Thursday, December 29, 2016

More "Selfish" Sewing in 2017


It’s hard to believe another year has passed. Has anyone made any resolutions for 2017 yet? I’m not big on them but early this year I did decide to make more time for personal sewing for myself, and my family. Success! I made travel bags, cosmetic bags, laptop sleeves, table runners, tree skirts, wallets, and more. I made them for myself and my loved ones. I’ll be doing that again this year as well. For me it seems like since my business is sewing related, the “magic” and excitement of creating things tends to get a little lost. I still love to design and create patterns, but sometimes I just like to get online and choose a pattern from another designer and make something for me or someone else. Sometimes I like to be a follower and not an instructor.

Above is a sampling of just a few things I made for myself and loved ones. What do I have in the plans for this year? Some more Christmas presents and “just because” gifts for my people and myself. You might have already noticed (in the lower right photo) that I made a catnip stuffed toy for my cat Punkie!

As for business, I have a lot of plans for there too. I have a book that I’m hoping will be ready to publish by late summer. It’s been two years in the making, but I’m such a perfectionist, I keep tweaking. There are also more blog tutorials in the works. And don’t forget that long list of mug rug ideas people are sending me. I’m working on those as well. If I haven’t gotten to your idea yet, hang in there, I’ll get to it!

Whatever your plans for next year are, I wish you the very best in every aspect of your life. Bring on 2017!




New mug rug patterns to inspire you!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Chicago - Take a Break and Enjoy the Season!


For many people December is absolutely crazy. I am one of those people. Between my business, occasionally filling in at the animal clinic, and the holidays, I'm swamped! In my older age I've discovered that sometimes you have to put the smartphone away, step away from the fabric (if you work with it like me), and concentrate on having fun and creating memories with those you love.

I did exactly that this past weekend. It all began Friday when my granddaughter spent the night. We had so much fun baking and doing a craft project, one that is suitable for a three year old of course. The next morning we got up bright and early and hopped on the South Shore Train to Chicago! Of course we picked up mommy at the Portage stop, then off we went!

Our first stop was Winter Wonderfest on Navy Pier. It is the ultimate place to take kids of all ages. There was so much to do and quite surprisingly, the lines weren't that long for the children's rides. Our favorite part, and actually the part that cost nothing at all, unless you count our trip into the Disney Store, was walking down Michigan Avenue and seeing the holiday lights. Chicago is such a beautiful City. It's especially nice since it's so easy to get to with the train station just a hop, skip, and a jump away!



For a more local holiday treat, a trip to the Lighthouse Place Premium Outlets is always fun. It's always so congested in the summer when people come from all over to shop the most beautiful outlet center in the states. But in the winter, it's nice and peaceful, and most of the out of towners don't know about a cute little coffee shop across the street called Lakeshore Coffee. You will never find a better panini anywhere. And of course lots of great coffee and teas. They have lots of fun, holiday specials, and warm drinks. And the atmosphere is so sweet!

So, isn't it time you took a break and spent some time just enjoying yourself and your loved ones?

Merry Christmas!!!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Tutorial - Super Duper Quick and Easy Tablet Sleeve


Is Santa bringing you a shiny new tablet for Christmas? If so, you might want to make a protective sleeve for it. Here is the fastest sleeve you will ever make! They are so fast that I made three of them in under 2 hours! After I made one for my tablet, I decided that I needed one for my keyboard (the one that attaches to my tablet), and one for my travel mouse. This is also perfect if you like to throw an e-reader into your bag! I didn't want a flap of any kind, I wanted to be able to put the tablet in my purse and just pull it out of the sleeve. I did however add a KamSnap to the center to keep it from sliding out if my purse or tote bag were to fall over. The snap is optional. If you want a snap and don't have the KamSnap system, you can use a regular sew-on snap. OK, let's get started!

First, you're going to need the following items:
Exterior fabric
Lining fabric
Fusible fleece
    The amounts for the above items will be determined by how large your tablet or device is. 

Another note about the fabric, if you pre-wash it, don't use fabric softener. It can prevent your fusible fleece from sticking properly.

You will also need:
Thread to match fabric
KamSnaps or sew-on snap (both optional)
General sewing supplies such as scissors, pins or clips, needles, iron, sewing machine, etc. A cutting mat and rotary cutter is helpful, but not necessary.

