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Saturday, October 27, 2012

Snow White Apron

I wanted to duplicate this apron after seeing it on Pinterest, but it took me awhile to find just the right pattern.  Not only was the pattern just right, but it was the right price too, (under $2.00) AND it has 6 sizes - 3 child and 3 adult.  Look for A2319 - It's So Easy.  I found my pattern at Walmart.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

IPod Touch Holder for Running

This is the 3rd or 4th Touch Holder I've made for running.  The first ones only used a clear plastic piece on the front and fabric on the back.  I found that the plastic torn easily because the velcro pulled on it when the straps were tight enough to keep the unit snug.  Today I got a brain storm and made the top of the holder out of fabric and then created a "window" inside it for the plastic.  I am more confident that this design will hold up better than the previous holders.  It has an elastic band to slip over your arm to hold it on when I tighten the velcro to keep it secure.  I know a lot of runners carry their device on their upper arm, but this design is meant for your forearm or closer to your wrist. I like being able to check my stats or pause it easily.

You will need:
  • 3 pieces of cotton fabric - 4" x 6"
  • a piece of flexible, clear plastic; the type as is used for tablescloths or clothes.  It should be as big as the cotton fabric, but a bit larger is better
  • A zipper, contrasting or matching - 4 inches or longer
  • thead
  • zipper foot
  • buttonhole foot
  • zig-zig foot
  • 10 inches of soft velcro cut into 5 inch lengths
  • a piece of  2" wide, soft elastic large enough to overlap about  an inch when placed around your arm. (It doesn't have to be snug.  The elastic holds it steady while the velcro keeps it snug
  • scotch tape
  • traced shape on paper of the outside of the touch (it's an oval 2.5 x 4.5 with rounded edges.

 Take two of the fabric pieces, right sides together, and place the traced shape in the center.  Sew around the shape through both pieces of fabric.

 Cut the center out, and bring the wrong sides together.  Pin the edges together and press with an iron.

 Place the plastic over the fabric "frame" and stitch in place.  If your plastic is larger than the frame it's a little easier to stitch in place.  If you stitch with the plastic touching the machine foot, you'll need to use a teflon foot.  You can also stitch with the plastic on the bottom of the frame and that works well too and you won't need a special foot.  If you find the plastic sticking, place a piece of tissue paper under between the plastic and the surface to which it is sticking.
Trim the plastic even with the outside of the frame.

 Take the third piece of fabric, and stitch a buttonhole in the bottom, left side, about 1 inch from the edge, for the headphone connection to fit through.  If your headphones have an angle connection, you'll need a larger hole than if the connection is straight.  Open the buttonhole with a sharp scissors.

Stitch the wide elastic in the center of the back piece going from one short side to the other.

Close the elastic by over-lapping the ends and then zig-zag the edges to keep the elastic from fraying.  I opted to not put the edges together because I didn't want to have a "lump".

To recap where we are:  The front is complete with a clear, plastic window.  The back has a buttonhole for the earphone to connect into the Touch, and there's a wide elastic band stitched to the back to slip over your arm for safety and to make closing the velcro (not stitched in place yet) easier.

Time to add the zipper.  Lay the zipper, right side down on the right side of the top (frame). I used the plastic side as my right side to protect my device from sprinklers or an unexpected rain. Stitch in place.  Turn the zipper right side up and lay the back fabric, right side down.  Match the edges, and stitch.

 When you open up both sides, the zipper will be in the middle and it should look like this.  You can trim your zipper if it's a little long.  Just make sure you hand stitch across the teeth while the zipper is closed to create a stop for the zipper pull.

 This is the trickiest part of the project.  Take each piece of velcro, and lay them on top of the frame.  The hook pieces will be on one side and the loop on the other.  I like to bring the hook to the back and loop from the back to the front when attaching it to wear.  It's a personal preference.  However, the hook tape faces DOWN when being attached.  The loop tape will face UP when being attached.  A zipper foot comes in handy to stitch them on since the seams are only about 1/4 of an inch.

Fold up the velcro and use removable scotch tape to hold them out of the way. Open the zipper so the holder can be turned right side out when all sides are stitched. It's also helpful to fold up the elastic to keep it out of the way for the next step.

With right sides together, stitch the front and back together on all three sides. Turn your new holder right side out.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Make-up Bag Project

It's been ages since I've posted anything, but never fear, I've not been idol.  Most of my projects have been duplicating items seen on Pinterest.  I saw a very nice make-up bag, and wanted to make a couple to give as gifts to friends with whom we will be staying this month.  I added a beautiful embroidery design from, but it took three attempts to get it right.  Actually, bag one was a challenge since I foolishly decided to line it with plastic.  That caused some interesting moments when I needed to turn it right side out.  The most disappointing point was finding that I'd stitched the design too far down from the edge and it ended up on the bottom of the bag.  Bag two is a bit on the large side, and I wish I'd used a darker pink thread for the letter on bag three.

