Day Seven: Fringed Scarf & Throw

On the Seventh Day of Sewing…

We are giving the sewing machine a break again today and making a simple, but very cozy, fringed scarf. On trend for the cool weather, this scarf can be made from a warm flannel, wool or other plush woven. Anything that is soft and warm and that you can separate and pull the threads to make fringe. We have found there is something very therapeutic about fringing fabric- once you start, you just want to keep going- Fringed scarves for all!

Fringed Mammoth Flannel Scarf

Fringed Mammoth Flannel Scarf

For our scarf, we cut a square of this wonderfully thick Mammoth flannel. It is roughly 44″ wide, so start with 1-1/4 yards. Next, cut off both selvages and square up the piece. It is very important that the grain of your fabric be square, otherwise when you go to fringe the edges, your fringe will be all different lengths and will end up crooked.

Close up of one corner on fringed scarf.

Close up of one corner on fringed scarf.

Once you have your piece all squared up, carefully start separating the threads at one corner (Note: If you need a little help getting started or along the way, the point on a good seam ripper can be very handy). You will basically unweave the fabric along the edges. Get a thread or two, going one direction, separated from the rest and pull them all the way out. Repeat this process a couple threads at a time until the fringe is the desired length. We gave all four sides of our scarf 1″ fringe. Note: If you wanted to add fringe to a particular side- take care to only pull/remove the edge threads running parallel to the desired side.

For the flannel that we used, we didn’t find it necessary to secure the threads in any way due to the tightness of the weave. If you feel your fabric might continue to unravel, use a row of short machine stitches just above your fringe to secure things in place and prevent any further separation.

Completed fringed flannel scarf.

Completed fringed flannel scarf.

Like I said, fringing can be very addicting- after completing our cozy plaid scarf, we took this “project” a step farther and created a soft throw to use during the holiday season. Again, we only used 1-1/4 yards, creating a throw approximately 45″ x 58″ (Note this was a wider fabric). You can make your scarf or throw any size and the fringe any length- it is all personal preference and what will suit your desired use or look. Our official “Blog Dog,” Toby, kind of adopted the finished tartan throw as his own… he loves anything that is soft and cuddly that he can snuggle up with! Guess I know what he is getting for Christmas…

Fringed throw with our official "Blog Dog."

Fringed throw with our official “Blog Dog.”

Either of these projects would make great gifts this holiday season. And so easy to finish when you have some down time- a perfect TV or movie project!

Happy Sewing!

P.S. December 7th Only! Save 20% on All Plaids and our Favorite Seam Ripper is just $3.50 Shop Here

Day Six: Tote Bag

On the Sixth Day of Sewing…

We took inspiration from one of our favorite fabrics in the shop. This tape measure canvas has been calling to us for some time now to make it into a tote bag and today was the perfect day to do just that. You can never have too many tote bags- especially adorable ones like this! An easy project to complete in just a few hours, this handy tote bag would make a great handmade gift for anyone on your list.

Gift Idea: Canvas Tote Bag

Gift Idea: Canvas Tote Bag

Here are our instructions and tips for sewing this amazing tote bag. It includes one of our favorite methods for bag construction- a bit unusual but it will change you sewing life! At least it did for us when we first learned it.

Tote Bag Tutorial:

Note: All seam allowances are 3/8″ unless otherwise noted.

1. Gather your supplies- cutting tools, matching thread and fabric amounts listed below:

  • 2/3 yd for bag exterior- we prefer canvas or other durable fabric (you can take a lighter fabric and fuse interfacing to the wrong side to strengthen it)
  • 5/8 yd for bag lining- this can be any weight woven
  • 1/4 yd for bag contrast- canvas or other durable fabric is preferred
  • 1/3 yd for bag handles- canvas or other durable fabric is preferred
  • Fabrics used here: Measuring Tape Canvas, Plaid Sateen, Brushed Twill Magenta, Cotton Twill Black

2. Cut out your pieces.

  • Cut (2) 18″ squares from exterior fabric
  • Cut (2) 18″ squares from lining fabric
  • Cut (2) 7″ x 18″ rectangles from contrast fabric
  • Cut (4) 2-1/2″ x 27″ from handle fabric
Cut tote bag pieces.

