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Showing posts from 2008

Rag-Quilting-- Not Just for Quilts!

In my previous entry, I showed how you can use the rag-quilting technique to make coasters. Well, as you've probably realized, that's just the tip of the iceberg! After all, who says rag-quilting has to be restricted to quilts alone?

Why not use this super-simple sewing technique for any of the following?:
throw pillows
pillow shamswall-hangingssmaller pieces to frame and hang
table runnerstable centerpiecesplant coastersshower curtains (only to be used w/ vinyl liner)rugs (w/ slip-guard material underneath)window curtainstablecloths
Of course, for items that will be hung (curtains, for instance), you'd need to take the finished project's weight into consideration. Also, you might not want too much bulk in a curtain or tablecloth, so you'd have to choose fabric carefully.

You could even make some clothing (vests, maybe) in the rag-quilted style! But maybe that's taking things a little too far. . . ;o)

I recently rearranged my houseplants, consolidating them and …

Tutorial: Rag-Quilted Coasters

Do you have stacks of old, worn-out, out-dated, or out-grown jeans lying around the house? Why not give that durable denim another life as a set of cute 'n' cozy rag-quilted coasters? (You can also get a more modern look by leaving off the hearts and flowers-- or opting for simple square or circular patches. But why would you want to do a thing like that?)

The prototypes for these coasters happened "by accident" last year, when I wanted to try out the rag quilting method before starting in on the actual quilt I was making. I had some smaller denim squares lying around, so I gave it a try. The ragging worked great-- and then, because I hated to throw them away, I started using the squares as coasters. That worked great, too!

This is a simple project that is easy for even novice seamstresses. It uses up smallish scraps of denim (whether new off the bolt or recycled from old clothes), and it's a fun way to test out rag quilting before committing to a large-scal…

Felt Spectrum

I'm playing around with several ideas of little things to make from felt, tonight.

What a lovely rainbow of possibilities!
It makes me happy just looking at those soft rectangles of color!

(And in case you are wondering-- in light of my last post-- this is synthetic felt, i.e. the cheap stuff from the craft store. Still looks pretty, I think, and it serves my purposes nicely.)

How Do You Feel About Felt?

Personally, I'm a fan.
I love that it won't fray, which makes it such a worry-free material for beginner sewers (like myself). Just cut out your shapes and start stitching. No need to take seam allowances into account or do all that messy folding under-- and it has enough body to it that it works great for making three-dimensional objects. Talk about easy!

Of course, even with something as easy as felt, there's always more to think about. Such as the pros and cons of the different types of felt available.

Until I started looking into making my first felt pin cushion, I never realized that there even were different types. Well, there are. ;o) More than two, even-- but the two main categories are "wool felt" and "synthetic felt".

100% wool felt is typically acknowledged to be "the good stuff"-- soft and available in a beautiful array of nuanced colors. Unfortunately, it is expensive and not readily available in most craft stores.

Synthetic f…

Martha Stewart Pincushions

Being an admirer of pincushions, I decided to more permanently "bookmark" the cute pincushion projects currently available on Martha Stewart's website. Maybe there's something in this list that you'll like, too!

(Notice that on each page linked below, there is a "print" or an "email" button, making it a snap to add these projects to a notebook or file for later use. I certainly found a few I'll be keeping for later!)

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Teacup Pincushions:
Made from felted (recycled/upcycled) sweaters to look like little teacups or cupcakes. Video demo available.

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Strawberry Pincushions:
Sweet strawberry pincushions. Easy to make from a variety of materials, and oh, so cute!

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"Homegrown" Tomato Pincushions:
Delicious array of possibilities from this simple pincushion shape! One commenter suggests making "pumpkins" in the same way, using a cinnamon stick for the stem. Very interesting idea!

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Another "Martha" Find

I'm not really a "Martha" devotee. That's not to say that I dislike her, but I didn't really care for the layout of her show once they started filming it in front of a studio audience-- too much like other talk shows, with all the celebrity guests-- and I haven't watched it in quite a while.

That said, she certainly has some pretty things to share, from time to time. Here's a link to a list of just the sewing projects on her website. (I'm going to have to go through these, and a few other categories, sometime!)

Today, I found these adorable strawberry pincushions on her website:

There's a handy tutorial for this project, as well, so that you can make one (or two or three or. . . Well, you get the idea!) for your own sewing table.

Aren't they beautiful?
Of course, I have developed something of an obsession with pincushions-- particularly food-themed cushions (of which you'll see more evidence, shortly), so I may be biased.

Sewing Kit in a Jar

(Note: One more old post from my personal blog.)

I found this yesterday (well, back in May, but it was "yesterday" when I wrote this) and liked the looks of it:

Sewing Kit in a Jar
From Martha Stewart Living. How to turn a Mason jar into a sewing kit (or storage solution) with a pin cushion on top. Simple and attractive.

I like the old-fashioned homeyness of the Mason jar, but the downside is that it's breakable. If you wanted a "traveling" sewing kit (one to leave in your car or to take on trips or to sewing groups), you could use a plastic jar. I've also read that some people prefer attaching the pin cushion to the bottom of the lid, so that it (and all the pins) will be inside the jar, when it's closed. Again, it looks more decorative with the cushion on top, but for traveling, inside would be better.

