Tag Archives: Sewing

Kitchen Gear with Attitude

Sewing Pot holder 1

For an accessory to my Father’s Day present, I embellished a pot holder with the same Echino “Buck with Glasses” Fabric.   I pre-washed and ironed a scrap to prepare for this project.

Trimming the fabric was tricky due to the repeating pattern.  I wanted to showcase a Buck in the bottom center.  Unfortunately, that meant there would be a small part of another deer peeking out on the side.

Sewing Pot holder 2

I carefully folded in the edges and pinned the fabric in place.  Using a neutral colored thread, I slowly machine stitched around the perimeter to tack it in place.

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I found this Room Essentials set of 2 Pot Holders and Oven Mitt at Target.  I thought the tan was the perfect neutral background for my Echino Fabric by Etsuko Furuya “Buck with Glasses” (EF500 in Blue).

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Voila!  Here is a peek at the whole gift set:

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 This project was so much fun!  I love practical and personalized gifts and lucky for my Dad –  this one is both! :)

Rolled Hem Hanky


I love creating handmade gifts.  For Father’s Day, I decided to step up my game and make up for my lost crafting years (aka law school) and get back to basics to create a special surprise for my step father.  He is the best dressed guy around, so a fun summertime handkerchief that would be a festive pocket square was the perfect project.

I started with a tutorial from the Purl Bee Blog.


I used a great fabric called Liberty of London Tana Lawn Classic.  It is so luxuriously soft and silky, yet 100% cotton.  It was the perfect fabric for this project because it is silky enough to be displayed as a pocket square, yet soft enough to be used as a handkerchief as well.  This pattern reminds me of The Great Gatsby – which seems to be a hot trend this season.  IMG_6462

I also picked up hand sewing thread in white (for a great contrast on the rolled hem) and size 10 hand sewing needles.

IMG_6460It was useful to acquire a quilting square for this project.  It seemed like the appropriate time to add one to my toolbox, so I found this Quilt Square on Amazon by “Quilt in a Day”.  And of course, my handy rotary cutter was a blessing for this project (as cutting the perfect square on an exact pattern was necessary).IMG_6463

The rolled hem was really fun to make!  The tutorial makes it SUPER easy and straightforward.  I opted to use a few lengths of thread (about 20 inches each).  The instructions also recommend using one long 60″ thread as an alternative.IMG_6506

For a personalized touch, I added this embroidery detail.  I am still enamored with my new Brother 4200 PRW Sewing Machine that does all these fancy stitches.  I attached Scot’s initials in the bottom right corner.  I hope this handkerchief will be a useful addition to his dapper wardrobe!

Happy Father’s Day!


Whimsical Kitchen Towels

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Adding a little whimsy to your kitchen is easy with this project!  I found an interesting way to embellish kitchen towels to add some jazz to an otherwise plain ole’ towel.  For some inspiration, I found the this tutorial helpful on Sew4Home that includes detailed measurement suggestions and technique tips.

Kitchen Towels Buck with Glasses 2

As a special Father’s Day present, I embellished two kitchen towels for my Dad.  He recently renovated his kitchen, so accessorizing now is a must!  He loves using blue accents.  I thought this Echino “Buck with Glasses” Fabric was perfect for my Dad – the avid deer hunter and father of 2 eyeglass-wearing daughters. 8)

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I found a complementary fabric of beige bubbles at my local JoAnn store.  I used it to trim the blue Echino print and add a soft detail to the kitchen towels.    The towels are 100% cotton Room Essentials brand from Target and measure 16 inches by 26 inches.  The subtle lattice detail in the towels adds another layer of texture.

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I added a special embroidery on one towel for my special gift recipient. :)  My new sewing machine, Brother PC 420, has so many fun options for decorative stitches and lettering.  It was a fun experiment!

Kitchen Towels Buck with Glasses 7 I decided to make two different designs, as seen here.  It was fun to alternate the fabric dimensions a bit.

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 Voila!  Super cute kitchen towels!

My Adventure: Amy Butler’s Weekender Tote Bag

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For my first Amy Butler project, I fell in love with the Weekender Tote Bag pattern.  An customized overnight bag sounded so romantic, so I dove in head first!  I am pleased with the results and my improved skills.  I hope my detailed account of this experience will be helpful to those attempting this project.

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Weekender Tote 1

I found the cutest home decor fabric by HGTV at my local JoAnn Store.  I took the time during the cutting phase to make the exterior pocket pieces match the pattern exactly for the pieces cut for the front and back exterior panels.  This made all the difference in the final result.


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Creating my own piping was actually quite fun.  Sewing the strips together on a bias was challenging to get the angle exact, but it worked up beautifully.  I only purchased the cotton cording required and it was an accurate estimate of the piping needed.  Only a small segment was discarded in the end.