Cut tote bag pieces.

3. If desired- fuse interfacing to the wrong side of the exterior pieces and (2) handle pieces. (We did this on ours for a more stable tote.)

4. Prepare the handles.

  • With right sides together, match up (2) handle pieces and stitch along both long sides. Carefully turn handle right side out and press. Repeat for other handle.
  • Topstitch the length of both sides of each handle using a 1/4″ seam.
  • Find the center of each handle and make a mark 2″ on either side. Fold the handle in half and stitch along the open edge between the two marks. This creates a nice hand hold.
Sewn handles.

Sewn handles.

5. Prepare other pieces.

  • Exterior and lining- cut a 2″ square out of the bottom (2) corners of each lining and exterior piece. This will be used to create the gusset/bottom of the tote during a later step.
  • Press contrast pieces in half lengthwise, wrong sides together- they should measure 3-1/2″ x 18″ when folded.
Preparing the Exterior and Lining Pieces.

Preparing the Exterior and Lining Pieces.

6. Attaching the handles.

  • Find the center of each exterior piece along the top edge. Center both handle ends along this edge, right sides together, spacing them approximately 4″ apart. Pin in place.
  • Lay a contrast piece over the top, unfolded, and pin along the top edge. The handles should now be sandwiched between the exterior and the contrast band. Stitch in place and press seam toward the exterior.
Attached Handles- between exterior and contrast

Attached Handles- between exterior and contrast pieces.

7. Attach Lining- stitch each lining piece to the opposite side of the unfolded contrast band. Press seam toward the lining. You should now have two halves of your tote that look something like this.

One half of the tote bag.

Completed one half of the tote bag.

8. Now for the cool part! Sewing the bag together.

  • Match up the two halves, right sides together and carefully pin all the way around. Take extra care to match up any seams and pin securely.
  • Stitch all four sides leaving a 4″ opening in the bottom seam of the lining for turning. Leave the (4) cut out corners unstitched.
  • Carefully press all seams open.
Sewing the two tote bag halves together.

Two tote bag halves pinned right sides together.

9. Creating the gussets.

  • At each corner, match up the raw edges and seams creating a new seam- pin carefully.
  • Stitch across each of the new seams being sure to backstitch at the beginning and end for security.

10. Turn bag right side out and tuck the lining inside the bag, folding the contrast band along the pressed fold. Topstitch around the top of the exterior fabric using a 1/8″ seam. Also topstitch each handle in place to the contrast band.

Topstitched exterior and bag handles.

Topstitched exterior and bag handles.

11. Hand stitch the opening in the lining closed and your tote bag is complete!

We hope you love this tote bag as much as we do. Isn’t that a cool way to construct a bag- two halves make a whole in a couple of easy steps! A great gift idea for fellow seamstresses, readers or really anyone who loves a good tote! Customize the fabric to suit their personality or how they will use it and this bag is sure to be a winner!

Happy Sewing!

P.S. December 6th Only! Save 20% on select twills and canvas. Plus, get 2 sets of our favorite pattern weights for just $35! Shop Here

Day Five: Ornaments

On the Fifth Day of Sewing…

During our 12 Days of Sewing there is also a special photohop on Instagram going on, organized by Rachel from House of Pinheiro. We are thrilled to be one of the her 12 Day sponsors and also very excited to join in all the fun! Yesterday’s daily theme in the hop was “Memories”– a lot of things come to mind for this but one in particular was all the memories the Christmas season brings. New ones that are created and the old ones that you get to revisit.

A few of our treasured ornaments.

A few of our treasured ornaments.