Instructions:
1.  The first thing you need to do is measure your tablet or device. If you have any buttons or ports that extend beyond the device, you will need to be sure to include that in your measurement.

First, determine how you want your tablet to slip into your sleeve. I like mine to have the opening along the longest part of the tablet since it will fit in my purses and totes best. I will take that measurement first, it will be my "width." Be sure to include the tablet's depth in this measurement. I will then add 1 1/4 inches to that number. This will allow for your 1/4 inch seam allowance and give you a perfect fit. You don't want it too tight.


Example: My tablet measures 10 3/4 inches (including the depth), so I'll be cutting my fabric at 12 inches wide. 

To get the measurement of the height (top to bottom when it's in the sleeve) you are going to measure all the way around, and add 3 inches to that number.


Example: My tablet measures just under 15 1/2 inches all the way around, so I will cut that fabric 18 1/2 inches. This will give plenty of room if you want to add a snap at the top. If not, any excess can be cut away later.

Note: If your exterior fabric has a one way design such as words, you can add another 1/2 inch to this number, then cut the fabric in half, place the two pieces right sides together, then stitch along the bottom edge using a 1/4 inch seam allowance. Only do this with your exterior fabric, unless your lining fabric has a one way design also.


2.  Now that your exterior fabric is cut, cut these same amounts from the fusible fleece, and lining fabric.

3.  Iron the fusible fleece to the back side of the exterior fabric. Be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions for the brand of fleece you will be using.


4.  Fold this piece with right sides together and stitch down each side, leaving the top open. Repeat this with the lining fabric. You can cut away some of the bulk from the seam allowance if you want, just don't get too close to the stitching.



5.  Turn the exterior fabric right side out and iron. Slip the lining inside the exterior fabric (wrong sides facing each other) and pin at the seams to hold temporarily. Slip the tablet inside and fold the upper edges to the inside, where you want the opening to end. If you kept your seam allowances at 1/4 inch, your tablet should fit in perfectly. As you can see, before I folded my edges in, I had quite a bit of excess fabric at the top. I decided that I want a snap, so by folding my fabric about 3/4 inches, I will have enough room for my snap. Now, take out the tablet and remove the pins. Fold the edges 3/4 inches to the wrong side and iron. Repeat this step with the lining.




Note: If you don't want a snap or closure of any kind, you can simply cut away the excess so that you only have about 1/2 to 3/4 inches to turn under.

 

6.  Slip the lining back into the exterior, lining up at the seams and the folds. Take back to your machine and stitch along the upper edge, close to the folds. Your open arm works well for this step.



7.  If you have a snap to attach, you can do that now. That's it! You are done!



Do you prefer a flap on your tablet sleeve, or maybe you'd like to make a simple wristlet? I've got you covered! I just happen to have a tutorial right here on the blog, where I made one with a flap. You can find it right HERE.


Thursday, December 1, 2016

Tutorial - Festive Table Runner and Pillows


It's been a few years since I've brought these to the front! Here are two super easy tutorials to get  your home in the holiday spirit, or just make them up in colors to match your every day decor!

Pillow tutorial can be found HERE

Table runner tutorial can be found HERE

Enjoy!


Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving!


Wishing you all a very safe and Happy Thanksgiving!

Be sure to stop by Sher's Creative Space on Friday when we begin our Black Friday sale where every pattern is 20% OFF when you use coupon code:
BLACKFRIDAY

Let the holiday crafting begin!!!




Thursday, November 17, 2016

Stitch Up A Memory!


In the photo above you will see one of my favorite gifts ever received. My daughter in law had it made for me using one of my dad's favorite shirts. She didn't know it when she was having it made, but I actually bought that shirt for him the previous Father's Day. I will treasure this forever!

There are so many great things you can stitch up from clothing that belonged to loved ones for either a special occasion, or as a memory project.

I've seen so many great ideas for this. In one of my sewing groups a lady made boxy zipper bags for her family members from some of her mother's favorite skirts. She shared a picture and the were beautiful!

Other great ideas would be making a christening gown out of a wedding dress, or sachets from clothing items. How about Christmas ornaments from some of their jewelry or clothing? There are so many small things that you can make from a loved one's clothing that other family members will cherish.

