Sunday, December 28, 2008

CPSIA wants your comments - this includes an E-mail address to send your comment. Please make your voice heard. This legislation affects you in a big way if you sell your craft.
Request for Comments and Information*
Mandatory Third-Party Testing for Certain Children’s Products Section 102 of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (“CPSIA”)
The Commission staff invites comments on Section 102 of the CPSIA, Mandatory Third-Party Testing for Certain Children’s Products. The staff requests comments specifically on third-party testing of component parts.
Here is the Fashion Incubator's link page to information on their site regarding CPSIA.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Re-emphasizing an important piece of legislation that affects you

You can read the first post about this consumer safety law that goes into effect in February; it makes you a felon if you sell or give clothing for children under the age of 12.
There are several people feeling they will go out of business on that day. Are you one of them? Please educate yourself and rally - soem lobbying is in order. It's as if the government agency has said "You didn't bring enough gum for the whole class so no one gets to chew it." A blanket is being tossed over the home sewist's world and it's a very expensive one to remove if you have to test every single item you use. My question to legislators is - "If I purchase fabric and accessories that have been tested, why do I have to pay to have the finished product tested as well?" It's cost prohibitive and I doubt many people will be able to keep up.
Here is a good blog post from Zingo Tots.
For more comprehensive information, here is a Google search link to the topic.
Write to your local and state and federal lawmakers. This law is not necessarily a good thing the way it is written now.

On the 27th day of Christmas...

Kwanzaa began December 26. You can create a Kinara with felt and cord (or other fabrics you may have that would work) and have your child "light" the candles by adding the fabric flame backed with Velcro. If you'd like to learn a little about Kwanzaa, click here.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

On the 23rd Day of Christmas...

Here's a quickie project you can do using an old pair of jeans. Cut a bit of fabric and insert it into an old pair of jeans that you've reconstructed ever so slightly, and you have yourself a denim skirt with flair.  The author prefers hand sewing, but you can use your machine for a more polished look. This can be made for anyone at all from any size jeans. You can piece the insert with several fabrics if you like. Upcycle that old holy kneed pair of jeans! Keep or give as a gift. (Alternative directions)
You can never have too many denim skirts and what better way to get one than to recycle jeans with worn knees.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Project - Fabric book cover

After completing this project, you will have a fabric cover for a standard paperback book. This particular book cover was made with prequilted fabric, a button closure, and a standard paperback book, but could easily be adapted to use nonquilted fabric (either layered with batting or not), a Velcro closure, and any size book at all. Both machine and hand stitching are employed.For this project, WS = wrong side, RS = right side, WST = wrong sides together, RST = right sides together.

Gather supplies for your pattern making. We used a standard paperback, paper, scissors, a pencil and a ruler.

Place your book, face down, on the paper and trace around the edges of the front cover with your pencil. Turn the book up on its spine, and trace the width of the spine. Turn the book so that the back is face down and trace this cover with your pencil as well.

Remove the book and you will have a large rectangle. This is the basic pattern from which you will be working.

It is a good idea to doublecheck the size of the pattern with the edge of your book before moving forward.

Duplicate the original pattern. Measure 3" in from either edge and mark off a rectangle with the three edges of the book and the now-inside edge of what will be the inside flap. The picture has darkened lines where the flap pattern is marked. You will require two of these.

On the full pattern, mark the center of the back cover for the placement of the flap closure (optional). In the picture, this area is enclosed in a circle for you to be able to see where it goes.

The flap closure pattern is made by creating a 7" x 2" rectangle. On one end of the rectangle, mark the center of the width (1" mark). Make a mark 1" down on both sides of the rectangle. Draw a line from the center of the width of the top to each of the 1" marks on the sides, thus making a pointed bookmark type closure pattern. You will require two of these plus one of batting. (This piece is totally optional.)

Pin pattern pieces to your fabric. Again, in our project, we used quilted fabric, but if you use fabric without quilting, you will need two layers of fabric and one of batting if you would like the cover to have some body. Cut one main pattern, two inside flaps, and two flap closures (they will be sewn together and turned).

