and pin the pattern to fabric with the fold edge (in my case the 27 inches) on the fold of fabric and cut fabric. (Do not cut the edge with fold.) When the fabric is open it will be the entire kite.

Take the fabric and fold over the fabric 1/4″ on one side, press with iron and then fold again to make a 1/2″ hem. Using a slip stitch, hand stitch the side in place. Repeat for all sides of kite leaving a small gap on the ends of the top and bottom to insert wooden dowels.

Slip stitch hem leaving space for dowel rod to be inserted

Cut wooden dowels with coping saw to fit in hem pocket in top and bottom of kite. Sand the cut end of dowel and insert into hem pockets. Tack in place to kite material with thread by using needle to whip thread around the dowel about three times and at three equal distances along the rod.

Cutting dowel rod
Tack dowel in place to kite with thread

Cut a piece of kite string about 2 yards long. Thread one end into the head of a large needle and stitch to farthest side point on kite. Then stitch the other end of the string on the other side of kite and thread through plastic clip,. (If the kite string does not come with a clip/ring you can use a fishing swivel. Attach this to your kite line.

Stitch kite string to farthest point on kite
Thread through plastic clip on kite spool

Find a safe place to fly your kite. This should be away from traffic, power lines, trees, storms, etc. Be sure to pick a windy day. The windier the better. Some places are naturally better for flying kites. Usually places close to the bay or beach are great places to find the perfect wind.

Face away from the way the wind is blowing. Hold the kite in the air by where the strings meet close to the ring. When you feel the kite catch the wind, give it a little more line until you slowly let it go higher and higher. Adjust the line if it does not feel tight enough or begins to drop by reeling the line in a bit.

Have fun and go fly a kite!

(Be sure to send me a picture if you actually make a DIY Sled Kite!)

Water Bottle Holder

Projects

Like to take water with you but don’t want to carry it? Can’t get anyone else to carry it for you? A water bottle holder is just the ticket. Sling it over your shoulder and you are ready to go.

I have made four of these water bottle holders. What I like about them is that you can personalize them to whatever pattern or color you like. They keep the water cool and the sweat from the bottle does not get all over the place. Mostly, I like that I do not have to hold the bottle and can have my hands free.

Materials needed: 1/4 yard cotton fabric, Insulin-Bright insulating material (www.warmcompany.com), one package of double fold bias tape quilt binding .875″ wide, thread, pins, sewing machine, iron.

The holder does not take much fabric and is easy to make. It can be customized to fit the size of bottle you have. For a standard size water bottle, cut 2 pieces of fabric and 1 piece of insulating material : 10 1/2 ” wide x 11 ” high.

Take the insulating material and place the two pieces of fabric with the fabric right sides together on top of it. Sew on the top side (10 1/2″ wide side) through all pieces using a 5/8″ seam allowance. Turn the top fabric piece to the other side of the insulating material. Now the piece should have the insulating material in the middle with fabric on either side, right side facing out. Smooth flat and pin the piece everywhere with quilting pins. The sewn side will be the top. Sew in one inch lines from top to bottom or quilt as desired. Fold in half so sides meet, sew lengthwise 5/8″ seam. Set aside.

Cut a piece of binding tape long enough to cover the unfinished edge of the holder and the desired length of the strap.

Now take the binding tape and open it up and enclose the seam with the tape. Pin to the unfinished edge of the holder. Sew up the side keeping close to the edge of the bias tape and keep going down the remainder of the tape. Next, place the end of the strap inside the holder and sew in place. Turn the body inside out.

Cut two circles of fabric and one circle of insulating material 4″ diameter. Place together with the right sides out and insulating material in the middle. Pin. Sew an x through the circle. Sew a 5/8″ seam around the edge.

Pin the bottom circle piece in place in the bottom edge of the right side of the holder and sew around. Turn to right side. Put a water bottle inside and enjoy!

(My bag is adapted from the pattern on: blog.ilovefabric.com)