For us Christmas ornaments are filled of memories! We pick them up on trips, receive them from special people in our lives or choose them because they represent something about us. Each ornament has its own story to tell and unwrapping them and finding the perfect spot on the tree each year lets you relive all those moments.

Many of our favorite ornaments were given to us during the holiday season- some are even handmade, making them even more special. For today’s Day of Sewing post we thought we would share a few handmade ornaments of our own. Perfect for tying to the top of a present, using as a hostess gift or as a token of your appreciation for a friend or co-worker. Small treasures like these ornament are filled with love and holiday cheer making them very memorable.

Handmade Ornaments from Apparel Fabrics

Handmade Ornaments from Apparel Fabrics

Our first handmade ornament is an adorable little bird. We used a natural linen blend for the body and then used a variety of scraps for the wings. Simple but very sweet- you can even make a pair to symbolize two turtledoves. The movie, Home Alone 2, comes to mind- share one of the two doves with a friend and you will be friends forever…

Adorable Linen Bird with Tweed Wings

Adorable Linen Bird with Tweed Wings

Bird Ornament Instructions:

  • To create these adorable little birds we first cut out a pair of the bird bodies- one for each side- and two pairs of wings.
  • With right sides together, stitch around each pair of wings leaving a small opening for turning (1/4″ seam allowance). Clip your curves, turn right side out and press. Hint: One of our favorite tools to have at our ironing station is this handy double-ended turner from Clover- perfect for getting into those small points and pressing out curves.
  • Hand stitch the opening in each wing closed.
  • While the body pieces are still flat- attach the wings and the eyes to each side. You can simply use a french knot for each eye or a small bead or button.
  • Once both sides are done stitch the two pieces together, right sides together, again leaving a small opening for turning. Lightly stuff the little bird and hand stitch the opening closed.
  • Attach a small hanger or ribbon and your ornament is complete.

Have fun with the fabric choices for wings! We have used tweed, denim, flannel, etc. and they all turned out amazing.

Houndstooth Scottie Dog Ornament

Houndstooth Scottie Dog Ornament

The other ornament we wanted to share is an adorable little scottie dog.

Scottie Dog Ornament Instructions:

  • For this little guy we simply layered two pieces of our chosen fabric with a layer of batting between and cut the dog template.
  • Use a blanket stitch around the edge to hand stitch the layers together. You could use a machine but we like the more handcrafted look when we did it by hand with floss or yarn.
  • Add a hanger and you have another great ornament.

Super easy! Perfect for tweeds, boucles or other bold patterned fabrics, it is fun to experiment with texture and color!

Click Here for the templates used for each ornament.

We also started a Pinterest Board with a few other handmade ornaments we would like to try this holiday season. Be sure to check those out as well and follow along with us!

Other Handmade Ornament Inspiration on Pinterest

Other Handmade Ornament Inspiration on Pinterest

Happy Sewing!

P.S. December 5th Only! Save 20% on select tweed and boucles and one of our favorite tools, the Point to Point Turner is only $7.00 Shop Here

Day Four: Fabric Brooches

On the Fourth Day of Sewing…

Sometimes you just want to take a break from the sewing machine- After sewing all of those infinity scarves yesterday, we thought we would switch gears and do a little hand work today. We love projects that we can do while curled up on the couch with a cup of tea, while watching a favorite TV show. These fabric brooches, not only make great gifts, but can be done entirely by hand!

Holiday Gift Idea: Fabric Flower Brooches

Holiday Gift Idea: Fabric Flower Brooches

This project is a great way to use up some of your left over fabric or scraps from previous creations. If you want to add some new fabrics, you only need a 1/4 yard or so. The fun part about making these, is experimenting with different layers and textures. Try new fabrics, new combination and even mix in some other textures, like lace. Add a special button, beads or other accent to finish the look.

