The 4th after 4 years

29 06 2016

Since the first day of summer I’ve felt too bad to do anything creative. For me that’s bad. Today I finally felt good enough to get up for a while. I looked around at the house thinking Spring decorations need to come down and summer go up (if they finally do this year), and I remembered a project I’d intended to do four years ago!

I had seen this pillow in Pottery Barn’s Catalog. While I liked the pillow, I thought I could come up with something I liked even better. I’ve had all the materials and a plan since that time, but every year the 4th of July rolls around and I realize I’ve missed the window again.  Today was the day!

Finished Flag Pillows

My pillows are not intended to be indoor/outdoor, and they have a plain back, They are also made from three different fabrics rather than one printed fabric.  If you’d like to see the process, read on. If not thanks for looking at my show and tell.

My pillow forms are 20″.  The star fabric is 19″ wide bunting from a Minnick & Simpson line a few years ago. I started by determining the best place to cut the bunting to keep the most stars intact.  It turned out about an 8″ finished strip was what worked for me. If I were using other star fabric, that number could change. I could have used solid blue fabric and appliqued, stenciled or stamped the stars. Because I wanted to do flat felled seams on my pillows I used 5/8″ seam allowances throughout. (They looked huge after probably years of working with a 1/4″ seam allowance). So adding the 5/8″ seam allowance to both edges meant I needed to cut a strip 9-1/4″ wide. Once the I knew 8″ was taken up with the star strip I divided the remaining 12″ of the pillow form by four stripes to arrive at 3″ finished stripes or 4-1/4″ cut strips. Because I was making two pillows I chose to piece one big section the width of the solid fabric.


To condense the cutting directions:

  • Cut one 9-1/4″ x 42″ strip of star fabric
  • Cut two 4-1/4″ x 42″ strips of white/cream
  • Cut two 4-1/4″ x 42″ strips of red


Because I wanted the double line of stitching on the front of the pillow, I sewed the strips together with the wrong sides of the fabric together. The thread color will show on the right side.  I opted to use navy thread through out, but you could match thread to the color of fabric that will be on the top of the seam.


Next trim one side of each seam allowance to at least half the seam allowance width, I did about a quarter-inch. The side you trim will be the side you will enclose, so you can decide now what color will be on the top.

Flag press seam

The remaining side of the seam allowance that was untrimmed, now needs to be pressed under so the raw edge meets the previous stitching line.


To finish the flat felled seam, stitch close to the folded edge of the seam allowance. I used an edge stitching foot to keep it even. There are flat felled feet available for most sewing machines. I didn’t have the energy to get to the machine that had one. Press the whole piece well at this point.


Cut the large strip into two pieces approximately 21-1/4″ square.

I used the envelope back method I’ve shown here before. Just a slight change — width of fabric isn’t wide enough for the back on a 20″ pillow.  I cut two rectangles 21-1/4″ x 30″ for the back of each pillow.

It’s been a long time since I’ve done a flat felled seam this was a good refresher. I’ve been creative, so now I can go back to bed.


Five a Day

2 04 2014

These adorable Needle Keepers were made from the pattern Fruit Salad by Wooden Spool Designs.  The ones in this first picture were my samples for the Monthly Wool Projects group I lead.  The covers for the apple and watermelon were made from hand dyed wool and pretty much everything else is from National Nonwovens Wool Felt.


Cathy decided to take these along with the pattern to the Quilt and Stitch Expo of Pueblo this weekend.  She decided to only take the Wool Felt and I said I’d make new samples for the watermelon and apple.  Now because I work best under pressure (insert a touch of sarcasm), I waited until this morning to start on them (they are packing up for the show tomorrow morning — hey I still had more than 24 hours).


I ran into the store this morning on my way somewhere else and grabbed the buttons.  I got a little bigger this time and I think I’m going to need to change out the one on the watermelon, but that can wait for later.

These needle keepers have several layers for storing your pins and needles.


I told my group these are fast and easy (not everyone agreed).  I made the first five in just one evening.

My Very Own Transformer

13 03 2014

My boys have outgrown their transformer toys, and it has been awhile since I saw one of the movies.  But I’m here to tell you, I now have my very own “transformer.”

Looks like it could be a purse . . .


but open up one side and you can see it holds an iron.


Open it all the way and you have a portable ironing surface.  When you are finished tuck the iron back in (while it is still hot, because that is heat-resistant fabric) fold the bag up and you are ready to go.


The Caddy Pad pattern is from Sisters Common Thread and includes the heat-resistant fabric for one pad.  If you are a local reader, the pattern is available at Ruth’s Stitchery.




19 07 2013

I came home last Friday with the Little Bites Pattern “Morsel” from Miss Rosie’s Quilt Co. and one Wintergreen mini charm pack (2-1/2″ precuts) from Moda.  Then I had a ball.  I wanted to see how many of the pincushions I could make using that one mini charm pack.  The pattern said you could probably get two, but not all.  I got five!  Now realize that you do need a little background fabric and some other fabric for the backing.  I also use a couple of other scraps.  My background fabric for many of them was the primitive muslin scraps from the Postcard Cuties quilt top.


The pattern said that adding a thin layer of batting and quilting the tops was optional, but I chose to do it to all five.  Washing before final assembly was also optional, but I did it to all but the one second from the right.  The rectangular and round pincushions are all backed with velveteen.  They are also all at least partially filled with crushed walnut shells — told you I was going to use those again.

Let me show you  close-ups of a couple of the rectangular cushions.


