Thursday, July 29, 2010

Adorable Art Caddy


My dear friend V’s little girl turned 2 last week so she needed something special from Auntie H. I found a great art case tutorial from This Mama Makes Stuff. But, of course, I altered it just a bit. I took my own measurements using construction paper as a guide, since it measures larger than a standard coloring book. My favorite part of this case is that it’s cut as one long strip and folded over itself to make the pencil pocket. Such a great idea and time saver!

Supplies Needed: 1/2 yard of 45”wide double-sided quilted fabric, 1 package of wide double-fold bias tape for finishing the edges, magnetic closure (can also use Velcro), thread, felt scraps


The biggest difference between mine and the tutorial is the added crayon pocket.


Positioning the crayon pocket near the top allowed the crayons and pencils to nest within each other, so no extra thickness was added.


I finished by adding handles, a magnetic closure and a cute felt appliqué on the outside. Birthday win!


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

20 Minute Reusable Gift Bag


I can never find a gift bag that is the proper size for the item I’m giving. Everything always seems too big or too small. So when I made the latest car caddy I used some inexpensive fabric from Ikea to make a bag that fit just right. This is a really simple and quick design that is very easily resized to suit your needs.

016 I started by cutting a long rectangle. The example above was from a 28 by 10 inch rectangle. I used my serger to quickly serge around the edges. If you don’t have a serger then you could use a zig-zag stitch to prevent fray or you could shave 5 minutes off the project by using pinking shears.

Fold the rectangle in half with the right sides together so that the two short edges meet. You are going to sew the two edges perpendicular to the fold but leave a hole (which you’ll use later for the drawstring.) To mark the hole placement put a pins 5 and 6 inches from the top of the bag on both sides.

Use your sewing machine to sew down the sides but don’t sew the inch between the pins.

018020 Press your seams open and fold your bag so that the seams are touching. Your corners should also line up and make triangles at the bottom of your bag.022 Use your rotary cutter or a good pair of scissors to cut both corners off at the same time. Make your cut parallel to the top of the bag. If you used pinking shears before you should use them here as well. Otherwise serge or zigzag this edge and then sew a seam along the edge as well. (On later bags I used a 4 thread serge and saved myself a step.)

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Next you need to hem the top of the bag. Fold the fabric so that the edge is about a 1/4 in below the hole on both sides of the bag. I used a marking pencil and ruler to draw a line on both sides of the bag connecting the top and bottom of the holes. Then I used the line to place my needle when sewing the drawstring casing.

031 040The most time-consuming part of this super fast bag is probably putting in the drawstring. My photos for this section uses 2 different colors for the drawstring so you can see what I am doing. but what you want are 2 ribbons, rope or strips of fabric (I used 1 inch strips of fabric cut from old T-shirts) about 8 inches longer than the circumference of the bag.

I started by feeding both strips through one side of the casing.


Then I took one of the strips (the blue one) and and fed it through right to left.


Next I took the other strap (green) and fed it through the same casing left to right.

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In the end both ends of one strip come out one hole and both of the other ends come out the other hole. Tie the ends of the strips together on each side and give them a yank to cinch your bag.

Now make a whole bunch more.

002With just a few modifications you can adjust the size. Increase the length to make it taller. Increase the width to make it wider. increase the distance the hole is from the top to add more ruffle to the top of the bag. Cut more or less off the corners to change the shape of the bottom.


I was able to make all these bags (and eat a relaxing lunch) during one of my son’s naps. I think you’ll find these bags are quick and addictive.


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Heirloom Toddler Chair: Springs and Foam

Since my mom was in town visiting, we decided to tackle Cam’s chair project. It’s been sitting in the garage, naked, for quite some time, and I know that Cam will use and love it if it were only finished and in the house. I got some quotes for having a professional recover it, but it would be around $400, at the cheapest! YIKES! We decided to do it ourselves.

The springs were a bit loose, so we decided to start with that.


This picture cracks me up. The caption should be “SPROING!”


We removed the old jute strapping from the chair bottom in order to retie the springs and replace the strapping. Here’s a “before” picture ----->


It was easy enough, but we had to stitch the springs down as we went, otherwise the weave would have been too tight to get to them. So we used a pneumatic nailer with staples to start attaching the strapping, stitched a spring, stapled some more, etc…


Once the stapling was done, I carefully stitched down the last of the springs with a curved needle. The springs are back in place and ready for love.

Next up: Foam!

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We measured and cut 2” and 1” foam, depending on the location. The arms have 1”, seat 5” total, and back 3” total…it’s a Poofy chair! I purchased all of the supplies from DIY Upholstery Supply. They have everything you can think of for upholstery projects, at reasonable prices, PLUS they have a good amount of video tutorials, which helped me decide what supplies to order.

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A few yards of old fabric I had laying around were used to hold down the under layers of foam and then dacron (more on that later). Cam began crawling around on the chair immediately.


Happy mom and happy kiddo! Next steps coming soon.


Monday, July 26, 2010

Car Caddy Part 3

005It seems to be birthday season. This one is for our friend V’s kid. I used the same design I did for my nephew, the Cozy Car Caddy by homemade by jill. This time I made a window with a piece of clear vinyl and print out a picture of V’s family on some printable paper I made to go under the vinyl. I hope that she likes as much as I do.