Additional supplies you may need are bias tape of your choice and a button. Velcro or a hook/eye closure would work as well.

For the flap closure, using two pieces of fabric and one of batting, layer the three pieces RS up, RS down, and batting. (RS should be together in this sandwich and the batting should be on the WS of one of the fabrics.)

Pin and sew in a 1/4" seam, pivoting at corners, and leaving the non-tapered end open for turning.

Trim the seam and clip the corners. Turn and finger press.

Top stitching is optional. We chose to use it.

Mark and make a button hole about 1/2" to 1" from the end of the flap closure (or tack a bit of Velcro to the back side of the flap).

Pin flap closure RST on the back of the book cover. Set this part of the project aside for a bit.

Finish one edge of front facings with bias tape or by turning under and stitching in place.

If using bias tape, stitch RST and turn to WS, pin, and then topstitch the bias tape in place.

Pin facings RST on book cover fabric, encasing the end of the flap closure. Sew around the whole book cover in a 1/4" to 1/2" seam.

Serge the seam or trim, clipping the corners for smooth turning.

Turn and finger press. Do not top stitch. Finger press/turn down the top and bottom seams on the cover between the end flaps, pin, and hand stitch into place.

Insert your book and mark the button spot on the front cover, remove the book, and sew on the button. Leave enough leeway to allow for a bit of a smaller or a bit of a larger book.

Step back and smile. Look at what you made! Give it as a gift or keep it for youself, either way, there you have it, your completed fabric book

Originally created for and posted on in December 2001, when I was doing all the projects for that site.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

For the 20th Day of Christmas...

Hannukah begins at sundown on December 21. Here are some very simple cup mats you can make with your children. The traditional colors used in most fabrics and designs that are created for Hanukkah are blue and white, so you can be creative in your choice of fabrics. These are created with wool felt, but you can use fabric and batting instead. Cut the fabric and batting with pinking shears and use the simple stitching as shown in the example with your fabric/batting/fabric sandwich.

Friday, December 19, 2008

On the 19th Day of Christmas...

Here's a pretty sewing machine cover to make as a gift for a friend or for yourself. You don't have to use the fabric designs that they call for; you can use scraps that you have already. This should fit just about any sewing machine around.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

On the 18th Day of Christmas...

Okay, get yourself some stretchy fabric and make up some baby caps. They'd make a great last minute gift idea and you probably have knit fabric hanging around the house already.
This is a great site with a lot of free baby clothes patterns on it, but the cap looks so easy!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

On the 17th Day of Christmas...

I had to make about 100 tote bags in a week for a special project for a local nonprofit. They wanted them simple and big enough to hold a notebook. I made up a pattern as I went along, but here's essentially what I did on LazyGirlDeigns's site. I used all sorts of different fabrics, sometimes adding a pocket, sometimes adding binding around the top and sometimes not. This is about the simplest tote around, so you can use it as a faux gift wrap and gift in one. Make them for kids to use as library bags. I would suggest double stitching the seams and/or serging them for strength.
If you like a more "traditional" tote, you can use this pattern from Make It Easy.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Second Christmas Dress Done!

I finished the second of two dresses that I'm donating this year. You can see the first dress here. And below are the photos of the second one. I kind of like the first one better, but the bottom line is some little girl somewhere is going to have two Christmas dresses for her 18" doll.

Friday, December 12, 2008

On the 13th day of Christmas...

What did my true love bring to me this time? Yet another way to make gift tags. Besides our gift tag project right here on, you can make gift tags and/or ornaments with countertop samples.
Go to Lowe's or another home store and pick up countertop samples. They're just the right size for something like this. You can use them as tags that double as ornaments! Glue fabrics on both sides, decorate them as snowmen as shown, or paint them with paint or markers. Lots of possiblities here!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

On the 11th day of Christmas....