The pattern talked about using rubber stamps to get words on the fabric but I didn’t have any.  Now one could certainly embroider words, but I wanted it to look like it was part of the fabric.  I found a font I liked on the computer and used my Silhouette cutter to cut it from freezer paper.  (If you don’t have a cutter, you could print onto freezer paper and cut the letters out using an Exacto knife.)  After cutting the template, I ironed it to the fabric, then I used a Fabrico pen to fill in the letters.  Tsukineko ink, acrylic paint or other mediums could also be used.


I loved the printed twill shown in the pattern and thought I was going to have to mail order it.  I did find printed twill at the scrapbook store two stores down from Ruth’s, but she didn’t have the ruler on rolls.  I was buying some other printed twills and she remembered she had samples in the back.  She cut off the sample for me and it was just a little more than I needed for this cushion.  We have ordered some of this for the store — Yeah!

I thought the pattern was well done.  You really do need to take the time to read it.  I’m thinking of offering this as a class closer to Christmas for making quick gifts for sewing friends.

A quick note on my prop — the vintage typewriter in the background belonged to my grandfather.  I told my mom if she wasn’t going to display it, I’d like to have it and she brought it out to me when they came in March.

Now and Then

26 06 2013

So I don’t stay permanently behind, I’m going to show wool felt projects finished this month and for my March class.

I think I’ll use the LIFO method of inventory to determine order.  I just put the backing on the Dragonflies Penny Rug on Sunday.  The pattern is from Penny Lane Primitives.

Dragonfly-candlematJust a couple of note-worthy things on this project.  You won’t find the exact cream color I used for the background on this mat.  I started with Fresh Linen wool felt from National Nonwovens and tea dyed it.  I wadded up the felt and determined what size mixing bowl I could fit it into.  Then I took the felt out of the bowl, filled the bowl up with boiling water and seeped two bags of tea.  Once the tea was nice and dark, I removed the tea bags and shoved the felt in the bowl.  I did not agitate because I was hoping for mottled fabric.  Once I thought the wool was dark enough, I removed it from the bowl and rinsed.  Then I put it in the spin cycle of the washer, and finally dried it completely in the dryer.  Most of the projects I’ve shown previously, I’ve laid flat to dry.  So this background fabric is a little more pebbly than what I typically show.

The other thing worth noting,  the felt for the tails of the dragonflies was cut with a hole punch.  We’ve discussed using punches in class before, but this pattern called for the punch.  So much easier than cutting all those circles with scissors.

The second project was finished either at the very end of February or the first couple of days of March.  This  floss keeper was made from the Stitchery Set pattern by Bareroots.

floss-keeper-outsideI was in a huge hurry on this one, so you are seeing the wool felt as it came off the bolt.  I usually prewash for a softer feel.  The centers on the flower were loads of fun to make and super easy.  The buttons I used came from my grandmother’s stash, which of course means people in class couldn’t exactly duplicate.

The inside has three sheets of felt and rings to store floss for a current project.  A small pocket (I added stitching across the top of it before attaching) and a small pincushion.

floss-keeper-insideThe pattern has a large pincushion, scissor fob, and needle keep which I never got around to.




Because I Can!

13 12 2012

If you’ve been following along for a while you are probably aware I like a challenge.  Yep, I’m one of those strange people who actually enjoyed standardized tests in school.  I like to try to figure things out.  Guy will be happy to tell you, I sometimes jump out of bed in the middle of the night just to research something that came to mind.

We were given the assignment to make a place mat for our boss for Christmas.  The unifying aspect for all of these place mats  was to use at least one piece of fabric from the Primitive Gatherings Seasonal Gatherings line.   I will admit, I was not feeling  inspired!

Out of the blue, an idea came to me and I sketched out this little drawing.

basket-weave-sketchIt looked deceptively simple.  I needed to know yardage so I went home and played with Electric Quilt v. 7.  I settled on this rendition.

basket weave eqAfter drafting the design I knew it wasn’t going to be simple to stitch.  Yes, I could have used squares, but the seams would have disrupted the flow.  If you haven’t played with Electric Quilt, this is what you can expect to see if you ask for yardage.

12-13-2012 5-49-16 PMI also printed out the rotary cutting instructions and kept the color key handy while piecing.

12-13-2012 5-47-51 PMThere were a couple of options for putting together this design, I could either have Y-seams or I could work with partial seams.  I chose the latter.  I’m not going to try to explain partial seams in this post, if anyone wants a tutorial let me know and I’ll add it to my “To Do List.”  It took about an hour in piecing time and mental gymnastics, but I did it!  Is it perfect?  No, but the next time (if there is a next time) will be better.  The appearance did improve from this after I pressed the finished product.

basket weave placematBy the way, there were about 20 completely different place mats made by my co-workers.  There were several that were much prettier than this one.






What Do You Get…?

1 12 2011

What do you get when you draw a name and then add:  fabric, stuffing, thread,  buttons, beads, fimo clay, card stock, ribbon, floss, ink, wire, press board, batting, a dowel, wood turnings, tape, paint, cardboard tube, skewer,  sewing machine, a compass, oven, chop saw, scroll saw, drill press, hot glue gun,  and a crimper?

Why, a barber shop quartet of course.

We are having a gift exchange at work on Sunday and I drew our sewing machine repair man’s name.  He sings with a barber shop quartet.

This just started with an idea, a couple of sketches and then a lot of hours making it happen.   As an original design, this is a one of a kind gift.  The only thing I had to buy  for the project was the dowel and wood turnings for the barber pole.