Easy Throw

Happy Friday, lovelies! I hope you had a fantastic week.

You may have noticed I’ve been MIA here for a little while, and it’s not that I haven’t been sewing but rather I’m making gifts for people and, well, posting them on my blog would ruin the surprise so I’ve been holding off.

Today, though, I have a very quick and easy tutorial for you. Actually, a pretty great gift idea with just a very small time commitment.

As you know I’ve been de-stashing my sewing room for some time now. I am slowly (but surely!) making my way through many, many meters of fabric that have been sitting uncut for ages. For today’s tutorial I used a heavy, knit chevron print from the stash. I paired it with a bargain bin mustard colored fleece I found at our local Fabricville.

In my stash I had exactly 2 meters of the chevron fabric so it was pretty much fate when I came across exactly 2 meters of this fleece. You will see from the “tag”, I snagged the fleece for $7.50 which is a total steal!

My work colleague and I frequently get cold at the office so I made matching lap quilts. These are totally functional and definitely cute.

Here are the materials you will need for this project:

  • 1 meter of fabric for top of quilt
  • 1 meter of fabric for underside of quilt

Pretty simple, right?

To start I simply cut 1 meter each of the chevron and fleece. I took the chevron fabric and squared it up using a ruler and cutting wheel. Then I laid the fabric (right  side down) on the floor, taped it in place at the corners, and laid the fleece over top, with right side facing up. So now I have the fabric laid flat with wrong sides together.

I carefully trimmed the fleece so it rested 3″ inside the edge of the chevron. I wanted a nice, wide binding around the blanket. If you would prefer something more narrow, I would go with 2″.

I went along the edge of the blanket, folding the chevron over the raw edge of the fleece, then tucking the fold in a second time so no raw edges were exposed.

I used a zig zag stitch for the perimeter of the blanket. Annnnd done!

Because there is no batting in the middle of the two fabrics there’s no need to quilt it down or do anything fancy.

This is *literally* a project that can be done in 30 minutes.

Thanks for stopping by today!

Heather

DIY Memory Quilt

Recently I had the tremendous pleasure of making a memory quilt for a baby who will be arriving in just a couple of short months. The quilt is made in memory of the grandmother of the soon-to-arrive baby, using her scarves, tshirts and pyjamas.

I had pondered the design of this quilt for quite some time. I came up with an elephant puffing water out of its trunk, with the water droplets made from pieces of her clothes, and a patchwork border.

I set out to get fabric for the elephant and the main body of the quilt. I headed down to The Fabric Merchant and met with Shelley to discuss my project. We planned out the colors, the border, the design, etc. It’s so good to bounce ideas off a really experienced quilter. An hour later I emerged with the supplies I needed.

I planned out the size of the quilt and drew up a rough draft of how it would look. I decided to do 3X3 (unfinished) squares of fabric to form the border. One challenge with this quilt is the variety of fabrics I had to work with – cotton for the body of the quilt, flannel on the back, but then there was everything from polyester to jersey to silk for the border and water droplets. I stabilized most of the fabric before sewing, just to save myself a headache.

I printed a silhouette of an elephant and cut it out of cotton, with applique paper for the backing. Then I drew out the water droplets and cut those out of the memory fabric, with applique paper on back as well.

I went with color coordinated thread for the applique in this case. Instead of my typical applique stitch I chose a tight zigzag stitch, as this blanket will probably be washed frequently and I want the design to hold up over time.

I stitched the elephant in place and then started adding the water droplets. Of course attaching them to the quilt with the iron was tough because, again, each fabric was a different weight and composition, and I was constantly changing settings on my iron to avoid scorching the pieces.

The applique took about 1 hour in total, so it went by pretty quickly.

Once the applique was done I added a black border to the blanket before stitching the colored border in place.

I finished the quilt with a black binding.

After I took this photo I quilted this down a bit with some white hearts on the white space to give this a bit more durability.

This project was so fun to design and create, and I would absolutely love to take on more keepsake projects down the road.

I hope you enjoyed this post today! Thanks for stopping by.

Heather

DIY Reading Pillow

My child’s bedtime is precious. Once 7 o’clock hits, without a doubt, it’s been a long day for all of us. He’s tired, we’re tired, and he’s snuggly, which is not the case for the other 23 hours of the day.

Before his nightly bath we always read books as a way to help him wind down. Like most parents, I have a very favorite book to read before bedtime. “I’d Know You Anywhere, My Love” by Nancy Tillman is the kind of book that just resonates with me. We started reading that to him when he was just a few weeks old and he has read it just about daily ever since.

