Thursday, August 26, 2010

Making Bias Tape

046I found out about the Singer Bias tape maker on Prudent Baby and thought I must have one, but when I saw the cost and knew it was out of my budget. Later, while discussing with Haley how making bias tape seems like an impossibly tedious job, she surprised me by saying she had a bias tape maker that I could borrow. Fully expecting some complicated gadget I was really confused when she handed me this simple metal funnel. I think I asked “where is the rest of it?” and she said “well, you’ll need an iron.”
Overall, I found the Clover bias tape maker really easy to use and certainly more economical. All you have to do is feed your fabric strip through the large end of the funnel and then iron it as it comes out the other end. It was simple but a little slow. It probably took about 3 hours to make all that you see in the photo, though that time does include cutting and sewing the strips.
I think I would still like to try out Singer’s version. I’ve been very happy with so many of their other product (in fact, I just bought one of their sewing machines last week, more on that later) But for now I’ll take the slow road.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

How to link to your blog

I Am Momma - Hear Me RoarToday at I am Momma, Cheri did a great post how to make your blog grow. I was surprised to hear that she had only started her blog in February. She has done a lot with her blog and has over 3000 subscribers. Dare I dream that big.

Anyway this post had some great tips. Some that I immediately implemented others that will take some practice. But I thought I might add a tip of my own.

Cheri points out that one way to gain attention is to leave thoughtful and sincere comments. That is a suggestion that I have heard before. I’ve been doing it a lot more now that Google reader allows you to go directly to the source. I often add a link back to my blog on these comment especially if I made something using someone else’s tutorial. To do that you have to know a little HTML or have a nerd for a husband. Once my husband gave me the code I saved it in a notepad doc and now whenever I need it I just Copy and Paste it into my comments.

Here is what you need to leave a link:

<a href="your website ">text to display</a>

Of course, you would replace the orange text with your information. For example the text I copy and paste is

<a href=" ">Hammer & Thread</a>

Or if I’m linking to a specific post I’d write:

I made that, check it out <a href="">here</a>

But it only displays: I made that, check it out here

So that’s my tip, how about some practice. Leave me a comment with a link to your blog. I promise to check it out and leave you some comment love too.


Monday, August 23, 2010

Easy Wallet Repair

003The other day I left my wallet at Joann’s. When I realized it a few hours later I called them and was told that it was in their safe. When I got there to pick it up the manager ask me a security question that only I would know. “What do you use as a zipper pull?”

I’ve had this wallet for a while. I found it at Kohls and it had just the right number of card holders and pockets.  I was really mad when the strap for my zipper fell off. This is not the first wallet this has happened to and in the past I always just replaced it. This time I thought, wait, I’m crafty, I can fix this.

You know the small kind of measuring tape that comes in a little disk and has a button that retracts it. I used some of the guts of one to make our blog header and I had plenty of it left over. I cut off a six inch piece, folded it in half, fed it through the metal D-ring on the zipper, and stitched it in place. I love how simple and unique it is.


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Custom Ipod Case

Since the hubby and I are preparing for our annual camping trip in the Rocky Mountains, I haven’t been doing a lot of crafting in the past couple weeks. However, he’s been asking for a carry case for his Ipods and charging cord for awhile now…this was a perfect opportunity to get it done. Whadya think?



The case holds one large and one small Ipod as well as the charging cord. The flap keeps them from sliding out the top, when closed. I had all the materials laying around. The outside is black faux leather, the pocket is duck cloth and the lining and flap are cotton. I bound all the edges with bias tape. Simple, cheap and he loves it!

See you in 2 weeks! Colorado, here we come!!


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Banana Blueberry muffins

This weekend I made a batch of these and my husband declared them to be the best muffin I’ve ever made. Since they were my own creation I thought I would share them with you.
  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 Tbs melted shortening.
  • 3 large overripe bananas mashed
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup blueberries

Combine the flour, baking soda and powder in a medium sized bowl. In a second medium sized bowl mix the sugar, shortening, egg and banana until uniform. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mold together until just moistened. Gently fold in the blueberries.
If you fill the muffin tins 2/3 of the way you can get a dozen muffins out of this recipe. But I like to fill them all the way up which gives me only 8 of them.
Bake them for 25 to 30 minutes at 350 degrees.
Let me know if you give them a try. Next time I’m going to have to double it up. My husband and son couldn’t get enough of them.

Update: Haley gave these a try and noticed that the batter was pretty thick. It is a pretty thick batter. She added a 1/4 cup of milk (I would have thrown in another banana). They still came out great.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Thread Catcher Tutorial
















I really love my serger but it does have a small problem. The massive amount of shred and thread makes me a little crazy. So today I’m going to show you how I made my thread catcherThread catcher tutorial 001


  • Fat Quarter of fabric for the outside of the bag 
  • Lining
  • Boning
  • Large Eyelets.
  • Screws or Hooks



Cut two squares from your main fabric of side length 13 and 5 inches. Cut a 12X13 inch rectangle from the lining fabric.  Fold the large square with right sides together sew it into a tube. Fold the lining so that the 12 inch edges meet and sew another tube. Iron your seams flat.