I was very lucky because I had two dad's growing up. My biological father who is living in Florida with my bonus mom (aka stepmom), and I also have the dad that raised me. He passed just under two years ago. I wrote him a poem for his 80th birthday and I'm sharing it below. As much as I believe in a bloodline, I also believe 100% in a LOVE line!

That Special Someone
As we walk the path of life
we will meet many people.
Some people will come and go
with nothing more than a glance or a nod,
while others will come into your life
and leave an impression one way or another.

But every now and then
you will come across someone so special
who will touch you in a way
that will change you forever.
When you are blessed enough
to have this person in your life,
you will treasure them, and love them,
and hang on to every moment,


and hold a place for them in your heart forever.

Written by Sheryl Lynn Hastings

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Purge, Donate, Up-cycle, Recycle



Before you throw out or toss to the side, see if you can bring that old item back to life!

I pull off any embellishments such as zippers, buttons, and purse hardware before tossing the item, especially from purses. If you sew, you know how valuable zippers and hardware can be. For the zippers, I keep a basket in my sewing room to store them until I can get a chance to separate them from the fabric. This is a great project to do while watching a movie with the hubster. 

My daughter is a master of up-cycling. When I was out visiting her this summer I was admiring her pegboard that she made for her office/studio. I couldn't believe it when she told me the cute little holders used to be Crystal Light containers! After spraying them with a plastic paint, she put a sealer on them and added some embellishments. How cute!

In the photo above you will also see how she took old book pages, tea dyed them, and decoupaged them to the table and lampshade. She even made the lamp base out of old books!

My next project will be this really cute Collapsible Thread Catcher from The Fabric Therapy Blog. Can you believe it's made from parts of a Pringles container?




Next time you think about de-cluttering, think about the many different things you could do with the items you no longer want.




Thursday, November 3, 2016

Mug Rug Patterns Ideas - Trucks with Tree and Camper!


I asked what you'd like to see on a mug rug and you told me! I have quite a list and I'm hoping to get to each and every one of them. Some are for Christmas and New Year's, so obviously I'll get to those first. 

My first two are from Melanie and Carole. How fitting that they both involved a truck! This made it easier for me to do two at once. 

Carole asked for a camper on a truck, while Melanie wanted to see a truck with a tree that had just been cut down for Christmas.

You can find the Perfect Christmas Tree Mug Rug Pattern HERE, and the Let's Go Camping Mug Rug Pattern HERE.

Thank you ladies and everyone else for sharing your fun and creative ideas. If I haven't gotten to yours yet, don't worry, it's on the drawing board and will be published in the near future.

Keep the great ideas coming!!!

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Always Looking for Fresh and New Ideas!


I figure I have around 200 mug rug patterns in my shops. Many of you don't know this, but some of them were designed for my customers who were looking for something special. Every now and then I get an email with a request for a certain mug rug design. I do my best to come up with exactly what they want. They are always thrilled with the results.

Do YOU have anything special you'd like to see in a mug rug design? If so, then send an email to sheryl@sherscreativespace.com and I'd love to take a look at it! And remember, the appliques used for the mug rugs can be used on numerous other projects!

And did I mention that there is a bonus in it for you if I use your idea? Yep! There sure is!

To see my already huge selection of mug rugs, stop by Sher's Creative Space.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Tutorials - Earbud Round-up!


Back in the day, it wouldn’t be uncommon to see a teenager walking down the street with a cord hanging from their ears to some kind of musical device. Technology has certainly changed things. Now I’m seeing more and more women and men (my age and older) walking past my house, waiting for a bus, and even strolling through the grocery store with that same cord connected to their ears! 

Now that most people have smartphones they can be listening to everything from music, to podcasts, to audio books. Yesterday I was in WalMart and an older woman, probably in her 70’s was listening to something with her earbuds. I was so tempted to ask her what she was listening to, but I didn’t.

I carry my earbuds in a little zipper case that I made (last tutorial down) in my purse, which keeps them nice and tangle free. Here is a nice little round-up of some very different, fun, and free tutorials to keep your earbuds neat and tidy.  