For complete directions for making this bag, go to

Just remember to center the embroidery so that the top edge is about 2 inches from the zipper edge.  It's easier to stitch the embroidery first and then assemble the bag.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Fish Extender

Disney fans are famous for decorating their hotel rooms and campgrounds, so it seems logical that on a cruise, they'd find some way to decorate their cabin doors.  This one is a prototype for a set that I may be making for guests taking a Disney cruise in January 2013 on the Disney Dream.

Fish Extenders get their names from the fish-shaped hook that is outside cabin doors.  They are initially used by the crew to leave messages, but of course, Disney fans can't just have a hook.  Besides a place for messages, passengers also leave surprise gifts for friends and family.  In case you're interested, this one measures  about 15 5/8 by 8 inches.  My original design was for one much larger, but I noticed from pictures on Google, that the space, in which the fish extender would hang, is not very big.

Our name using nautical flags.

The base, made of black denim, is 17 1/2" x 8".  The pockets are rectangles (11.5" x 10"),  interfaced, and  sewed into 5 inch tubes.  I sewed the edges if each pocket even with the edge of the base.  Since the tube is much longer than the base, I made a pleat about 1/2 inch from the edge so that the bias strip I used to finish the edge, did not catch the pleat.  

I surged the top edge, and folded it over 1 1/2 inches to make the pocket for the rod from which to hang it.  The rod was a small dowel rod with wooden balls glued on.  Of course the rod was too wide for the smaller balls I wanted to use, and was too small for the larger balls I had on hand.  Several layers of duct tape wrapped around the dowel rod before attaching the balls solved that issue.

The bias strips to finish the edges were 1 1/2 inch wide.

I couldn't find white ribbon with red polka dots.  Instead I used plain white ribbon and added tiny dots of red glitter paint for dots before forming the bow.  Works for me!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Plush Grocery Bag Holder

Plastic Grocery Bag Holder

I have many, in the minds of most people, waaaay too many, Disney plush dolls in my sewing room.  I decided to put at least one of them to good use by making a bag holder for it.  I opted to use Minnie because I had pink fabric that would make a great “dress”.

  • 1 piece of fabric - 18 wide by 17 inches long
  • 4 pieces of matching fabric 6 wide  x 4 ½ tall
  • Thread
  • 2 small buttons
  • 10 inches of ¼ inch elastic
  • 1 - 10 inch plush doll or animal

I drew up this pattern for the bodice.  

Cut out 4 bodices, and sew the sides together so that you have a front and a back together, and then another front and back together.  Use a ¼ inch seam allowance.

Fit one bodice inside the other, right sides together, and sew a ¼ inches seam along the arms and neckline.  Leave  the bottom of the bodice open.

Clip the curves and turn the bodice right-side out.

Sew buttonholes on the top of two of the shoulder tabs either on the front or the back of the bodice.

Making the bottom of the tube:

Starting one inch from the bottom, stitch the rectangle together to form a tube using ¼ inch seam.  Stop 7 inches from the top.

Where the tube is still open at the top and  bottom, fold the fabric over ¼ inch and stitch the fabric down.  This will form an opening into which you can enter and exit the casing for the elastic and an opening at the top into which you can put bags into the holder.

Fold the bottom to the inside, ¼ inch, press, and then fold it down again ½ inches.  Stitch along the folded edge, close to the fold.  You now have a casing for the elastic.

Thread the elastic into the casing using a safety pin to help guide you or a bodkin.  Use a safety pin to hold the elastic so it doesn’t come past the opening where you started. 

Fold a small piece of matching scrap fabric over the ends of the elastic.  Stitch in place.  Let the elastic slide into the casing.  The matching fabric will hold the ends together, but you won’t see where they were connected because the fabric matches the casing.

Using a long gathering stitch, stitch along the top of the bag, 1/4 inch from the edge.  Stitch another row of long stitches ½ inch from the edge.  Tie together the ends of all four threads at one end.  At the other end, pull two of the threads, from the same side of the fabric, to make gathers along the edge. 

Leave the bag section, right side out, and turn the bodice section inside out.  Pull the gathers to fit inside the bodice.  Adjust the gathers to fit evenly inside the bodice, and sew, all layers together, between the two rows of gathers.  If you are making this as a gift, you may want to sew the bag section to just the outside of the bodice and then turn the lining to the inside and hand stitch the lining down to cover the seam.