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Iron a 1/2 inch fold on a pair of opposite edges of the small square. Sew the folds down, and iron it in half so that the unfinished edges meet.  Thread catcher tutorial 006

Turn the tube of the main fabric right side out and insert it inside the lining tube. The Liner tube is shorter so just line up the seams and one set of edges. Sandwich the smaller piece so that the raw edges line up with the raw edges of both tubes, centering it with the seam.Thread catcher tutorial 011

Pull your lining off the main fabric so that you have one long tube. Iron it flat. Then tuck the lining inside and line up the raw edges. About a 1/2 inch of the main color fabric will be inside the tube. Iron the fold at the opening.

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Cut a length of boning a little longer than the circumference of the opening. This should be roughly 25 inches long. Make it into a hoop. I did this by siding the plastic about an inch out of the casing and then inserting that plastic length into the opposite edge of the casing. Place the boning hoop between the lining and outer fabric and slide it all the way up to the folded edge. Then sew the boning in place as shown.

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Turn the bag inside out and slide the lining up to expose the wrong side of the main fabric. (If you don’t care about having raw edges in the interior don’t slide up the lining and you’ll cut a few step out of the process.) Center your seam and sew the opening closed.

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I did the bottom corners the same way that I did in the 20-min gift bag tutorial – Fold the corner so that it is a triangle with the seam centered. Line up your ruler to be perpendicular to the seam and cut off a triangle with a height of 1.5 inches as shown.  Thread catcher tutorial 026

Sew this closed and repeat for the other corner. 

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If you sewed your lining in the last section then skip down to the eyelets.  Otherwise pull the lining up, tucking the main fabric out of the way. Center the seam and then sew the opening closed with a 1/4 in seam allowance. Fold the edge over a 1/4 inch twice and sew it down. Then fold your triangle corners again but this time don’t cut it. Push your main fabric back up into the corners. You can’t see it from the picture but my stitching for the triangles is also going through the main fabric. This will hold the lining in place.

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To finish off your lining pull the corners towards each other and whip stitch in place.







Turn the bag right side out and admire the bottom, inside and out.

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Lastly I added some large eyelets to the corners of the flaps. I used this to permanently mount to my table with screws.  Alternately you could put hooks in the bottom of the table so and hang it from that.

Thread catcher tutorial 041

My machines are currently on a table that has already been cycled through two of my friends. I’m probably the last owner so I didn’t mind that drilled some screws directly into it. I placed my serger at the edge of the table and now all the scraps just fall directly into the bag.


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Ruffle Butt Onesies

I’m going to a baby shower for a new baby girl. Since I started sewing all my friends had little boys so I jumped at the chance to make these.


When my husband walked in on me squealing with glee after finishing the first one he knew this is what I’d be making all the time if we’d had a little girl. I used this tutorial created by Char @ Crap I've Made. The directions were really easy to follow and the only modification I made was to add an extra ruffle on the green one. I think it made it look really full.


I also embellished the front of both of the onesies. I added a ruffle to the white one and a strawberry appliqué to the green one (the ruffles are a strawberry fabric) I even learned how to do some French knots fro the strawberry seeds. I know that I’ve learned to do them a dozen times but I always have to look it up. I’m really happy with how they turned out. Thanks, Char for the great tutorial!


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Heirloom Toddler Chair: Finished!

Thanks to a long visit by my mom, Cam’s chair is finished! When last we left the chair, it was completely padded in foam. The next step was to add a layer of 3/4” dacron (which is similar to quilt batting), covered by more ugly fabric and then the final fabric (a luscious blue veloury cloth that I LOVE!)

So here goes:
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The arms were first. Dacron, ugly fabric, then yummy blue wrapped all the way around and stapled.

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Time for a Cam-test!

Next, the seat. Dacron, more ugly fabric, then blue.

The original chair had two rows of decorative piping along the front, giving a “cushion” look. We replicated that look.

The first row of piping and front panel (shown above) were machine stitched because there was nothing behind them to staple to (just fluff). The second row (shown below) was stapled. We added a small piece of dacron under each panel for poofiness (yes, that’s a word). The cardboard strip makes a nice sharp line when the fabric is folded over.
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The seat back was next. It also had piping and was a bit more difficult to figure. We used the original back piece as a pattern and modified it to fit our new fluffier chair. After some trial and error, we got a perfect fit.

Next up, pleating. There were pleats on the top back corners and the arm fronts. Pretty simple.
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The chair sides needed a layer of dacron as well, to fill in the cavity and add structure.
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The arm fronts had a flat cover that’s trimmed with decorative upholstery nails. Using the old arm cover as a pattern, we cut the covers, adding 1/2” to turn under. We decided to add a strip of fuse-a-shade (a thick iron-on interfacing) which gave the piece some stiffness. We then clipped the curves and ironed under a 1/2”, using cheese cloth. A small piece of dacron was added, again for poofiness. All that’s left was to hammer in the nails. WOW, we were amazed with how good it looked!


The back cover was done in the exact same manner as the arm fronts. Layer of dacron, cover with interfacing, nailheads.
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Remember what it looked like before? From trash to treasure! This chair has a new life. Cam already loves it and uses it daily. Plus, we saved a ton of cash…to the tune of $600!