Here’s a cute one that has been knitted.
http://www.hugsforyourhead.com/2014/09/earbud-pouch-free-knitting-pattern.html

I love the fun shape of this one!
http://tizzycrafts.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/earbud-case-tutorial.html

Do you like to work with leather? These look pretty simple and cute.
http://www.designertrapped.com/diy-earbud-holder/

How about this folded flower. I love the use of the KamSnaps with this one.
http://sueoverydesigns.com/blog/earbud-case-ith/

Are you not a fan of sewing? How about these cute cases made from mint holders!
http://www.makeit-loveit.com/2015/05/make-an-earphone-holder-from-a-mint-container.html

This one is too cute for words. It’s a felt owl. The tutorial calls for wool felt, but I would use my plain old acrylic. I think it would be just as cute.
http://empressofdirt.net/diy-ear-bud-case/

This cute floral earbud case doubles as a business card holder too!
http://www.polkadotchair.com/2016/01/diy-earbuds-case.html/2/

Don’t forget mine! This is one of my older tutorials, but still useful! It can hold other things such as sweetener packets and even coins.
http://sherscreativespace.blogspot.com/2015/09/scrap-buster-earbud-case-or-tiny-coin.html

So what do you listen to when you have that cord hanging from your ears?


For one week only you can get the pattern for this trick or treat bag duo for only $2.75! After Halloween, the kids will have a cute totebag to pack up for a weekend at Nanas! You can find this deal right HERE. Offer expires September 29th.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Sewing for a Cause 2016


It’s that time of year again when people are thinking about the upcoming holidays and the hustle and bustle begins! It’s also the time when people think that it’s time to give back. In the photo above is a bunch of small wallets that I’m stitching up to donate to our local animal rescue group so they can use them for their holiday fundraisers. This year I’m also going to do the Case for Smiles project (link below) where I’ll be making some fun and colorful pillowcases for children in a hospital.

If you aren’t sure where to begin, here are a few links to get you inspired:

Hey bag makers! Here’s a place where you can make purses for girls in school:
http://sewpowerful.org/ 

Here is one of my favorites which I will be participating in this year. You can make some quick and easy pillowcases that will be given to kids with cancer. Make sure they are fun and colorful!
http://caseforsmiles.org/ 

Here’s one for adults and children. Make some chemotherapy turbans.
http://www.sewing.org/html/turban.html 

How about making a blanket for a child in need? Give them a little extra comfort that they so desperately need.
http://www.projectlinus.org/about/

Since many of you know, our furry little friends are very near and dear to my heart, make up some simple beds that they can snuggle on while in the shelter and waiting for their forever homes.
http://kennelcomforters.blogspot.com/ 

Still haven’t found one that tickles you fancy? Here is a whole list of them!
http://www.sewingpartsonline.com/blog/sew-for-charity.aspx 

Do you prefer to support your local charities? Call your local humane societies, churches, women’s shelters, and hospitals to see where help is needed. Many of them do fundraisers throughout the year, while some of them will take any items that someone will find helpful. How about stopping by your local assisted living places or nursing homes, and see if someone could use a walker caddy or another personal item. Not everyone there is lucky enough to have family visit so their needs go unnoticed. You can even start your own!

Whether you sew for charity, shovel your elderly neighbor's driveway, or volunteer your time where needed, one thing is for sure, it will make your heart feel good! That's what I call a Win/Win!

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Handmade v/s Homemade


When it comes to your stitching, there is a big difference between handmade and homemade. When I think of handmade, I think of originality, style, and a beautiful item that one put a lot of time, effort, and love into. However, when I think of homemade, I think of something thrown together for the sake of saving a few pennies.

I first started sewing when I was a little girl and back in those days, you could save a fortune sewing your own bags, clothes, and other things. Nowadays, I find that most people don’t sew to save money, they sew because they enjoy it, to show their creativity, or just to get the exact look they want. And I’ve got to say, in many cases, it’s not cheaper to sew. I personally like to choose quality items, and choosing fabrics and other supplies are a big part of the creative process. When I’m making a gift for someone, I don’t just don’t grab something from my fabric stash, I hit the shops or the Internet looking for a fabric that will perfectly suit my gift recipient.

