Jul 142011
 

My quilting group decided to do Christmas in July for this month’s meeting.  We’ve made many, many quilts for missionaries and charity, but sometimes we just stop and do a little fun project for ourselves.  On Saturday we’ll be making these:

snowman-ornament-complete

Since I was prepping what we’d need, I thought I’d share the steps with you.  Here is where you can find a pdf with the snowman ornament patterns.

You’ll need:

  • scraps of white fabric for the snowmen (If I figured correctly, you’ll get about 10 snowmen from a single fat quarter.)
  • scraps of fabric for the hat (2.5″ x 4″) and scarf (1″ x 9″)
  • hand sewing needle and thread
  • small amount of orange oven bake clay (Fimo, Sculpey) for nose
  • small black beads or black oven bake clay for eyes and mouth
  • hot glue
  • tacky glue
  • toothpick
  • tweezers

From the white fabric cut one 4″ circle and one 3.5″ circle.

snowman-ornament-step-1-cut-out-circles

Thread a needle with white thread.  Turning under a 1/8″ inch seam allowance as you go, make large running stitches close to folded edge.

snowman-ornament-step-2-gather

When you get back to where you started pull up gathers and flatten yo-yo so hole is in the center.  Tie off thread ends in a square knot and cut off excess thread.

snowman-ornament-step-3-make-yo-yos

Hint:  When tying your knot use a surgeon’s square knot, which simply means to make the first wrap (right over left) twice, then pull tight.  This holds everything in place while you make the second wrap (left over right.)

Repeat to make second yo-yo.

snowman-ornament-step-3-yo-yos

Make hat:

Fold 4″ x 2.5″ rectangle in half, meeting shorter edges.  Sew a 1/4″ seam along these edges, backstitching at beginning and end.

snowman-ornament-step-4-seam-hat

Finger press seam open and turn this tube right side out.

Turn one raw edge up 1/4″.

snowman-ornament-step-5-turn-hat-brim

And turn up again 1/4″ to make hat brim.

snowman-ornament-step-5-turn-hat-brim-again

Thread a needle with thread to match the hat fabric and gather remaining raw edge 1/4″ from edge.

snowman-ornament-step-6-gather-hat-top

Pull gathers tight and tie off.

snowman-ornament-step-6-hat-top-gathered

Hot glue hat to small yo-yo and glue small yo-yo over large yo-yo.

snowman-ornament-step-7-glue-together-yo-yos-and-hat

Tie scarf around snowman’s neck, using a pin to fringe the ends.  Hot glue down the ends, if desired.

snowman-ornament-step-8-add-scarf

To make the carrot nose pinch off a piece of oven bake clay about the size of a small pea.  Roll it into a 1/4″ ball.

snowman-ornament-step-9-carrot-nose

Using one finger, roll it on your work surface, applying more pressure to one side than the other.  This will shape it into a cone.

snowman-ornament-step-9b-carrot-nose

Use the side of a needle to mark your “carrot” to make it more realistic.

snowman-ornament-step-9c-carrot-nose close up

Bake according to manufacturer’s directions.  (Ten minutes at 250° F worked fine for me.) By the way, when using oven bake clay, never use utensils that you will be using with food.  Parchment paper here protects the baking sheet and keeps the clay from becoming shiny.

I made a bunch, figuring it’s easier to make more than I need now, rather than have to turn on the oven later to make just one. snowman-ornament-step-9-carrot-noses

While the baking sheet with all these itty bitty carrots was cooling on the counter my huband saw them and thought they were something I’d picked from the garden.  Bwahahaha!

For the eyes and mouth you can use small black beads (mine are 3mm) or make small black balls out of oven bake clay.  You can also make french knots with embroidery floss, or just draw on the face with a marker.

snowman-ornament-step-10-eyes-and-mouth

If gluing on the eyes and mouth, I suggest you apply tiny dots of tacky glue with a toothpick, then use tweezers to place your beads exactly where you want them.

snowman-ornament-step-10b-eyes-and-mouth

Use tacky glue to attach the nose.

Warning:  If you use hot glue to attach the nose, then decide you don’t like the gob of hot glue that oozed out and try to pick if off, you WILL break the nose.  Just sayin’.

Isn’t he cute?

snowman-ornament-complete

Now you can add some twine or ribbon to make an ornament, glue on a bamboo stick or some wire to make a plant poke, add him to a card… whatever you want.

snowman-ornament-plant-poke

Just make sure to have fun!

Happy Christmas in July.  🙂

 

Jun 232011
 

Today is time for a few quick projects.  After spending the last several weeks working on machine quilting a queen size quilt, as well as making Roman shades for my living room, I was quite ready for something far less epic, ya know?

Cases for my new sunglasses and camcorder seemed to fit the bill.  You’re gonna love this tutorial, all it takes is one piece of fabric and two seams.  These took about 10 minutes each, and much of that was time spent choosing fabric.  🙂

First off, you need to measure the item you want to make a case for.  Use a flexible tape measure to decide how wide around the case needs to be.  Add 1″ to this measurement.

quick-custom-cases-step-1-measure

I want this to be 7″ around, so my first dimension is 8″.