To make these fun little accessories all you need is a variety of fabrics, a few unique buttons, cutting tools and a needle and thread. In the following photos we used a lace fused knit from the shop- perfect texture for the “petals” on these brooches. We also used one of our favorite hand sewing tools… self-threading needles! Not only are they great for projects like this but we also love using them when tying off threads on our garments.

Here are the basic steps for creating these stunning brooches and then you can experiment with making changes here and there!

Fabric Brooch Supplies

Fabric Brooch Supplies

First, we cut our fabric into five 5″ squares. These squares can really be any size you like. You could do one layer with 5″ and then another layer with 3″ squares. Don’t be scared to try something and see how it looks. We find ourselves assembling and disassembling quite a few pins to see what we like best.

Next, we folded each square in half, then in half again and then in half again giving us a triangle that looks something like this:

Folded fabric square for one petal.

Folded fabric square for one petal.

Using a pair of very sharp scissors and holding the center point, round the top corner making a petal shape. Then, with our needle and thread, we partially unfolded the petal and refolded it so it was more like an accordion and stitched through all the layers at the center point.

Single threaded fabric petal.

Single threaded fabric petal.

Repeat these steps for all of your fabric squares and shape the threaded petals into your flower. If you like the desired fullness for that layer, stitch all of the petals together at the center and tie off your thread to secure them in place. If you want a bit more fullness, add a few more petals. We decided we liked how our brooch was looking and stayed with just the five petals.

Completed petals for fabric flower brooch.

Completed petals for fabric flower brooch.

Now our favorite part… adding layers. One of our favorite ways to do this is with yo-yo’s or gathered fabric circles. They are so easy to make- just a fabric circle, gathered at the edge and pulled tight- and they add a great texture and depth to projects like this. Finish it off with a button in the middle, a pin on the back and you have a gorgeous brooch!

Finished knit fused lace fabric flower.

Finished knit fused lace fabric flower.

We made a couple other brooches as well with some other fabric choices. The first one is denim with a lace circle, chambray yo-yo and finished with a button. And the second is a thick, sparkly sweater knit that didn’t need any additional layers just a beautiful button for the middle- this one is our favorite, but the photos just don’t quite do it justice!

Other completed fabric flower brooches- great gifts!

Other completed fabric flower brooches- great gifts!

Now time for you to get those creative juices flowing and create your own stunning brooches. Don’t forget to make one for yourself and wear it to some of your holiday events this season. You are sure to have people asking you one of our favorite questions- “Where did you buy that?”

Happy Sewing!

P.S. December 4th Only! Save 20% on select bottom weights and Self Threading Needles are just $4.00 Shop Here

Day Three: Infinity Scarves

On the Third Day of Sewing…

We are revisiting the subject of scarves from Day One. If you are looking for more of a fashion statement than overall warm, an infinity scarf is the choice for you! Super easy to sew- you can have a half dozen of these beautiful accessories made up in a single evening.

Give the gift of a beautiful infinity scarf.

Give the gift of a beautiful infinity scarf.

The possible fabric choices for these scarves is endless allowing you to create the perfect one for each person on your list. Some of our favorite options are rayon challis, rayon or polyester crepe, voile and lighter weight knits. We made up a total of four different scarves for today just to see the variation in the fabrics and because they were just so darn fast to sew!

Infinity scarves made up in four different types of fabric.

Infinity scarves made up in four different types of fabric- 1) Rayon Challis, 2) Poly Crepe, 3) Cotton Voile and 4) Rayon Crepon

Notice that any of these mid-weight fabrics (or blouse weights as we like to call them) create an amazing infinity scarf! Different weights and fabric widths give you a little variation but all of them would make a great addition to any wardrobe. Check out our tutorial below for making your own infinity scarf.

Infinity Scarf Tutorial:

To make any of these scarves we used 1/2 yard of wide fabric (54″ to 60″ wide). If you wanted to use a narrower fabric, say 45″ wide, you would want to take two 1/2 yard cuts and sew them end to end giving you 90″ total to work with. You could also do this with wider fabrics for a much longer scarf.

