Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The Plush Pouf

I've seen poufs (floor cushions) popping up everywhere! Want to make one? I designed a pattern several years ago, then rewrote it for Shannon Fabrics (June 2013) - and made it out of their Cuddle fabric. It's about 17" tall with a 28" diameter and is filled with polystyrene beads.

What makes this pouf special? I created an inner pouf with a zippered closure so you can refill it with beads when it deflates a bit (which it will). And the outer pouf is more like a slip cover that you can change whenever you want!

I've written about it - part one, part two, and smaller foot stool

Here's my friend's cat on the smaller foot stool. I made this for her - her birthday is Flag Day!
And here's a smaller foot stool that is on my porch.

There are three zippers (one on the inner pouf and two on the outer pouf), so you need to be comfortable with sewing zippers. But they are worth every second it takes to make! BTW, I used some bean bag beans from Fairfield World. The smaller the diameter of the bead, the less they compress, so don't skimp.

Have fun!

Saturday, May 23, 2015

I LOVE Sports Purses!

If you love sports, I've designed the perfect purse for you! 

These are about 8" x 2" and include two zippered pockets (one inside and one outside). I used my zippered gusset technique to make it easier to assemble. There are no raw edges! YAY! 

To make these, you'll need to know how to (1) insert an exposed zippered pocket, (2) make and sew double fold bias tape, and (3) make and sew a zippered gusset.

If you'd like to purchase the patterns, just head on over to my Crafsty store!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Finally! Summer (for me)!

I turned my grades in and have begun my summer! What this means is that I work from home (at my convenience) and have time to sew and work on my house. Yesterday I started scraping old paint and carpet glue off the cement on my screened in porch. My back is killing me, and I only got about 5 sq. ft removed, but it's better than it was on Saturday. Today I mow the lawn and write a few letters of recommendation. And recuperate from grading and celebrating the graduation of my students.

My roles at work (Mansfield University of PA) have really evolved - and will be my priority this summer. I'll still be sewing and trying to get patterns published, but my main goal is to actively recruit more students to study communication at Mansfield University. We might be a small university, but what my colleagues and I offer is a lot of individual attention...and a lot of tough love! I run my department's social media platforms  - Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram - and work with the university's social media team. It's fun and I get to be creative.

So here's a little taste of my life at work (that's me in the green jacket...wrapped up in a scarf...yes, it gets cold in northern PA!):

I won't stop blogging -  because I love to share what I'm doing - but I won't be able to keep up with it like I have in the past. I do have several projects that I've been working on...since last summer! Yikes! They all involve a zipper technique that I developed (I think?!)!

In the meantime, though, it's time to get mowing!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Fabric Deer Head: The Mount

I finally had some time to work on the mount for my friend's fabric deer head. My brother was visiting so I took advantage of his wood working skills.

First thing I did was find a shield shape. I used the elegant design from this website. I enlarged it in Publisher, but you could do the same thing with a copy machine. We decided on 14" tall and 12" wide. I had to tile it to print it - four pieces of paper that I taped together. 

We went to Home Depot and, rather than buy a big piece of wood, I purchased a round table top for around $7. This is simply a bunch of pine boards glued together. Here's a tip...look at several and go for the one that has the most long strips of wood and the fewest knots; avoid the ones that have lots of end pieces. Why? It's easier to cut!


Here we are testing out the size. Looks great!

Here's our table top with the shield design on top. We used some temporary adhesive to glue it in place. BTW, play around with placement. I lined up the top and bottom points with the glued joint in the wood so it was even.

My brother cut it out and sanded all the edges. I drilled two sets of holes. The top set are for the wire that's stuffed into the softie. The bottom two are for embroidery floss that I'll sew to the bottom part of the deer head to stabilize it.

Next up...paint. I chose turquoise - it stands out and matches the nursery.

Once I sprayed a few coats of paint, I hammered a sawtooth picture hanger to the back/top.

I had to use pliers to bend the wire back once I got it through the holes. To hold the head in place, I threaded embroidery floss through the bottom hole, through the deer, and back through the other hole. I threaded the excess thread through a big button and tied it off. 

It looks so cute it Bo's room!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Fabric Deer Head!

Ok, before I start I need to be clear. I like my animals alive. I'm not into adorning my walls with deer heads and other animal parts. BUT...my friend and her hubby are. They are anglers and hunters, so when their baby was born, it's no surprise that they decorated his room with a "lodge" theme. 