Anyway, just thought I'd pass along the link. :o)

On Starting My First Rag Quilt

Note: I wrote this (for my personal blog) nearly a year ago, and I'm ashamed to admit that I haven't progressed much further on that rag quilt. (hanging head in shame) Maybe this blog will inspire me to sit down in front of my sewing machine a little more often.

I've started work on a denim rag quilt.

Because I really need another craft to work on. And because I'm an expert seamstress and know everything there is to know about fabric, thread, and needle.

Ok, not really. (I'm guessing you knew that already.)

However, it is actually partly because I'm not an expert seamstress that I decided this might be a nice project. I'd like to learn how to sew simple things-- curtains, pillows-- possibly other little things, and this will force me to use the sewing machine long enough to learn more about how it works.

I've already learned a few new tricks over the weekend-- from Donald, who had to learn to sew in school. Maybe I should've taken home economics i…

Quilting Tips

Here are a couple of quilting tips I originally wrote about for my personal blog:

~~You quilting folk out there-- Have you considered documenting your quilts? I think it might be a fun thing to do. You could even do it digitally (in a blog, for instance), if you preferred-- but if you also like scrapbooking, it could be a fun way to combine the two interests. A quilt scrapbook. Just passing along the link. . .

~~I was also interested in this link from the same quilting info source: Used fabric softener sheets as a foundation for crazy quilt blocks. I'm still too much of a novice to think seriously about this, but maybe someday. I think a crazy quilt could be fun. It'd have to be really crazy, though-- like the one Anne sleeps under when she spends the night at the Tomgallon House-- so crazy that you're almost afraid to sleep under it. (Incidentally, before searching for the right passage just now, I never realized how many times the word "crazy" appears in…

Rag Quilting Video

Note: Here's yet another entry that I originally published on my personal blog. It seems more relevant for this blog, so I'm posting it here as well.

Here are some video clips showing how to make a denim rag quilt:

Go to HGTV's Simply Quilts "video center". Once that's loaded, search (in the video center search box-- not the search box for the whole site) for "denim fray-edged quilt". There are three clips that take you through the whole process of making a denim and cotton (or flannel) rag quilt. It's pretty helpful if you learn best by watching and listening.

If you prefer written instructions, there are quite a few options.

Denim Chenille Quilt, by Catherine Timmons
This site has very detailed, step-by-step instructions for sewing a denim and calico rag quilt. The author even explains how to cut squares from old jeans using shears and a rotary cutter. Her method looks like a good one for getting the maximum number of squares from each pair …

Scrappy Denim Rag Quilt Bag

Note: This is another excerpt from my personal blog. I think this subject matter fits better here than it did there, so I've decided to include it here, too.

The real reason I'm online is to put up a few photos of the finished rag-quilt-style bag. I did the last bits of sewing this morning, then cut it (to make the raggedy fringe), washed and dried it. I might still add a few decorative buttons and snap closure; we'll see. . . The bag is made of denim from old jeans and a green cotton button-up shirt. There's no batting or interior layer of fabric.

Here's one photo. If you'd like to see a couple more, you'll find them in my Flickr photostream.

It turned out ok-- good enough that I'll probably do more stuff like this in the future-- but I think I need to refine my sewing skills. They're pretty rough, still, and while that's not too noticeable in a design that's meant to look like it's been dragged halfway around the world and back,…

Felt Food: Red Velvet Cake Slice Pincushion

Note: This was originally posted earlier this year in my personal blog as part of a longer entry. I've snipped off the irrelevant portions.

I finally got around to uploading a few photos I took of a pin cushion I made to put along with Mom's birthday gift this year. (She has it now, so no worries about spoiling the surprise.) I made it using felt, a few glass beads, and a little "fiberfill"/stuffing.

(There are a few other photos of this on my "Felt Food" set at Flickr.)

I used a variety of websites for inspiration, but I ended up just making up my own pattern. It's pretty simple. (And I have very limited experience with needle and thread, so that's saying something!) All you really need to know is how to do a simple stitch-- the blanket stitch is a common choice.

To make it the way I did, you'll need the following:
felt in the desired colors
I just used the cheap sheets of felt you find in the craft store, but if you want to get fancy you can us…

Mission Statement (of sorts)

Though most of my crafting energy is presently diverted into polymer clay, I am also interested in a variety of other crafts. Sewing, quilting, and needle & thread crafts in general are high on that list.

I began my polymer clay blog so I'd have a place to chatter about polymer clay without totally alienating the readers of my "regular" (personal) blog. (You can only expect non-clayers to look at so many photos before they abandon ship.) Now that I'm planning to delve more frequently into the world of sewing, I figured I might as well start a new blog for that, too!

This blog is a place where I plan to share photos of my sewing-related efforts-- stories of my trials and tribulations with the sewing machine-- links to fun, useful or just generally "neat" stuff I find elsewhere on the Internet-- and (with luck) the occasional tutorial.

This will be my digital scrapbook and safeguard against my faulty memory ("Where did I find that page with the pret…