What a cool project we have to share with you today! Check out this scarf!
This is the most amazing recycled fabric idea. Make a scarf out of strips of fabric. It can be beautiful and warm, decorative and functional. The method used here can be the inspiration for table throws and airy curtains. The artist used one type of washaway stabilizer, but you can use whatever you like. Before I knew there was washaway stabilizer, I used notebook paper or whatever I had on hand and tore it off when I was done. The little bits of paper eventually washed away on their own. Regardless, what a great idea for holiday fabric scraps or everyday colorful fabrics. (Photo from the original project site.)

Friday, November 28, 2008

Gift Tags using Wonder Under and Card Stock

Making Gift Tags, Fusing Fabric to Paper
Originally posted on in May 2002, when I was content manager for their site.

This How-To is an easy, no-sew project which we think you'll like. Utilizing your stash fabrics; some scraps of ribbon, cording, or other loop-making material; some Wonder-Under; and your imagination, we'll make beautiful, custom gift tags which your gift recipients will ooh and ahh over for years. You can expand on the concepts used here to make greeting cards as well.

This is what our tags will look like at the end of our project. The materials are few. Other than those pictured, you'll need scissors and a hole punch.

The primary materials used are Wonder-Under or another brand of fuse paper-to-fabric bonding, a sheet of card stock or decorative paper (we used decorative paper), and a piece of fabric about the same size as the paper.

Place the paper on the Wonder-Under and cut a piece of Wonder-Under the size of the paper.

Place the paper on the fabric scrap and cut the fabric to match the size of the paper.

Place the Wonder-Under shiny side down on the wrong side of the fabric. Fuse to the fabric following manufacturer's directions using a dry iron. (Steam feature should be off.)

After the Wonder-Under cools to about room temperature, begin peeling it from the corner. Make sure the "sticky part" stays on the fabric and does not come off wtih the backing paper.

Continue to peel slowly until all of the backing paper has been removed. Discard backing paper.

Place the fabric sticky side down/right side up on the card stock or decorative paper and iron the Wonder-Under per the manufacturer's instructions to fuse the fabric and paper together. Remember to have the steam feature of your iron off.

Turn the project over and mark the paper into 9 fairly equal parts. At this point, you can actually make the tags whatever size you like; we preferred the size created with dividing the paper into 9. (Lines enhanced for photo; pencil will do fine.) You can also freehand cut designs rather than rectangles. Use circles or other shapes that suit your tastes.

Cut along the lines with regular or pinking shears (or other decorative scissors).

Fold the tags in half either diagonally or horizontally. Again, you can use your imagination at this point and create shapes that please you if  you want something different. Use your decorative scissors, too, for creating interesting edges.

Position the hole puncher in a suitable position. We chose the corner at the top of the tags.

Punch a hole in each tag.

Measure about 7" of trim, cord, ribbon, or other suitable material. Cut enough lengths to have one for each tag.

Put one end of the string through the hole in the tag.

Pull the string through so that the ends meet.

Tie a knot in the string near the ends.

Pull the knot taut.

Write a greeting in your completed tag.

You can also use the tags as place markers for a dinner by standing them on end, and perhaps writing a guest's name on the inside.

When all else fails, spread out your project, take a picture, and smile!

Fusing fabric to paper can be used for a variety of no sew crafts. Using the same principles, you can fuse designs from fabric onto card stock and make custom greeting cards. There are fabric to paper adhesives besides Wonder-Under that can be used, but we liked the control of the iron on, as well as the ability to draw on the paper backing before cutting a shape out of the paper/fabric materials.
Other ideas might be to create signs by fusing fabric to wood, paintings and mosaics with fabric fused to paper or stock, and as with most ideas, the possibilities are endless and limited only by your imagination. Consider taking a bit of design out of your baby's curtain fabric to make a decoration for the wall or baby announcements to send to friends.
Feel free to comment and ask questions.