Saturday, July 24, 2010

Anniversary curtains


Admittedly, this is not the worlds sexiest anniversary gift but my wonderful husband is a gamer and grandma’s polyester curtains which were left to us by the previous owner did absolutely nothing to to prevent the glare on his computer screen. He asked me to make or find some black out curtains for his study. Since we just moved we are a little cash poor so I knew I wanted to make them and do it on a budget. I went with Haley to this awesome discount upholstery fabric place to find fabric to cover Cam’s chair and I found the circle fabric. I thought it was manly enough for the study but was also in colors that I thought my husband would like. I bought 3 yards of it. I also got some curtain rings with clips on clearance and some budget blackout lining.

010To make the curtain I cut the the drapery fabric 8 inches longer than I wanted my curtain to be. I folded and ironed a 1 inch width twice on each side of the curtain. I did the same on the top and bottom of the curtain with 2 inch folds. Then I cut the black out fabric to be the same size as the folded fabric. I slipped the blackout fabric under the folds and pinned all the way around the curtain

I then sewed around the curtain lining up the left side of my pressure foot with the fold of the fabric. I used a denim needle (after I broke a my normal 80/12).

I didn’t really like the rings that came with my clearance clips so I took off the clip part and wired it to the rings that came with the original curtain. They matched the rod much better than the satin nickel rings I bought.

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It took 7 rings per curtain spaced roughly 8 inches apart.

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I’m really happy with these. They were quick and easy completely darken the room. Perfect for my gaming guy.


Happy anniversary to my dear husband. You have made the last four years amazing and given me the most wonderful family. I love you and can’t wait to spend the next 4 years with you.


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Owl Stuffies Tutorial

Ever since I made my son’s Halloween costume I’ve been having a lot of fun sketching and playing with the idea of making an owl stuffie. So when my mom commissioned me to make a stuffed animal as a present for a friend’s new baby I knew exactly what I wanted to make.006
This Pattern is to make a small owl stuffie (like the aqua one above) This pattern is not for commercial use or monetary gain

Owl tutorial 1


  • 3 coordinating fabrics (one of them should be a solid color).
  • a small amount of orange felt for the beak
  • Polyfill
  • Scissors
  • Fabric paint or felt for the eyes
  • Sewing machine
  • Needle and thread
  • Pattern below

Owl tutorial pattern
Open this image in a new tab and print at full size. You will want to print 3 copies. Cut out the Face and Wing from the same copy. Cut the piece as seen below.
Owl tutorial pattern back Owl tutorial pattern Face Owl tutorial pattern wing Owl tutorial pattern belly
Cut 1 in Main color
Cut 1 in Main color
Cut 2 in main color and 2 in Tail color
Cut 1 in Belly color
Once you have all your pieces cut out it you are ready to start sewing with the wings.
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The fabric that I choose for my main color came from an old pair of pants and was a heavier weight than the cotton quilting fabrics that I picked for my belly and tail colors. So I wanted to add a little weight to the lower wings. To do this I cut a piece of felt using the wing pattern but did not place along a fold. Then I folded the tail colored wing in half with right sides touching and pinned the felt to the outside (it should be touching a wrong-side).  Fold the top wing (main color) in half right sides together. Sew along the curve with a 1/4 inch seam allowance. Leave the top of the wing open. If you choose heavier weight fabric the felt is unnecessary.
After you sew the wings trim the felt as close as possible to the seam and clip your fabric along the curves. Then turn the wings right sides out and iron them flat.
Owl tutorial 15The next step is to join the belly wings and face pieces to make the front of the owl. To do this you should place the wings on the right side of the belly piece at an angle with the curved part facing inwards. The wing piece that is the main color goes on top. The straight edge of the wing should be about 3/4 inch from the corners of the belly piece. Once you are satisfied with the placement of the wings place the face piece on top with the right side facing the right side of the belly piece. Pin in place and sew the straight edges together with a 1/2 inch seam allowance.  Owl tutorial 16

Owl tutorial 17Afterwards you can trim the excess wing to even up the seam.

Owl tutorial 18Then lift up the face piece and iron it flat 
Finish the front by sewing on the beak putting the seam in the gutter between the wings and then adding eyes. For this tutorial I did freezer paper stencils for the eyes but you could also do appliqué or even buttons if the receive is past the choking hazard stage.
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Putting on the tail piece is most challenging part of this project. Start with the front. After pinning the wings so they are out of the way pin the center of the  curve of the tail piece to the center of the bottom of the front. Work from the center out lining up the edges as you pin. Sew this curve with a 1/2 inch seam allowance.
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Pinning the backside is also a challenge. Again start at the center and pin so that the edges line up. You are pinning a concave curve to a convex one so take your time and be patient. The carefully sew around with a 1/2 inch seam allowance. DON’T FORGET to leave an opening to turn it right side out.
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Owl tutorial 29I take the pins out of the wings thru the opening to save myself some pinpricks then turn it right side out. Stuff it and then sew up the opening and enjoy your super cute owl stuffie or make a whole adorable parliament.
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If you make an owl stuffie we would love to see it. Please add it to our flickr group so we can all enjoy it.