In several places, snip the row of stitching that is showing on the outside of the bag.  On the inside of the bag, pull the corresponding thread to the row of stitching you just snipped, and remove the extra row of gathering.

Sew the buttons to the tabs across from each button hole and you’re ready to dress your teddy bear, plush or whatever and pull them to good use.

I didn’t want to sew anything to Minnie, so I opted to just tie a string around her body, and hang her from the string.  The bodice on the dress hides the string.

Toddler Bib

I have given many bibs to new moms, but I rarely give exactly the same design more than twice.  I started out using washcloths with bias tape around the neck area and for closing.  I've also used terrycloth to make my own shapes.  These require serging the edges or using fabric to back the bib so the edges are stitched between the front and back.  Although very absorbent, I'm not sure that this wouldn't require a lot of dryer time.  So, today I tried this version.  I started with my all-time favorite, the washcloth, and just added the curved top.

I did my embroidery first.

Using a bib pattern that I found on-line years ago, I used just the top portion.  The pattern didn't quite go to the outside of the washcloth, so I just curved it out a bit and added a bit for a seam allowance.

Cut two tops, and with the right sides together, stitch the tops together.

I used a 1/4 inch seam, but I could have been a bit more generous with my seam allowance.
The pattern shows a triangle cut-out instead of just snipping around the curves.  I found that the cut-outs do work better though tedious to make.

Turn the top right side out.

Lay the front edge of the top along the top of the washcloth, right sides together.  Using 5/8 inch seam, sew just one layer of the top to the top edge of the washcloth.

Fold the top over the back, and turn the raw edge in.

Pin the back to match the front, and top-stitch to close.  I also choose to top-stitch around the whole top.

Add a strip of hook and stick tape (Velcro) to the top of one flap and the bottom of the other.

I'm not clever enough to include the pattern I used for the top.  Email me if you'd like a copy.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Baby Closet Organizer

This is not rocket science, but keeping up with the baby clothes that fit and those that are a bit too big....and then become too small before they even get used, can sometimes feel like something akin to rocket science.  I recently found an embroidery design that creates little disks; like those used in department stores.  I purchased the design, but deleted it in error before I got a chance to use it.  Unfortunately, the website where I found it, doesn't track purchases made while under a membership.  Since my membership was for 1 week, I was out of luck.  Floriani digitizing program to the rescue!  I think my design is actually even better than the original.  I haven't included instructions to make the organizers, but if you are interested, and have an embroidery machine, I'm willing to share my design.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Make-up Tools Holder

Make-up Tools Holder

The make-up industry keeps coming up with different brushes and tools to apply make-up.  If you’ve acquired as many tools as I have to put on make-up, you know how annoying it can be to pull out just the right one in a jumbled bag.  My exasperation became my inspiration for a roll-up holder for brushes, pencils, and lipstick.  My design travels well and washes easily.  I never leave a tool behind anymore.


 2 pieces of cotton fabric – 10 x 17 inches – they can be the same color or complementary
  • thread
  • Elastic hair band
  • scissors

Sew the fabric, right sides together and leave one small opening to turn the fabric right side out.  Clip the corners, and turn right-side out. (I opted to embroider my initials on the outside fabric.  I did this before stitching the front and back together.)

Baste the opening closed and press the rectangle, making sure the sides and corners are pulled out.  Topstitch around the rectangle if desired.

Fold up the bottom end, wrong sides together, to make a 4 inch pocket.

Stitch along the sides through all fabrics.

This is where you have to decide on your own how wide to make each section based on the tools you have in your make-up bag.  Two of my sections are 2 inches wide.  Two others are just under an inch, and the last two are each about 1 ½ inches wide.  Mark the stitching lines and sewing from the top of the pocket to the bottom fold.

To use, place your brushes and tools in the sections, fold the top section down to cover your tools, and roll it up.  An elastic hair band, the kind that are usually wrapped, make a great closure.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Summer Backpack

If you've ever carried a dark-colored purse in the Summer, you know that dark colors absorb heat. With this in mind, I went looking for a white backpack to use at theme parks.  No such animal existed, so I made my own.  Last Spring I made my first bag.  It was a success till the string broke two weeks ago.  Since it also had an ink stain from a leaking pen, I opted to make a new backpack, but this time, I added a pocket on the inside for smaller items that tend to get lost once several items are placed in the main section of the backpack.  Use my directions to make your own.  The designs were embroidered using a Brother embroidery machine, but you can use your imagination to make your bag "yours".