How to Make a Christmas Stocking

A Christmas stocking. What could be a nicer item to make for a family member, a friend, a pet, or to sell? This project will cover from start to finish how to make a strip pieced/string quilted stocking. Some people use strip piecing and string quilting interchangeably. We'll use the term strip primarily to explain the method. Get your holiday fabrics, a bit of batting (we used a recycled mattress pad), and trims together. You may want a rotary cutter, mat, and ruler, or you can use scissors, a ruler, marker, or whatever tools you have at your disposal. The goal is to have fun and make something that looks a lot more intricate and difficult than it really is. This is a project I originally designed for in November 2002, while providing content for their site. As with all of the projects on, this is a jumping off place. Use your imagination and natural creativity, along with materials and fabrics you have on hand, and go nuts!

Cut a lining for your stocking using a stocking shape of your choice. You can use a traditional sock shape or use a fancy boot shape. It's up to you.

You also need to cut a back fabric. We're going to strip piece the front onto the lining you cut in the previous step.

Using your stocking pattern or the back piece cut previously (or both), cut a piece of lining. We used a recycle mattress pad. You can use batting, a light towel, a receiving blanket, or other material of your choice.

Choose three or four fabrics to cut into strips.

Using your rotary cutter and ruler, cut 2" strips of each fabric. You can also use scissors. An alternative is to cut irregular width strips.

Choose a fabric for the top trim of your stocking. We chose the same fabric as the back of the stocking.

Cut a 2" strip long enough to go across the width of the stocking. Set aside.

Layer your fabric so that you have your lining on the bottom, the filler second, and place your first strip right side up on the batting for the top. The direction you want would like the strips to run (diagonally, horizontally, etc.) is determined by the direction of this first strip.

Add the next strip of fabric face down (right sides together) on the first strip.

Stitch through the two strips, the batting, and the lining in a 1/4" seam fron one side of the stocking to the other.

Turn the top strip (the one that was right side down) over, showing the two strips right side up, and finger press.

Place another strip of fabric face down (right sides together) on the strip prior sewn. Sew your seam and then turn the strip up, finger pressing once more.

Pin the top trim fabric right side up on your stocking. Do not sew it down.

Continue sewing strips until you reach the trim piece on the top of the stocking.

Turn the top strip (the one that was right side down) over, showing the two strips right side up, and finger press.

Place another strip of fabric face down (right sides together) on the strip prior sewn. Sew your seam and then turn the strip up, finger pressing once more.

Move the trim piece out of the way as you sew strips closer to the top.

You will sew this piece down later. Right now, it's serving mainly as a guide.

Return to the bottom half of the stocking and sew strips in the same order as you have been using until you reach the toe. Make sure your strips are long enough by trying them right side up in the position they will held after being sewn, then put them right sides together with the prior strip to which you are sewing it.

The strips will probably extend beyond the edges of the stocking. That's okay. We're going to trim them up in the next few steps.

Temporarily remove the top trim piece that you had pinned in place.

Trim the top strips which extend what will be under the top strip.

Turn the stocking over and using the lining fabric as your guide, stitch about a 1/8" seam around the strip pieced stocking top.

Trim the excess fabric from around the edges of the stocking top.

If you would like to add bits of lace or other trims to your stocking, this is the time to do it, before we put the stocking together.

We used lace, rick rack, and ribbon, stitching in the ditch of each seam.

Place the top trim piece right sides together on the stocking front.

the top trim piece with a 1/4" seam, turn it so it faces right side up, and finger press. If you would like to add trim to the top piece, you can do that now. We used silver rick rack to match trim on the stocking.

Place the stocking front and stocking back right sides together.

Stitch around the stocking (do notsew the top closed) in a 1/4" seam.

Serge the seam allowance if you can. If not, trim it with pinking shears or regular scissors.

You can use any bias tape that you like; we chose a store-bought piece. Place it around the top edge of the whole stocking.

Stitch the bias tape in place with complementary thread.

Cut a small piece of trim to make your hanger with. We used a bit of silver rick rack.

Stitch the hanger onto the stocking in an appropriate location.

Voila! A Christmas stocking.

Below are a few other stockings I've made over the years. They're shown as examples. You can let your imagination be your guide and use any fabric, any trim, any shape, any design. There are no rules. Have fun and make someone happy with their own one of a kind Christmas stocking!