Monday, September 29, 2014

My First Drawstring Bag

I finished my first (of many, I'm sure) drawstring bag.  I used the tutorial by Jeni at In Color Order for the design, but I used my own measurements to make it bigger.  I cut the soccer fabric at 18 inches square.  The black fabric was four inches wide, and the lining was 21.5 inches long.  It used 8 feet of ribbon. 

It is plenty big.  It can hold a soccer ball, cleats and shin guards, plus a water bottle and snack. 

I made it as a thank you gift for Cheetah's soccer coach, but now I need to make another one for Cheetah.  He loved it! 

And as you all know, if I make one for Cheetah... I will have to make one for Panda and Monkey as well!  Like I said, the first of many. 


Friday, September 26, 2014

Bear Tracks: My Original Design

My husband's Christmas quilt, "Bear Tracks" is now finished!  Jan unknowingly helped me name this quilt when she referred to it as bear tracks in her comment on my first post about the quilt.  I am so grateful for her help, because I couldn't figure out what to call it.  The names that came to my mind were "Walk in the Woods" or "Bear Walk."  I like "Bear Tracks" much better. 

I designed this quilt because I couldn't find any outdoorsy prints to do a simple patchwork.  I decided to use bear paw blocks to match the fuzzy minky I wanted to use for the back. 

After I sketched it out, I went to buy the fabric when my LQS was having a great sale.  I tried to select fabrics which would give the quilt an ombre feel, and I think I succeeded. 

I just love taking a pile of fabric and turning it into a cuddly quilt.  It turned out even better than I imagined.

It was actually made at my husband's request.  He asked me, "Do I get a fuzzy quilt?"  So this is his Christmas present, finished nice and early.  But now I have to wait three months before giving it to him. He requested a longer quilt (7 feet instead of 6) and an outdoorsy look.  I think I fulfilled his request.  He has officially been banned from reading my blog until Christmas. 

Because this is to be a cuddle quilt, I quilted it simply by stitching in the ditch. 

I love the way it looks on the back. 

I added a label to one corner, and used Leanne's tutorial which has you stitch around it before hand sewing it to the quilt.  This extra step was so worth it. 

I used the same green from the corners for the binding which I sewed down by machine. 

It looks great in our family room. 

But he better be careful, because other people may try to confiscate his quilt.  I had to reclaim it from Cheetah to hide it until Christmas.  (Good thing Cheetah will receive his own quilt this Christmas.)

Quilt Stats #113
Name: Bear Tracks
Pattern: Designed by me
Quilting Design: Stitch in the ditch
Fabric: Miscellaneous browns from my LQS
Amount Used: 8 yards
Batting: Warm and White
Size: About 60 x 84 inches
Date Finished: September 2014
What I Learned:
  • I like stitching around the edge on the label before hand sewing it to the quilt.
  • It is easier to ban my husband from the craft room for sneaky sewing than my children. 
  • It is fun to design a quilt with someone special in mind. 
So now I have one Christmas quilt finished and three more to do.  It will be a bit harder to find my sneaky sewing time.  Hopefully my husband will take them for more long bike rides and other father/son activities.   And my husband is now able to come in the craft room, as long as he doesn't start looking in the boxes or other containers where the quilt may be hiding.  ;o)


P.S.  I will be linking up with Finish it up Friday and Can I Get a Whoop Whoop

P.P.S.  I am also linking up with Jennie of Porch Swing Quilts for her Santa's Sweatshop linky party. 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Minky Pillow Case Tutorial

~Plus~ Tips for dealing with the fuzzy minky mess. 

I have had so much fun making pillow cases out of minky, that I thought others would want to see how easy they are.  They make great gifts! 

2/3 yard of minky (60 inches wide)
Coordinating Thread
1.5 inches of sew-on Velcro (optional)

Note:  This fits a standard size pillow in the United States.  (Approximately 19 x 26 inches)

1.  Keep the minky folded in half and smooth it out on your cutting mat.  My cutting mat has a grid that is 24 x 36 inches.  (The cutting process was made easier for me because my cutting table is set up as an island in the center of my room.) 

2.  Square up one of the long edges of fabric. 

Hint:  When I have such a long cut to make I use two rulers.  I hold the right one in place while I slide the other up.  This keeps the edge nice and square. 

Note:  I like to put the trimmings straight into the garbage to keep down the fuzzy minky mess. 

3.  Cut the minky so it is 20.5 inches wide.  (This is really easy for me with my 20.5 inch square Omnigrip ruler.)

I slide it up to finish the cut. 