First, we squared up our piece of fabric- removing the selvages and evening up all the sides. Fold the fabric in half lengthwise, wrong sides together, and stitch along the open edge creating a long tube. We like to press the seam open or to one side, but take care not to press the scarf flat. This will decrease the overall volume of your scarf when it is completed.

Sewing side seam of our infinity scarf.

Sewing side seam of our infinity scarf.

Take one end of your sewn “tube” and pull it up through the center, matching up the raw edges of the two ends. Make sure you have the right sides together and that the two ends of the seam line up. Starting just before the matched seam, stitch the two layers together leaving a 2″ opening for turning- don’t forget to back stitch at the beginning and end. Turn the scarf right side out and carefully hand stitch the opening closed.

Matching up the two scarf ends, right sides together.

Matching up the two scarf ends, right sides together.

Just like that you have a finished infinity scarf! The perfect accessory to add a pop of color or print to any outfit. Best of all- you can never have to many of them, making them a great gift idea!

Happy Sewing!

P.S. December 3rd Only! Save 20% on select rayons and blouse-weight fabrics and our favorite Flatter Pressing Spray is just $9 (25% off) Shop Here

Day Two: Zipper Pouches

On the Second Day of Sewing…

We thought we would share one of our go-to handmade gifts- a zipper pouch. They are easy to sew, don’t require a lot of supplies and are totally customizable to suit any recipient! All in all, a great gift idea that is sure to be used and well loved.

Matching Zipper Pouches in a variety of fabrics and sizes.

Matching Zipper Pouches in a variety of fabrics and sizes.

The best part about making your own gifts is that you can make them to suit the person you are giving them to. For these zipper pouches, that can be done in a variety of ways. Fabric choice is the easiest and most powerful- choose a fun print that matches their interests, their favorite color or a great pattern or texture they would like. Another easy way to customize them is size– think about how the person will likely use their treasured pouch and size it accordingly. You can even make multiple pouches in different fabrics and sizes for a whole gift set- perfect for traveling. Maybe slip in a treat or matching accessory for an added surprise!

After making a ton of these little pouches we have mastered the process, making it easy to follow and produce great results every time.

Here is our step-by-step tutorial for these adorable zipper pouches!

1.Gather your supplies-

  • Fabrics- We like to have between 1/4 yard and 1/2 yard of just about any woven fabric. Cotton, canvas, linen, suiting- experiment with different textures. Below we used a barkcloth, a tweed and a cotton.
  • Zipper- Choose a size larger than your largest pouch, you can always trim them shorter.
  • Fusible Batting- Single-sided fusible
  • Ruler, Rotary Cutter, Scissors, Matching Thread, Wonder Clips
Zipper Pouch Supplies

Zipper Pouch Supplies

2. Cut out your exterior, lining and batting pieces all the same size. The size is entirely up to you- these steps will work with any size. We find that 12-1/2″ x 8-1/2″ is a great size to suit most uses. Press the exterior pieces to the matching fusible batting pieces.

Cut fabric and batting pieces.

Cut fabric and batting pieces.

3.Prepare the zipper-

  • Trim the zipper to be 1″ shorter than the width of your pouch. (Be sure to move the zipper pull to the center before you cut… sadly speaking from experience!)
  • Cut a 1-1/2″ strip from some of your extra lining fabric for the zipper ends. Press it in half lengthwise, wrong side together, and then press the raw edges to the center making a binding.
  • Stitch the binding to either end of the zipper- sandwiching the end between the folded layers.
Prepared zipper and fabric pieces.

Prepared zipper and fabric pieces.

4. Attach the zipper- Center the zipper on one of the prepared exterior pieces, right sides together. Layer the lining piece on top, sandwiching the zipper in between and stitch using a 1/4″ seam allowance. (Wonder clips can be very handy to keep all the thick layers in place. Pins can kind of distort things a bit)

One side of the inserted zipper.