So whether you sew for your business, gift giving, or yourself, you’ll want an item that shows you care. The following tips will also give your work that professional look to impress your potential buyers and gift recipients!

Clip all loose threads: This is probably my biggest pet peeve. Nothing says cheaply thrown together more than hanging threads. This is the simplest thing to correct. I see this on cheap store bought items too. Maybe that’s why I think this way.

Neatly ironed: Here is another simple fix. Once you are finished with your project, make sure you iron it neatly. Some things are difficult because of size or shape, but there are a few things that could help you get great results. I like to keep clean and never used oven mitts and pot holders in my sewing room. They are especially handy when making small zipper bags or purses. They can help where a big flat ironing surface can’t.

Neat and even top stitching: Top stitching is so important because it’s the stitching you will see. It’s also what keeps your fabric from getting stuck in zipper teeth if using a zipper. Top stitching is what gives your item the finished look. Take your time and make it look pretty!

Lining closings: When making bags, you usually have an opening in one of the lining seams where you turned your bag right side out. This should be neatly closed, and with matching thread. This is so close to the last step. You put a lot of time and effort into your project, do the same with this. It can be hand stitched or machine stitched, but it must be neat.

Matching thread: When I am working on a project, I grab all my thread spools and bobbins I’ll need and I keep them by my machine. Some projects will go back and forth between colors. Don’t be lazy, use the right color of thread for the right fabric. I promise this will make a difference.

Take advantage of your sewing machine feet: Today’s sewing machine feet are easier than ever to attach. Back in the day, you had to use a screw driver to attach and remove them. Today, they just snap on and off so easily. I have about half dozen feet that I just love! They are always near my machine so I can always have the right foot that will do the right job.

Matching hardware: When making purses or totes, be sure to use matching hardware. Sometimes it’s those details that really pull the look together. I just love to use purse hardware!

Sewing label (tutorial coming soon): A personal or business label attached to your item will give it that real professional edge. Keep a watch, or follow my blog because I’ll be posting a tutorial real soon on how you can make your own, and yes, they look professional!

Take your time: This is probably my most important tip of all. Don’t ever rush through a project to get it done. If you really enjoy sewing, you won’t mind. You will have such beautiful results. If you feel like you must rush to get something finished, you either waited until the last minute (learn by this), or you really aren't enjoying the process. Then you should find another hobby.

I hope these little tips will give your projects the look you want to achieve with professional looking results.



My newest pattern is available at Sher's Creative Space! It was inspired by a trip I took with my kids this past summer. I sure did have a good time! I actually have three camping styles of patterns to choose from, a camper, a tent, and this pop-up camper.

Friday, September 2, 2016

September Mug of the Month Tutorial


It's hard to believe that this particular collaboration with So Sew Easy has come to an end, yet it has. This is the last in my monthly series of mug rug tutorials. I hope you have been collecting them all. 

I've really enjoyed this experience, and working with Mayra has been a pleasure and there will be more fun things ahead for the the two of us together to share with you.

Stop by So Sew Easy and check out this new mug rug tutorial!

Also: Be sure to stop by my website at Sher's Creative Space to take advantage of my Labor Day Special where you can save 20% store-wide. Sale good through September 5th.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Super Quick and Easy Luggage Tag Tutorial


Don’t you just love this bag? It’s a pattern from Two Pretty Poppets. It’s actually a beach tote but it fits my needs for a perfect weekender travel bag. Just one thing missing......a luggage tag!

These tags are seriously so quick and easy to throw together. To make your own, you can dig into your scrap pile because it really doesn’t take much. I used a fairly light weight plastic for the window but you can leave it open if you want, just be sure to make your information card larger than the opening. You can also skip the window and just make a plane pocket. I like the window because it’s a perfect fit for a business card. As for the plastic, it’s not expensive. I got mine from the remnant bin at JoAnn Fabrics.