My friend shared her Pinterest board and it gave me some ideas. Then I found this super cute fabric deer head by Charming Doodle. 

I pretty much followed the pattern, which is unusual for me...especially with a free pattern. But it's a goodie. I only made one change....and it's because I HATE PATTERN PIECES! Hate them. I think it's why I don't make clothes. Yuck. So rather than use pattern pieces to cut this out, I traced the designs on to a sheerweight fusible. 
I cut the pieces out a little larger than the design, then fused them on the back of my brown denim. Oh, and I didn't use felt for the ears - instead, I used double-sided fusible and fused the brown fabric to the antler fabric. Felt would work but I didn't have any!
Here they are all cut out and ready to go! I followed the directions and finished it up. 
You have to be a little patient to stuff it...the antlers are a bit of a pain - so just stuff little bits at a time.  
I plan on attaching this to an oval plaque (once I get it painted). The final size is about 22". I love it and can't wait to see it in little Bo's room!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Summer Squares Quilt

I am the youngest of five - and all five of us possess a variety of creative talents. It's a direct result of having parents who were excellent problem solvers and skilled designers. I thought I'd share a little bit of what my sibling can do! So today's quilt is a hand-quilted beauty that my sister made.

This quilt is called Summer Squares and appeared in a quilt book that I won at a Quilts of Valor event. 

This quilt is appliqued and pieced - and hand-quilted. It's beautiful - I love vintage feel of the colors and style!

And what's even more amazing is that my sister is new to quilting! She's an accomplished sewer who makes all sorts of things (slipcovers, curtains, clothing...) - much like my mother, so it's no surprise that a few years ago she started quilting. One of her treasures is a quilt that my mom started but never finished. 

It's wonderful to be a part of a family who inspire and motivate one another!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Hip Klip Pocket Accessory Pattern

I’ve partnered with the ladies at Hip Klips to bring you the Hip Klip Pocket Accessory pattern! This is JUST the pattern. Klips sold separately—please visit their website for information on purchasing Hip Klips: http://hipklips.com/store/

This is a FAST project - once you figure out the folding and attaching (to the zippers), you'll be done in no time (like under an hour).

There are two lined zippered pockets (front) and a slip pocket (back). It's perfect for when you want to go hands-free!

I designed this pattern to replicate the LARGE Hip Klip Pocket Accessory. I first used caribiners, but FELL IN LOVE with the Hip Klips - genious...they clip right to a waistband!

You can get the pattern in my Craftsy Pattern Shop 
and you can purchase Hip Klips from the Hip Klip Store.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Gryffindor Tech Tote

I just finished up this tech tote for my friend's daughter...the Harry Potter fan. I purchased the embroidery design on Etsy - it's incredible - really detailed and dimensional. Then I assembled the tote using a pattern that I am working on. I typically make one or two then write the pattern, then make one or two more to put my pattern to the test.

This tote will hold a tablet (in the big section) and a phone with accessories (in the front pocket). I hope to have the pattern finalized and up for sale in the next week or so! I created a zipper technique (well, I think I created it - I've never seen it before) that makes putting this together much easier -- there are no raw seams!

Friday, January 9, 2015

The RIGHT Way to Measure/Hem Store-Bought Curtains!

Are you confused about how to hem/shorten store-bought curtains? Here's some help....

Here's the thing about store-bought curtains....most are NOT EVEN. Not remotely close to being even. Why is this a problem? If you rely on the seams and folds, your hemming will be off and your curtains will be uneven!

Here's the problem. It seems logical to measure from the top of the curtain to the floor. We take that measurement and add about 4" for the hem. What you'll end up with are some curtains that don't hang straight; the panels don't line up with each other.

Why? The curtains don't hang from the top. Most have grommets or a casing that the rod slides into. And that's the issue. Store-bought curtains, from my experience, have uneven hems or misplaced grommets. AND...the curtains rest on the rod at the casing or grommet top. 

I have been helping a friend settle into his new house. He purchased two curtain panels for his daughter's bedroom - she's got two windows: one wider than the other. There's a weird ledge, so they needed to be shortened - to almost half the length. His idea was that I could (1) shorten the two panels for the bigger window and (2) use the excess fabric to make another panel for the other window... Sure. We'll get to that in another post.

