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.

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.

Do you like free embroidery designs and tutorials?

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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


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