To make your own you are going to need:

Fabric as follows:
(1) 2 x 12 inches for the strap
(2) 3 1/2 x 5 1/2 inches for the backing
(2) 3 1/2 x 5 inches for the pocket
(2) 3 1/2 x 5 1/2 inches for the flap

Interfacing as follows:
(2) 3 1/2 x 5 1/2 inches for flap and backing
(1) 3 1/2 x 5 inches for the pocket
(1) 2 x 12 inches for strap

You will also need:
(1) 3 1/2 x 5 inch piece of plastic (optional)
(1) KAM Snap set (size 20), or a sew-on snap (8 or 10 mm)
Thread to match fabric
General sewing supplies



Important notes:
**You will be using a 1/4 inch seam allowance for all stitching. Make sure that you do not go under that amount, in fact, it’s OK if you go just a smidge over.

**Fabrics can match, contrast, or you can use the same for all the pieces.

**Avoid touching the plastic with your iron. It could melt. Also, when pinning the pieces together, make sure not to poke the pins into any part of the plastic that will show (such as the window).

**Don’t make your stitches too small because you could actually perforate your plastic and it could tear during use.

**If pre-washing fabrics, do NOT use fabric softener. It can prevent you fusible adhesive from sticking.

Let’s begin:
1.  Fuse the interfacing to the backs of the corresponding fabrics. You will have a piece of interfacing for each of the four sets (backing, pocket, flap, and strap).

2.  With right sides together, pin the sets together. There will only be one fabric piece for the strap. Make sure all your edges line up evenly and round your corners. I used a quarter. Do not round the corners of the strap piece.



3.  Take the window pieces (3 1/2 x 5 inch piece), that are still right sides together, and lay them on your work surface with the interfacing side facing up. Draw a line 3/4 inch down from each edge. This will create your window.




NOTE: In my sample photo, you can see my pen lines extending past the corners, just don't stitch past the corners on those lines. Just stitch the square.

4.  Stitch on those lines pivoting at the corners. Remove from machine and draw diagonal lines from corner to corner creating an “X.” Cut on the lines. Clip as close to the corners as you can without snipping through your threads.



5.  Trim the excess inner fabric (that was once the X) down to 1/4 inch away from the seam.


6.  Turn this piece right side out by pushing one of the layers of fabric through the window just as if you were making a zipper opening in a garment. Be sure all the raw edges line up perfectly an iron well. Baste 1/8 inch away from the outer edges to hold. Be sure to use your large basting stitch because you will be removing some of the basting stitches later.



7.  Decide which side you want showing and place the window with this side up on top of your plastic. The raw edges of the fabric will line up with the edges of the plastic. Pin or clip to secure. Stitch plastic in place by stitching about 1/8 inch from edge of window opening. Be sure to stitch with the fabric on top of the plastic. Carefully trim away excess plastic about 1/8 inch away from the stitching line. I decided to cut the plastic much bigger than it needed to be to make lining up and stitching easier.





8.  Remove the basting stitches along one of the short edges and down about 3/4 inch on each side. Turn these raw edges to the inside 1/4 inch and iron. Stitch close to the folds to create the top edge of your pocket. Remember to be careful with the iron and the plastic.



9.  Place this piece on top of one of your backing fabric pieces (the one that has the interfacing fused to the back). Both of these will have their right side facing up. Line them up at the bottom edge. Now place the remaining backing fabric on top of these with the wrong side facing up. Pin or clip to secure.






10. Stitch around the edges. You will begin your stitching just at the beginning of the upper curve, and end your stitching at the same place on the other side. You want a nice opening at the top to turn right side out.



11. Clip curves and turn right side out. Turn the upper edge under 1/4 inch to the inside. Iron. Set aside.



12. Fold your strap piece in half lengthwise with wrong sides together. Fold the remaining two raw edges to meet at the center and fold back in half. You will now have a piece that measures 1/2 inch wide and 12 inches long. Stitch along each long edge close to folds.

13. Fold in half and slip the ends into the opening on the tag backing and pocket you just assembled. They should go in about 1/2 inch. Pin or clip to secure. Top stitch around the entire thing about 1/8 inch from edge.


14. With the right sides together, stitch around the flap pieces beginning and ending your stitching just like you did in step 10 when stitching your backing fabric and your pocket.

15. Clip curves, turn right side, out and iron. Top stitch around outer edges. 

16. Place this on top of your backing/window piece with the right top side of the flap facing up. Stitch near the upper edge about 1/4” down, and stopping and starting your stitching about 1/2 inch away from sides.



17. Attach the snap of your choice, insert business card or other ID, then hang from your travel bag.





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