July 27, 2014

Fold-up Fabric Needle Holder

Is this thing darling, or what??

I don't know about you, but I'm always digging around in my sewing box for a needle.  Ripped seam, popped button, (heaven forbid I actually have to hand sew something, but it happens.  I do so love my sewing machine...).

My needles are usually on my magnetic pin cushion, but they are hard to find (insert joke about needle in a haystack) and I'd rather have the needles in their own, designated place.  

Now, I have this cute little fabric needle holder!  This is a quick solution, totally portable, giftable, and super simple to make!  

So here is the tutorial:

Print off the Fold-up Fabric Needle Holder pattern by clicking the link to the PDF.

The larger shape, with the tab, should be cut out and traced onto the wrong side of your choice of fabric.  You'll need two of these pieces.  One of the two pieces will need something ironed on to make it more stiff -- so before you cut the fabric, iron onto the backside: interfacing, fusible fleece, or fusible batting.  Whatever you've got handy.

With the smaller flower shape, trace and cut a piece of felt in whatever color you'd like.

Pin the two fabric pieces right sides together.  Sew with 1/4" seam allowance all the way around, but leave one side of the tab open for turning.  It's a tight fit, but it's nice to leave that straight edge for turning (see picture above).

Once it is turned right side out:
poke out all the corners/edges,
press with an iron,
tuck in the edge of the unsewn hole used for turning,
and topstitch around the whole thing 1/8" from the edge.

Place your smaller felt piece in the middle of the larger fabric flower, as shown below.  Line up the bumps and points as shown.
With a disappearing ink fabric pen (or a really light pencil mark), use a ruler to make lines between opposite inward points, as shown in red.

Sew over those marked lines, from each point straight across to the point on the opposite side - see below.  Make sure you are back-stitching at the beginning and end so the thread doesn't unravel.

In order to make it fold properly you'll need to iron the folds.
Start by placing the tab up, then fold the flower shape diagonally to one side (see below).  It will be folded along the sewn line, and the bumps of the flower should match up.
Iron the crease very very well.

Fold the shape diagonally the other direction, and iron the crease again very well.

Fold the horizontal seam backward and press with your fingers.  I didn't use an iron because I didn't want the felt to melt (which can happen if you use the felt made from recycled bottles!).

Now the seams should start to naturally fold up.  See the picture below to make your seams fold in the proper way.

Once everything is tucking in where it is supposed to (like the picture below), iron it again very well to reinforce the way it should fold.

For the closure, use a small piece of velcro on the end of the tab, and a matching piece on the back of the flower shape.  Unfold the flower shape before you sew the velcro down.  You should only be sewing through a single layer.

Add a little decorative button to the flap if you'd like, and your Fold-up Fabric Needle Holder is complete!

Stick the needles securely in the felt, and then fold it up into a cute little bundle for safekeeping.  Awesome!  This is such a quick project, you'll want to make a few for your friends.  And they will love them too!  I think I might make some of these as Christmas presents (too soon? ;) )

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July 4, 2014

Patriotic Shabby Fabric Headbands - a very quick DIY craft

Want to add a little patriotic flair to your wardrobe?!  These shabby headbands are so fast, I whipped 2 of them up for my girls in about 10 minutes!

You really only need a few, long, skinny scraps of fabric, about 1 yard long in red, white and blue.

Make a snip about 1 - 2 inches wide on the fabric you want on the base, and TEAR your fabric.  It is amazing how cool this ends up looking, and how it comes out in a straight line!  If your first tear is not straight compared to your edge, make another snip and tear again.  The grain will stay the same, but may not be in line with the manufactured/cut original edge. 

Tear a second piece, in a different color, slightly thinner than the first.
Lay them on top of eachother, so the wider one is on bottom.  If you want to taper your ends slightly, do that now with scissors.
Sew along the edge of the skinnier/top piece of fabric, leaving about 1/8" seam allowance.  Sew two or three times up each side, letting your line wave and cross to accentuate the shabby look.  I used a dark, contrasting color to add a decorative element. 

Now to add flowers.
Tear a piece of fabric about 1" wide and 1 foot long. 
Tuck the end under and start to twirl the fabric in a circle. 

You can twist the strip as you go if you want, but just make a tight little pinwheel.
Then, tuck the end under, and place it on your headband.  I dont usually put it in the middle, because I like my flowers off to the side of my head.  So maybe 1/3 of the way along your headband, place the flowers. 
I dont pin them down, I just smoosh them with the presser foot of my sewing machine.  Then, I sew in a spiraling circle all along the flower.
I twist and twist my headband, sewing the circle tighter and tighter, catching the layers of the twirly flower as I go.  Do this with 2 - 4 flowers, overlapping each flower a bit if you want, sewing each individually.  It ends up looking like this:

That is it!  So simple.
Happy 4th of July!!