I love giving books as gifts for babies and kids. Today’s tutorial is for a reading pillow – a pillow you can keep on a rocking chair, in a playroom, on a child’s bed, you name it. It has a little pocket to hold that very special bedtime book, and it’s a gift that is really easy to personalize.

Materials needed for this tutorial:

  • Cotton fabric
  • 2 contrasting cotton fabrics
  • Applique paper (Heat’N Bond Lite)
  • Stuffing

I start by cutting two 17″ squares of fabric. Iron, if needed. Out of your first contrasting fabric cut a rectangle 17″ wide X 13″ long.

For the applique, you can really use any design. I typically applique the child’s name or an initial on the pillows pocket, but you can use any design you like.

I usually make a sheet of applique cotton (attach the Heat’N Bond Lite per instructions on the package). Cut out your design.

Take the first contrasting fabric and press with a hot iron. Lay the fabric out (17″ wide). Fold down the top of the fabric, about 1/2″; press. Fold down again the same amount, press. Using your sewing machine, sew along the folded section. Press.

Applique your design onto the pocket. A little tip: Don’t applique anything too close to the edge of the fabric or a corner. When the pillow is stuffed you want the design to be on the flattest part of the pillow, not on the curved edge.

Next you will lay out 1 of the 17″ squares flat, right side facing up. Lay the pocket you’ve just sewn on top of the fabric, lining up the bottom and side edges. Then lay the other 17″ square on top of the pocket, right side facing down.

Pinning along the edges, leave an opening at the top of the pillow about 4- 5 inches long. You will need to leave this opening so you can turn the pillowcase right side out and stuff the pillow.

Stitch along the edge, using a 1/2″ seam allowance. Turn the pillowcase right side out. Stuff the pillow, starting with each of the corners. I find filling the corners before you fill the rest of the pillow saves time in the long run.

Once it’s stuffed, add a bit of extra stuffing inside the open edge. Pin. Stitch by hand.

Once you’ve finished stitching, put a sweet book in the pillow and it’s ready to gift!

This is another one I did a few months back.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial! This pillow takes about an hour to make and it’s a very sweet gift for your favorite bookworm!

Heather

An Apron Pattern to Love

Friends, it has been TOO long since my last post. About 6 weeks ago I returned to work following a 14 month maternity leave. My husband was travelling for work and life has been nothing short of hectic.

I do have a big project on the go right now, but tonight I want to talk a bit about my very favorite apron pattern.

Aprons are my go-to gift for housewarming parties, bridal showers, Christmas and birthdays. I love gifting personalized items, and aprons are a fun and functional gift to give or receive. For bridal showers I often embroider the bride’s new last name (if applicable) onto the apron. I make aprons out of cotton or light/medium weight denim fabrics, and I add lace or ribbon to the pocket to make it stand out a bit.

My go-to pattern is by Simplicity and it’s #2555. This pattern comes in ladies and misses, and you can choose between a gathered skirt apron or a flat front apron. The apron is pretty much a blank slate – you can add in details but otherwise it’s very plain. It’s a solid pattern that allows you to use your imagination. I should note as well that this pattern makes an adjustable apron, which I love because if you have your hair done you don’t have to pull a tight apron strap over your head – just tug down on the apron bib and the neck opening becomes longer.

I estimate that I’ve made this pattern over 40 times. The instructions are clear, the design is beautiful, and the finished product is fantastic. I’ve made the gathered apron and the flat front apron, but the gathered is a pain so I just stick with the flat front now.

Over the years I’ve tailored the pattern to include extra detail around the top and the tail. I’ve used contrasting fabric for those pieces, as well as the pocket and tie. I typically make this with just 1 pocket but I have made it with 2 as well.

So for this apron I added a 6 inch section along the bottom of a contrasting fabric, and a roughly 2 inch (finished) section along the top. I used contrasting fabric for the tie and the pocket. A little lace detail finished the pocket, and now this is ready for gifting! This is made in size Medium.

This version was from Christmas 2017. I used a fabric with red and plaid deer for the body of the apron, and the trim is done from a complimentary fabric with small blue deer heads, snowflakes and trees. Again, I used it for the top section, bottom, ties and pocket. I didn’t use any ribbon or lace on the pocket for this apron, mostly because I felt the fabric was lively enough. This is made in size Large.

This is the basic pattern without any add-ons. The fabric shown here is from my stash and it really just needed to be put to good use. I think it’s perfect for an apron. Not sure what else I had in mind when I picked it up….story of my life! This is also a size Large.

I love the size of this apron and the fact that it’s adjustable just makes it perfect! No more messing up your hair when it’s time to take the apron off. Perfect if you’re having company for dinner.