Next measure how tall your case should be.  Take this measurement, double it and add 1″.  Since I want my case to be 6″ tall, my other dimension is 13″.  (6×2) +1=13

Now cut a rectangle of fabric with those dimensions, in this case 8″x13″.  (Add fusible interfacing to the back if you wish.)

quick-custom-cases-step-2-cut-out-fabric

Sew the longer edges together, making a tube.

quick-custom-cases-step-3-sew-long-edge

Press this seam open.

quick-custom-cases-step-4-press-seam-open

Now meet the remaining raw edges.  You have to pull the tube up over itself to do this.  Make sure the right side of the fabric is on the outside.

quick-custom-cases-step-5-meet-raw-edges

Here I’ve started pulling the tube up.

quick-custom-cases-step-5a-meet-raw-edges

Here the raw edges are meeting.  At this point you’ll want to meet the seams together as well, this will make sure your tube isn’t twisted.

quick-custom-cases-step-6-sew-bottom

Now flatten out your tube and stitch together the raw edges. Finish the seam by pinking, zigzagging or serging.

quick-custom-cases-finished

Now turn this inside out, using a point turner to poke out the bottom points.  You’re done!

quick-custom-cases-finished-with-sunglasses

And here it is completed, the sunglasses fit perfectly.

Of course I couldn’t stop there, but went digging through my stash of orphan quilt blocks to make this fancier case for my sunglasses:

quick-custom-cases-finished-heart-case

And this for my camcorder:

quick-custom-cases-star-case

To use the heart block, I first pieced on extra fabric, then cut it to the needed size. Keep in mind that half of the fabric will be on the inside for the lining.  (I recommend you first make a case with just a rectangle of fabric, then you’ll see how it goes together.)

quick-custom-cases-heart-fabric

For the camcorder case I made little pockets on the back for spare batteries.

quick-custom-cases-battery-pockets

This was done by folding pieces of mesh in half (the fold is the top edge of the pocket.)

quick-custom-cases-first-mesh-pocket

Zigzag or straight stitch to make the bottom of the pocket.

quick-custom-cases-second-mesh-pocket

Add the second pocket and baste along sides and bottom.  This was then stitched to my star block.  After that I added more black fabric to the top and bottom of the star to make it 8″x13″.

When sewing the final seam (bottom edges) make sure to position your block where you want it.  This part is a little fiddly.  Like I said, if you sew one first with just plain fabric, you’ll see how it all goes together.

quick-custom-cases-star-case

Have fun.  🙂

If you make your own custom cases, make sure to upload your pics to the gallery!

quick-custom-cases-finished-heart-case

Jan 142011
 

Here’s a great little project you can make in next to no time.  In fact, I made three in just a couple hours.  It’s called a mobius or infinity scarf because it has a that single twist, just like a mobius strip.

Here’s mine.  I love wearing it with this jacket because the jacket is collarless and my neck gets cold (and I’m not fond of turtlenecks.)  The scarf is wrapped around twice in this photo.

purple-velvet-scarf-001_0

If you want to make one, you’ll need a 2 yard long by 20″ piece of fabric.  If you’re buying yardage, you can get two out of 40″ wide or three out of 60″ wide.

Here’s how I did it.  You can also find a short tutorial here.

If you have 40″ fabric, fold it in half,  meeting selvedges and cut on the fold to get two pieces for your two scarves.

Here’s how I laid out the cutting for my 60″ piece.  I first folded it in half, meeting the selvedges.  Then I folded the two yard length in half twice, so the 18″ would fit on my cutting table and I could cut the whole length with one cut.

mobius-scarf-1

Line up the fold at 0″ and then cut at 10″ and again at 30″.  (I didn’t bother to cut off the selvedges because I used my serger to sew the first seam.)

mobius-scarf-2

Now you have three pieces with only one cut!

Next, you need to fold each piece lengthwise and sew the 2 yard seam, making a long tube.

mobius-scarf-3

Here, I’m letting the serger cut off the selvedges for me.

mobius-scarf-4

This is the part that gets some folks confused.  You’re going to sew together the two ends of the tube, but with a twist.  To make this easier, follow the directions in the photo above.  (Fold the tube in half, with the seam on one fold.  Pin mark the fold on the opposite side.)  Do this for both ends of the scarf.

Next you’ll pull one end of the scarf up over the rest of it.

mobius-scarf-5

This photo shows pulling the tube up over a twist, but you don’t need to bother with the twist now.  Just pull it up over itself until the two ends meet.  Meet the pin on one end to the seam of the other, meet the remaining pin to the remaining seam.  The automatically builds in the twist. Now sew all the way around, leaving an opening for turning. (Sorry about the blurry photo!  I’m usually having so much fun sewing I don’t slow down to check that my photos are clear.  Gotta work on that.)

mobius-scarf-6

Now pull your scarf out through the opening.  (I think this is the fun part.)

mobius-scarf-7

Hand sew the opening closed and enjoy your new creation!

I made mine from a polyester stretch velvet, but consider the possibilities:  chiffon for an evening scarf, sweater knit for something really warm and cozy,  fun fleece prints for the teens or little ones .  I even saw a suggestion for using two old sweater arms.  Hmmmm . . .

Whatever you decide to use, have fun!  And be sure to send me pictures!