  • 1 yd of sport nylon (it's more than enough for 1 bag, but not quite large enough for 2)
  •  12 inch nylon zipper
  • thread
  • 3 1/2 yards of 1/16 in. twist cord
  • 2 sets of large eyelets
  • 1 inch square of leather or non-raveling         ribbon or fabric
  • small scraps of interfacing or stabilizer


Cut two pieces of sport nylon  1 - 20 long  x 18 wide  and 1- 18x18

Inserting the Zipper:
Fold the 20 x 18 piece in half and stitch 1 inch seam along the fold across the fabric.  Smaller stitches can be used at the beginning of the seam for about 2 inches, longer stitches in the middle, and smaller at the end.  This seam will eventually be cut open for the zipper, so if the stitches are not so tight, it will be easier to open the seam.  The ends of the seam will not be opened, so they can be tighter.

Cut along the fold and lay the seam flat.

Lay the zipper, face down, and center it along the seam.

Using a zipper foot, stitch the zipper in place.  My actual bag did have better stitching around the zipper.

Using a seam ripper, carefully open the seam JUST over the front of the zipper.

I'm right handed, so I prefer to have the zipper open from right to left.  Turn the top in the direction in which you want to open the zipper and mark it with a sticky dot, or if you intend to decorate the front, now would be a good time to do so.

Forming the Outside Zipper Pocket:
Measure the distance from the raw edge of the seam to the bottom of the bag.  It should be about 9 inches, but it's better to measure, than just cut the fabric for the zipper pocket.  The width of this piece will be the same as the bag; 18 inches.  In the photo, you can see, my zipper pocket piece ended up much closer to 10 inches.

Lay top of the zipper seam even with the rectangle you just cut.  Stitch along the top, catching the zipper, one layer of the outside fabric, and pocket fabric, about 1/4 inch.  Stitch again using a zig-zag stitch or overcast stitch.  Sport nylon ravels if you look at it, so overcasting the seams will extend the life of your backpack.  Better yet, if you have a serger, stitch along all the edges before you assemble.

Stitch along the sides and bottom to close the pocket.  I added a side seam from the edge of the zipper to the bottom.  I wanted to make it impossible for small items to move to the far corners of the pocket.

Use a piece of sport nylon to make a pocket for the inside.  My wallet is more rectangular than square, so I cut it about 7.5 inches long by 5.5 inches deep.  Hem the pocket on all three sides and use a narrow hem foot finish the top.  If you don't have a narrow hem foot, just fold over the edge twice and stitch the fold.  Basically, you want a finished edge.

Place the inside pocket piece just slightly below the center on the backpack back piece (18x18), and stitch along the bottom of the pocket.  Move the sides of the pocket in about 1/4 inch so that the pocket gaps a bit. Stitch down each side.  The gap makes it easier to place something in the pocket and prevents the back from being pulled out of shape.  Now stitch along the three sides again, but this time, make sure you are just to the left of the raw edge which you may just see through the pocket.  This encases the raw edge and gives a bit more strength to the pocket.

Notice that the sides do not form a 90 degree angle.  They angle in just a tad to give the pocket a gap.

Assembling the bag:
Place the right sides of the front and back together.  Trim the bottom edges so they are even. Stitch 1/2 inch seams along the sides and bottom.  Serge or overcast the seams.

Serge or overcast the raw edge of the top of the bag.

Making the cord openings:
Measure down from the raw edge of the bag 1 1/2 inches.  Sew large button holes (an inch or so), parallel to the raw edge, on either side of each side seam.   The buttonholes will be the opening through which the cords will enter and exit the casing.

Making the cord casing:
With the bag right-side out, fold the top to the inside 1 inch.  The buttonholes will be showing on the outside of the bag.  Stitch along the raw edge.

Fold the nylon cord in half, and wrap the cord with clear tape.  The tape keeps the cord from fraying while putting it through the casing.  Cut the cord in half over the tape.

Thread the cord through the casing, starting at one end and ending up at the buttonhole next to where you started. A bodkin is handy for this, but a safety pin will do.  Thread the second piece of cording the same way, but start at the opposite side of the backpack.

Fold a 2 inch piece of  of interfacing or stabilizer and place it inside the bag,  between the front and back of the bag near the zipper.  Make a large buttonhole through all layers of the bag near the outside edge.  It will need to be large enough to fit the center of the eyelet.  Using the tools suggested on the package, attach the eyelets to the bag.  You could skip the button hole, but I thought this would keep the eyelet from tearing through.

Thread the cords through the eyelets.  Adjust the length of the cords for comfort.  You can tie a large knot at the end of the cord, or fold a piece of leather, or other fabric that won't ravel, over the cords and stitch across the cords several times.