In terms of sizing, the small is true to size, medium is definitely suitable for up to size 10 or 12, in my opinion. The large is generous, and the XL is as well.

I’ve made some more decorative aprons and some child-size aprons but tonight I really just wanted to talk a bit about Simplicity 2555 as it’s my go-to.

You could dress this up even further with a very decorative pocket, or with more pockets! If you’re really feeling adventurous perhaps a little applique! In fact, in a future post I hope to do an apron with teacup applique.

Thanks for checking out my post!

Heather

Baby Blankets

My most frequent sewing project is, without a doubt, baby blankets. All different shapes, colors, themes, sizes. It’s my favorite gift to give at a baby shower, and you can pretty much rest assured the receiver won’t get a duplicate.

Whether you’re doing tummy time, reading books on the couch or heading outside for a picnic, baby blankets are sure to get used.

Recently I’ve had the pleasure of making a bunch of blankets, so tonight I will walk you through my process. There are plenty of standard sizes for blankets, but you can absolutely use your imagination when planning out your blanket.

The first blanket was made for a new baby in my very extended family, I will say. A beautiful little girl named Isabelle. I actually used fabric from my stash (still working away at it…….) and I was really happy with it.

Previously I had used these exact fabrics to make Big Sis and Little Sis blankets for a good friend of mine. I made a mini version of that quilt for Isabelle.

I started by drawing out a pattern. I cut 10 6X6″ blocks for the top and bottom of the quilt. I cut 2 30X4″ pieces for the long rectangular sections. Then I cut 4 15X8 pieces for the center. I knew that once I joined the pieces I could trim the uneven edges caused by the seam allowances. Sometimes I am more precise, but this time I didn’t feel the need to be.

I used a 1/4″ seam allowance and joined the blocks across each row. Once each row was formed, I joined them horizontally to form the blanket.

It came together quite quickly as there weren’t that many pieces. This is a photo of the quilt top once I appliqued the elephant and her name.

I gave the fabric a good press with a hot iron here to flatten out the seams.

I picked out cotton batting for the centre of the quilt and a soft minky for the backside. Once I put the quilt together with right sides facing out and the batting in the middle, I started pinning the 3 pieces together. Lots and lots and lots of pins. The next step is to quit down the fabric. This essentially means you will sew all 3 pieces together in some pattern, which will help the blanket keep its shape over time as it gets washed more and more.

I quilted down along each seam on the quilt, both sides of the seam in fact. So I essentially made railroad tracks right on top of each seam. This part takes a bit of time but really does add to the blanket.

Once the quilting down was complete, I made the binding for the edge of the quilt. I cut 2.5″ wide strips of cotton and used this technique to join it to the quilt.

Some people hand sew the binding in place but I don’t typically do that. I actually don’t enjoy hand sewing, and the time commitment is significant.

Voila! A personalized gift that will get used over and over and over and over…..

The next blanket was quite simple and was made for a customer. She gave me permission to share this project with you.

The customer had seen fabric by Amy Butler called Bliss Bouquet (in Teal) and fell in love. She wanted a baby blanket made for her soon-to-be-arriving baby girl. She wanted a basic blanket with minky on the back.

This fabric is very difficult to get, but I was fortunate enough to find it at The Fabric Merchant here in St. John’s, NL. Don’t even get me started on how much I love this store…

I picked up a slightly cream colored minky fabric and got sewing. She wanted a blanket that was 28X33″.

I started by ironing the cotton Amy Butler fabric. I cut out a rectangle that was 32X37, to ensure I had plenty for a nice folded edge over the minky.

I cut the minky and the cotton batting to 28X33.

I laid out the pieces on my floor and smoothed out any wrinkles.

Next I went around the edge of the blanket, folding down the printed cotton twice, and pinning in place in preparation for sewing.

I zig zag stitched around the blanket and it was done!

This blanket is so soft and pretty, and took about an hour to make.

There are many variations of baby blankets and they really do make wonderful gifts. You can get really creative and mix colors and prints, and you never have to do the same blanket twice.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post. Thanks for stopping by today!

Heather

DIY Cloth Napkins

For years I have wanted to have the kind of house where guests walk in and see a beautiful dining table, all dressed with coordinating plates, cutlery, placemats and napkins. A design that looks stylish yet functional.

Our dining table often looks like a storage facility, housing books, toys, notepads, laptops and receipts.

I’ve decided we will never be people who always have their table “dressed”, and that’s okay, but wouldn’t it be nice if you could quickly set up your table for company and have it look put together? That was my mission over the last 12 months. But could I find placemats, napkins and napkin rings that I liked? Not a chance.