Note:  If you can't access all the sides of your mat like me, it is better to rotate your mat than to rotate your fabric.  It helps keep down the fuzzy minky mess. 

4.  Trim off both selvage edges. 

It now looks like this. 

5.  Clean up the fuzzy minky mess.  I carefully lift up the edges and wipe it up with a batting scrap. 

This minky actually wasn't too bad. 

Then I take a lint roller to the edges of the minky. 

Note:  Minky does not fray.  It is like giving it a hair cut.  Once you clean up the little "hairs" it is good to go. 

6.  Create a 1 inch hem along both short (20.5 inch) sides.  I folded the edges under 1 3/8 inch and pinned (no ironing). 

I used my walking foot when sewing on the minky. 

7.  Lay the hemmed minky right side up on your cutting mat. Line the edge up with the 26 inch mark on your mat. 

Note:  This is the hem which will show, so if one looks better than the other use it here. 

8.  Fold the minky at the 0 inch mark so that the right sides are together.  It will be longer than the 26 inches. 

Pin both sides to the 26 inch mark. 

9.  Fold the extra flap around the bottom piece. 

Pin in place.  (I still left the original pins in.)

It will look like this:

10.  Sew both sides with a half inch seam allowance starting at the end near the opening.  Back stitch at both ends. 

It will now look like this:

11.  Turn it right side out and insert the pillow. 

The pillow will hide nicely under the inner flap. 


Note:  I made three of these, and they seemed a little floppy on the bed (especially the more plush angry bird pillow case).  So I decided to add a velcro closure. 


13.  Sew 1.5 inches of velcro to the wrong side of the hem which shows.  Center it along the edge. 

Note:  I used a straight stitch because it will be visible on the outside. 

14.  Lay the pillow case flat on the table, and line up the other piece of velcro.  

Carefully pin it in place so it doesn't go through both layers of fabric. 

15.  Carefully sew the second piece of velcro in place.  Be sure not to catch another part of the pillow while sewing.  

Note:  I used a zig zag stitch because it secures it better and will not show.

16.  Put the pillow back in and enjoy! 

I think they look a lot better with the velcro sewn on. 

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial (and that it made sense).  Please leave a comment if you have any questions. 

I would love to see your project if you use this tutorial.  :)


P.S.  I based this pillow case design off of a cotton pillow case I bought at Ikea.  The minky just makes it so much better! 
P.P.S. I will be linking up with Finish it up Friday and Can I Get a Whoop Whoop.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Pillows and More

I have been teaching one of my dear friends to sew, and we have started with pillows.  She has made a throw pillow, a standard pillow case, and a minky pillow case.  This has helped encourage me get to some pillows and other small projects finished. 

These three pillow cases are for my nieces:  C loves the color teal.  (This really is a pretend pillow case, because she already had hers and I never took a picture.)  S's current favorite color is red.  K's favorite color is "rainbow."  I am so happy to say that they love their pillows from Aunt Jasmine. 

After making the pillow cases, I got to work tying some of the baby blankets I had already prepped. 

I was a little behind, because a couple of the babies are already two months old.  At least the blankets are big enough (40 x 52 inches) to last them awhile.  It feels good to be caught up, and I still have 11 more ready to tie. 

I also finished some sneaky sewing for my sons.  Their minky pillow cases for Christmas are finished!  Monkey gets the orange car one, because he loves orange and cars.  Panda gets the Angry Bird one, because it matches Pooh Bear's Quilt.  Cheetah gets the brown one, because it will match the animal print quilt  he's getting for Christmas. 

I am hoping these will replace some of the pillow pets in our house.  ;) I have written a tutorial to show how I made these fuzzy pillows.  You can find it here.  It also includes some tips for dealing with the fuzzy mess when cutting minky. 

I am also thrilled to say that my husband's Christmas quilt, which I designed, is now in quilt top form. 

It has turned out even cooler than I imagined it would.  I am hoping to have it finished by the end of the week. 

Plus, I got more containers to house my rainbow of modern scraps.  They looked a little empty, so I added some newer yardage I had on hand to keep the scraps company. 

Some of them still look empty.  It makes me want to do some stash building to fill them up until I make scraps. 


P.S.  I am linking up with Let's Bee Social and Needle and Thread Thursday.  (Buttons on sidebar.)

P.P.S.  I am linking up with Jennie of Porch Swing Quilts for her Santa's Sweatshop linky party.