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When making this zipper, I am so happy that I decided to trust the instructions and throw logic out the window.  I have no idea how it turned out so perfectly because the instructions were a bit bizarre in instructing you to sew over the zipper and close it in completely.  But in the end, it’s gorgeous!  I’m completely shocked!

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For me, this was the end of the easy part of the pattern.  I had no issues when creating the front and back panels and the zipper piece.  However, when I started with the joining process I was in pure misery.  I had to rescue my bobbin from a nest of tangled thread so many times!  Not only do you have to join the pieces, but you also have to be mindful of the alignment of the piping! Oh the nightmare!

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The binder clips look hilarious!  It was the only way to keep the pieces together while sewing.  I had to throw away a few dozen bent pins after this project.  Oh well!


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I added silver purse feet to the bottom of the Weekender Tote.  Since I used a lighter fabric for the exterior, I thought it would be a good idea to keep the fabric off the floor as much as possible.  I also finished the project with a light mist of Scotch Guard.


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The interior was the worst part of this crafting experience.  I didn’t look ahead to realize that it would require extensive hand sewing.  It took at least a week for my fingers to heal!  The interior sewing was incredibly awkward because the fabric shifts as you pull it open to do the actual sewing.  This causes some looseness inside.  I tried my best to keep it tight, away from the zipper and tacked well in the corners.

My Reflection:

All in all, the project was a satisfying experience.  In hindsight, it was probably too advanced for my newbie-level skills.  I can’t believe I used my old sewing machine – it struggled so much to sew on the thickness this project required.  We both survived, but my old Brother LS1717 is a little worse for wear.

Karma’s New Dog Bed

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From FabricWorm.com, I found the most adorable print for my dog, Karma.  I purchased a unit (1/2 yard) without a real plan for how I would use it.  It has all of Karma’s mannerisms captured in the cartoon dogs in this modern playful print, so I knew I just had to have some! It’s by Michael Miller called “Dog Speak Multi”.

On sale last week at Target, I found a dog bed insert (poly filled) for less than $10.00.  It’s from Target’s Boots & Barley line.  Target sells many covers, but I ventured to make my own!  The bed measures 36 inches by 29 inches, so I needed a complementary print to cover the entire face of  the pet bed.  I paired this designer fabric with a inexpensive light grey chevron print that I found at my local JoAnn store.  I only needed 1/2 yard.

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I also picked up a solid light grey fabric to use for the backside.  Instead of a zipper, I used overlapping back pieces to hold in the insert.  To finish each edge of the overlap, I used a “Loopy” decorative stitch.

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I had some scrap fabric from a recent project called Stampin’ Up Tea for Two Fabric that I used to create a “K” on the bottom right of the dog bed.  I used a decorative zig-zag stitch to tack it in place.

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  It was my first time to add applique like this – daring to wing it on my own but I think it worked beautifully!

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BIG YAWN!  Now, Karma is ready for a nap!


Simple Zipper Pouch

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My re-introduction to sewing started with this simple zipper pouch.  I found a beginner class on Craftsy.com and jumped right in!  I started with this project in a purple and polka dot fabric combo that I found in Fat Quarters on sale at JoAnn’s.

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I learned quite a bit about my old sewing machine.  I had actually moved the thing from apartment to apartment since 2005 as my hubbie and I have moved from Gainesville, FL to Boston, MA and now to Syracuse, NY for our graduate educations.  My sweetie bought me this Brother LS1717 in 2005 and it took me until 2013 to open the box! Ooops!

Pencil Pouch3


I learned a clever trick for zippers from this Craftsy class.  A regular ole’ glue stick works perfectly to temporarily hold the zipper tape to the fabric while you run to the sewing machine to baste it in place.  I have heard nightmares about pinning zipper tape, so I am relieved that this glue stick method makes zippers not scary at all!

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Just a narrow line of glue along the top edge of the zipper tape is all it takes to hold the fabric together.  I used the children’s glue stick that goes on purple and dries clear.  This made it even easier to see where I was gluing.

The best part: Once the glue dries, there isn’t even a trace of it!  No sticky mess!

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Ironing between each step was great assurance that my bag would end up with perfect corners and square edges in the end.

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I love this adorable little handle on the side.  It is super convenient for grabbing this pouch on the go!  Surprisingly, it didn’t add much bulk when sewing the top corner.  It gives a cute reveal of the adorable fabric that is on the inside of the pouch.

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I love the magic of turning the work inside right at the end and how everything just works out! Oh the fun of crafting!


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As I work on my sewing skills, stay tuned for more of my crafting adventures as I kick it up a notch!



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