On a recent trip to Bed, Bath & Beyond I found placemats and napkin rings that I quite like, but the thought of spending a lot of money on cloth napkins just didn’t thrill me. We have 9 settings in our house so with most store-bought napkins ranging from $4- $12, I decided I should DIY it.

I looked up standard napkin sizes and it looks like anywhere from 12″ to 16″ is where I wanted to be.

I went to Fabricville and found some cute, summery fabric on clearance. I chose this fabric because it’s the same on both sides. As much as I love working with cotton, printed cotton always has a “wrong” side and it usually isn’t very pretty. This fabric almost feels a bit gauzy, and it has a little bit of stretch to it.

I came home and put this fabric through the washer (hot water) and dryer. If these are going to shrink, I want them to shrink now. And I figure cloth napkins are something I will probably need to wash in hot water because of the potential for stains, mostly from tacos.

I decided to go for 14″ napkins, so I started out by pressing my uncut fabric with the iron to get out any wrinkles. Because this fabric is striped, I needed to cut fairly straight along the stripes. I used my rotary cutter and cutting mat for this, but you can use scissors and a tape measure/ruler as well.

If you’re using scissors, an easy way to do this is to cut out a piece of cardboard in the proper dimension, and lay the cardboard on top of your fabric. Outline it with a pen or a Sharpie. Do that for each napkin, then remove the cardboard and simply cut out.

I wanted a nice, crisp sewn edge for these napkins so I actually cut 16″X16″ squares to account for a 1″ seam allowance.

Once cut, I folded in the edge 1″ all the way around, pinning as I went. I pressed the crease with a hot iron and let the fabric cool.

Once cooled, I took out the pins and tucked in the seam allowance so no raw edge was exposed. I pinned in place.

As this fabric does have stretch, I was sure not to stretch as I pinned. Doing so would leave the edges of the napkin “wavy” and that’s not the look I was going for.

I used a straight stitch and stitched near the crease, all the way around. Clipped the threads and pressed, once again, with a hot iron. I used the steam setting this time to try to get the edges nice and crisp.

Overall these turned out to be as easy as I expected, and probably even cuter!

Here they are against two different mats, with different rings. Quite easy to dress up or down. Even better, I’m sure, folded up in a picnic basket.

My personal favorite…………

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial! The napkins, as I mentioned, were made from fabric on clearance, so I was able to do all 9 for $13. Quite a steal, if you ask me. Easy, affordable napkins that you can make for every season or occasion.

Thanks for following along today!

Heather

DIY Inexpensive Summer Wreath

If you are currently in Newfoundland you may hate me a bit for posting this “summer wreath” as summer is totally MIA in these parts. Some of our beautiful province got snow last night. Before you feel the need to check your calendar, lovelies, it’s June 26th.

Last night I decided to make a wreath for our front door. I have wreaths on many doors in our house, and I change them out pretty frequently, so now I have a new one in the rotation. The wreath we had up was red and gold and simply looked too Christmasey.

A couple of years ago Michael’s had these beautiful wooden wreaths on sale for $4.99 each. I think regular price was around $20 at the time. I stocked up! I bought 8 of them. This one was a bit of an ulgy duckling wreath, with an irregular shape, so it ended up not being used. Until now, that is.

Last week at Michael’s I went to the clearance section where they have all of their florals at a pretty substantial discount. I think it was 60% off. I picked up a couple of large flowers, some greenery (not from the clearance section) and a few “filler” flowers and buds.

The materials you will need for this tutorial are:

  • Wreath
  • Flowers
  • Glue gun
  • Glue sticks
  • Wire cutter (maybe!)

To start I removed all of the stems from the flowers and buds. Most just pull off quite easily but some do require wire cutters.

When pulling the flower off the stem, do so very gently so you don’t separate the individual petals. If you can’t pull it off cleanly like in this photo (with some stem attached), opt for wire cutters.

I had a vision of having the dangling greenery coming from the top of the wreath, so I started there. Most times I lay out all flowers on the wreath before I start gluing, but in this case there weren’t a lot of options for the hanging greenery so I went for it.

Though it needed to be secured to the wreath, I wanted the greenery to sway a little in the wind so I weaved the stem back through some of the wooden frame and glued that in place. Then glued just 3 of the long strands down along the side of the wreath, allowing the rest to have lots of movement.

Next I pulled the leaves off of the flower stems and glued them along the top. I knew I was going to place my flowers at the top of the wreath and I do find having some leaves there can set a nice little backdrop for the flowers.

So you’re gluing the stems in place but trying not to glue the actual leaves too much because you do want them to look a little natural, not plastered in place.