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June 28, 2014

Tension Rod Puppet Theater

My middle daughter loves putting on puppet shows.  She has such an amazing imagination!  She creates scenes and characters from paper and crayons, and tapes them onto popsicle sticks to hold them up.  Her puppet shows are elaborate and her pictures are darling - it is such a treat to witness her creativity!  Usually she sits behind a chair or the couch to tell her tale.  When I saw this idea for a hanging puppet theater facade - I knew I wanted to make her one!  It hangs in a doorway or hallway with a tension rod, and is easy to put up and down.  

I already had a tension rod I wasn't using, so I went and picked up some fun fabric and got started.
2.5 yards of the main fabric was more than enough to fill the doorway.  3/4 yard of the pink fabric was for the curtain, and 1/2 yard of the blue fabric was for binding and bunting.  Bias tape would also work for binding.  

I cut off the selvage on the large piece of fabric, and zig-zag stitched the long raw edges to keep them from fraying.  On the top edge I folded it over once by 1/2" and ironed...

Then folded it over again by 3.5" and pinned it down.  I sewed 1/4" from the edge (the folded edge toward the middle of the fabric) and this created a sleeve for the tension rod to go through.

I decided where I wanted the bottom of my window, and cut the long piece of fabric off at that height.  Then, I folded that top piece of fabric in half to cut out a window right in the middle.  My window is 24" wide and 14" tall.  I used my home-made "bias tape" from the dark blue fabric to line those three raw edges.  Don't worry too much about where you put your window.  You can raise or lower the tension rod a bit if necessary.

With the remaining large piece of fabric that I cut off, I looped it just as I had the top, to create another sleeve.  I wanted a sleeve below the window so that I could put something through it to hold the bottom of the window straight.
I made the loop nice and wide at 3 inches.  Then, with right sides together, I sewed the two large pieces of fabric back together.  The piece of fabric with the window was sewn at the bottom to the remainder of the fabric with the looped edge on the top.  If you look closely at the picture below you can see what I mean.

I ended up sticking a yardstick in the sleeve, but you could use another tension rod or a dowel.  Something that will hold the middle of the fabric taught.  

To make curtains I cut the pink fabric into 2 large panels a few inches taller and collectively a few inches wider than the window.  I zig-zag stitched the edges to keep them from fraying.  I looped over the tops and sewed them to create a sleeve for a dowel, and looped over the bottoms so it would look nice.  

On the back, I sewed two tabs of fabric a few inches outside, and above, the window opening.  Through these tabs I was able to place the dowel that had the curtains hanging on it.  

This system allows the girls to open and close the curtains from the back...

On the edges of the window I sewed loops of ribbon which allow us to tie the curtains back.

Below the window I sewed a button, so that we could hang a sign from it with the title of the show!

Triangles of fabric sewn to a piece of ribbon made a quick bunting to add a little flair!

And in just a couple of hours, my little puppeteers had a theater worthy of their elaborate productions :)

It has already been really fun to listen the stories, and watch the silly shows.  My girls spend hours creating puppets and practicing their plays - which is great for these long summer days!  And another bonus - the theater folds up small and is easily put away.  No permanent structure in our small space.  

I am so happy with the way this turned out!  Even for a beginning sewer, this is a quick and satisfying project.  If your kids love putting on their own productions - this tension rod puppet theater is a must!
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June 5, 2014

Getting those t-shirts clean with White Cloud Laundry Detergent

This post brought to you by White Cloud. All opinions are 100% mine.

Now that I've made myself a t-shirt quilt, I have family members coming out of the woodworks wanting me to make one for them ;)  Both my husband and my father-in-law have started combing through their unused t-shirts and setting them aside for me - which is actually pretty cool :)
Of course, not all the t-shirts are completely clean...(and who wants to do a project with dirty fabric, right?)

Luckily, I had White Cloud Laundry Detergent to get all those stains out!  White Cloud has a new line of laundry care products that you can get at Walmart (Store Locator) - and the 3 in 1 Micro clean technology promises to get out the tough stains.
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Heaven knows how long some of these t-shirts have been sitting in their drawers.  I was worried that some of these stains wouldn't come out after sitting so long.

I mean, those are serious business, am I right?

This one has something red on it!!  I was seriously skeptical about this one coming out.
In they all went, with the White Cloud detergent.  Mine was the Blooming Lavender scent, and I liked that it wasn't overwhelming, but smelled light and fresh.  Plus, this is going to sound weird, but I really liked the cap.  It didn't drip detergent over the edge of the bottle when I was screwing it back on.  It's the little things :)

The moment of truth...

Can you believe it?!  The stains are gone!  I'm so happy.  No stains on these t-shirt quilts!

Even the red came out - phew!

Pretty white shirts again.  Awesome.

Now you can try White Cloud Laundry Detergent for yourself!  Click here for a high value coupon, and be sure to Like White Cloud on FacebookFollow White Cloud on Twitter and Follow White Cloud on Pinterest.

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