So we hung the curtains on the rod and I measured; I placed a pin at the appropriate length. I took the curtains home and laid them out on my table and measured:

But I didn't do this. Why? when I stacked the grommets on top of each other, they didn't line up. Some were closer to the top than others.

SO DON'T DO THIS or you'll have uneven curtains. Mine were up to a 1/2" off!!

DO THIS! The curtains hang on the rod from the top of the grommet (or the top hem in the casing). So I measured from the top of the grommet to my pin (the correct length) and got 40".

I added 4" for the bottom hem (40" + 4" = 44")

Using my tape measure, I measured 40" and 44" from the top of the grommet opening and marked with a pen. 

I went to my cutting table and cut off the excess fabric at the 44" mark. OH...this fabric was a pain to work with! It shifted all over the place...thank heaven for painter's tape!

I pressed at 40" and tucked 1" under for a seam allowance. 

I measured again. I held them up and looked. Were they even? Yes! I sewed the hem using my walking foot and a 4mm stitch length.

They turned out great. I'll have pictures soon! Here they are!

When it comes to making curtains, check out the tutorials at Sew4Home!


Friday, January 2, 2015

Finding My Way

In the mid-90s, when I rediscovered sewing, there was no Pinterest; heck, we barely had internet. A few years later, when I really got into sewing, I was online, but there wasn't the volume of content like there is now; and it wasn't easy to find. As a result, I saved and printed A LOT of sewing patterns, tutorials, and tips. I've learned a lot over the past 15 years; the problem is that my collection of online crap is consuming my sewing room. I am generation paper. Yes, I like paper. Or at least I did. Then Pinterest came along...and Evernote...then my iPad. I've gone digital. But I still have piles of patterns scattered around my house. Most have homes in mislabeled file folders.

Yesterday, I began my purge. Whenever I travel longer distances (like my almost 6 hour drive to see my family at Christmas), I get a weirdly preoccupied with car accidents. I began to think about what would happen if I was in one and my family had to go to my house to find things. It's ridiculous and irrational because compared to most people, I'm about an eight out of ten on the organizational scale. Nonetheless, my mind wanders; as I drive, I get the trash bug. Then I turn into my mother...who rarely saved anything. We're both Virgos.

On New Year's Day, I began. I tore through two file cabinets - I started with more financial stuff like car insurance forms...that dated back to 2008. Then I moved on to work-related files like my teaching evaluations... (this is embarrassing) from 1995. BTW, I was an awesome teacher back then! Next came the decorating magazines. Sure, stenciling is cool again, but I'm thinking that sponge painting will never make a comeback. I probably tossed 30 magazines. My recycling guys are going to hate me. Then I moved on to the Buns of Steel VHS tapes, then some college stuff (I'm 50, so that should give you an idea of what I found). It was mildly entertaining. I dug out my Central Michigan student ID from 1984, then my Penn State ID from 1986. I found wedding invitations for lots of friends including one who divorced that guy, married another guy, divorced him, and is now with another guy. I did learn some important things while doing this. Specifically, my cats are 11 years old, not 12 like I thought.

When I got done and the dust settled, I had emptied two storage containers and two small file cabinets. My friend decided that she wanted to repurpose the file cabinets, so those were out the door later in the afternoon.

I saved the most difficult for last....sewing-related items. I did a lot of self-talk. I did a lot of thinking. I convinced myself that everything I needed was online. I pin A LOT; it all can be found on Pinterest.

I began slowly. I found myself putting more and more printed patterns into the recycling bin. It was a lot easier than I thought it would be. Why? The patterns were awful. Some were poorly designed while others lacked any sense of detail. Some didn't even have pictures! Blasphemy! Plus, in the grand scheme of things, I'm a fairly talented sewer - if I need something, I can figure it out on my own or do a quick search online. I think my break-through moment was when I realized that I've turned into the sewer that I'm supposed to be. I've tried a lot; I know what I like. And that means that I don't need clothing patterns. I don't need basic tote bag patterns. I don't need stuff for kids. I like funky quilts not traditional ones. And…I sew practical things. I design my own patterns because I need something to function. After my self-analysis, I asked myself one simple question, "Will I ever make this?" The answer, in most cases, was "no."

I'm done for now; I feel a lot more settled. My back is sore, but it was worth it. And it's now easier to find what I really need and what's really important! YAY! Time to get to work designing my next pattern!
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