From there I began adding flowers, and kept adding flowers and buds until I was happy with the result. I didn’t use all of the materials in the end.

As you’re adding, hang the wreath up a time or two to ensure things are hanging properly and not “sagging” away from the wreath. Taking opportunities to step back along the way to ensure you’re on the right path will give you a better shot at being pleased with your final product.

I wouldn’t dare hang this on my front door last night because, well, it’s so cold and rainy I didn’t want to OPEN the door.

This is a really simple tutorial that can be made pretty inexpensively, but it really does give your front door a quick facelift.

Thanks for checking out my post today.

Heather

DIY Seashell Photo Frame

My husband makes fun of me (playfully, of course) for collecting seashells and rocks from pretty much anywhere we visit. I bring them home thinking, “I will do something crafty with them some day!” and sometimes I actually do….

Well recently we took our first family vacation to Florida and we were able to collect a bunch of beautiful shells from a day spent at the beach.

For Father’s Day I decided to put those shells to use.

Materials needed for this project:

  • Wooden frame
  • Glue gun
  • Glue sticks
  • Shells (cleaned)
  • Photo

I picked up a sweet little 4X6 frame from Michael’s. I cleaned the frame to make sure it was free of dust and debris, so the hot glue would stick properly.

Heated up my glue gun and got started right away. This project took 15 minutes in total.

I laid out shells on the frame to see where I felt each one should go. Then I kept adding shells until I was satisfied with the result. I found it helpful to lay out the larger shells first and then fill in empty spaces with small shells.

On our trip we kept taking note of how many shells had little round holes in them, so I knew I wanted to use a few of those for sure.

To glue, I simply filled the underside of each shell with hot glue, and placed on the frame. Work quickly, though, as hot glue does tend to dry/harden faster than regular glue.

The frame came with the writing on it, however (if you’re really adventurous) you could totally wood burn some text into it as well.

I stuck a cute picture (of him with the baby) from our trip into the frame, and it made a perfect Father’s Day gift.

This would be an excellent gift for a birthday or Christmas as well.

Thanks for checking out my post.

Heather

Rainy Day Kids Craft

Finding a way to enjoy a rainy day is good for the soul, and we’ve been having LOTS of rainy days here in St. John’s lately. As parents we struggle sometimes to entertain kids when the weather prevents us from getting outside.

Today’s post is a craft idea that is perfect for kids, say, ages 3+, but also totally fun for adults!

Materials needed for this project:

  • A white (or light colored) cotton pillowcase
  • A permanent black Sharpie
  • A pack of Crayola crayons
  • Wax paper
  • An iron & ironing board
  • A piece of cardboard that fits inside your pillowcase
  • A coloring book/sheet (optional)

To start, put the piece of cardboard in the pillowcase. If you don’t do this, your Sharpie will leak through to the other side. The cardboard also makes the coloring a little easier.

You can either trace or freehand a design. Trace/draw with your Sharpie. It may be best to have an adult do this part.

Once the design is drawn, it’s coloring time!

Once the design is colored, heat up your iron using the Cotton setting. No steam. Remove the cardboard from inside the pillowcase. Take your wax paper and place the waxy side on the design. You will iron on the non-wax side which will cause the wax to melt onto your design, sealing in the crayon.

If you aren’t sure which side of the paper is wax, scratch each side with your fingernail a little. The wax side will turn white.

These pillowcases can be washed and the crayon will fade a bit over time but generally it does hold up quite well!

I have made these for friends over the years as gifts, particularly one friend who moved away from home for university. I put it in her suitcase before she left, and when she arrived in her dorm room she was delighted to have a little something from home.

Happy crafting!

Heather

Brag Post – My Incredible Mama

My mom taught me to sew when I was just 4 years old, as incredible as that is to believe. I started with hair scrunchies and pillows for my Barbies, and eventually moved on to quilts and clothing. I like to think I inherited her creativity, and it’s a HUGE part of who we both are.

In retirement she is finding lots of ways to keep herself busy, but one of her current projects I thought was worth sharing today.

I have a young niece who adores Barbies and my mom simply loves making clothes to fit her Barbies, just like she did for me when I was a kid. She comes up with her own designs and embellishments and creates stunning little pieces.

She recently opened an Etsy shop of her own and her shop name is “DreamingAboutCrafts”, not surprisingly.

If you’re looking for a cute birthday gift for a Barbie loving child in your life, check out her store for sure. She’s always whipping up new outfits and they are made with the utmost quality and care.

https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/DreamingAboutCrafts?ref=l2-shopheader-name

Happy Thursday!

Heather