One side of the inserted zipper.

Press the exterior and lining fabrics away from the zipper and so that they are wrong sides together. Repeat for the other exterior and lining pieces. You should now have something that looks like this…

Attached zipper and finished pouch body pieces.

Attached zipper and finished pouch body pieces.

5. Stitch the Sides- Fold the pouch along the zipper so that the exteriors are right sides together. Match up all the layers and stitch around the 3 open sides- be sure to open the zipper a bit for turning before you sew. To make this step really fast, we serge around all 3 sides. You can also stitch using a 1/4″ seam allowance and then finish the raw edges with a zig-zag stitch.

Sewing pouch sides- right sides in.

Sewing pouch sides- right sides in.

6. Creating the Gusset- Here comes the trickiest part… starting at one base corner fold the layers so that the side seam and the bottom seam line up. Basically fold the corner the opposite way that it currently is. Then, trim the corner off- the more your cut off the wider your pouch bottom will be. We usually cut about 1″ to 1-1/2″, measured from the tip of the corner. Stitch along your new raw edge using a 1/4″ seam allowance and finish as desired. Repeat with the other corner- make sure you cut off the same amount!

7. Finishing- Turn the pouch right side out and you are finished! Add a fun zipper pull for an added special touch. Fill it with goodies, another size pouch or whatever and you are ready to gift!

Finished Zipper Pouches

Finished Zipper Pouches

We hope that helps inspire you to make a few more handmade gifts this holiday season!

Happy Sewing!

P.S. December 2nd Only! Wonder Clips are only $5 per package of 10 clips and Save 20% on select novelty woven fabrics- perfect for pouch sewing! Shop Here

12 Days of Sewing + Day One

12 Days of Sewing

Over the next 12 days we will be sharing some great ideas for your holiday sewing. Small handmade items perfect to make as gifts for family and friends or for you to enjoy yourself this holiday season. Best of all we will only be using “fashion fabrics” or fabrics designed for apparel sewing. There are so many ideas out there that use quilting cotton, we wanted to share some great ways to use your favorite apparel fabrics like boucles, rayons, knits, flannels and lots more!

Check back everyday for a new project idea. We will include tutorials here and there as well as some great tips and trick along the way.

Now, let’s get started!

On the First Day of Sewing…

We decided to start things off with a simple, but stylish, straight scarf. While the concept is relatively easy, there is a lot of room to get creative with your fabric choices and finishing techniques.

First, let’s talk about the fabric (our favorite part!). The obvious choice is flannel- We all love it, it’s warm and cozy and easy to sew with. A great choice, especial for the men in your life.

But what about the less obvious… a more fashionable woven like a boucle or other plush woven like this houndstooth we chose for one of our scarves. Look for bold patterns, large plaids or statement colors- something that will really pop when paired with the neutral outerwear we all own.

 

Woven Houndstooth Scarf

Woven Houndstooth Scarf

Don’t forget to also consider knits, while these are most often used for infinity scarves, thick or plush knits can also make a great simple scarf. Try a double knit or thick sweater knit for something cozy and warm.

Cozy Ombre Houndstooth Knit Scarf

Cozy Ombre Houndstooth Knit Scarf

Next, how are we going to make these scarves? For a long, straight scarf you typically need more than just the width of the fabric. You can get a longer scarf two different ways- 1) cut it lengthwise or 2) seam it in the middle. We made our scarves using both of these methods.

For the red houndstooth woven we cut 2 yards of fabric and divided it to make three scarves roughly 18 inches wide. If you are making multiple scarves to gift during the holidays this is a great way to go.

For the ombre houndstooth knit we cut strips roughly 14 inches wide and seamed two of them together to get the total length. This fabric comes in a panel repeat (1-1/4 yd) so it kind of a special case but a similar thing could be done with any fabric. Take 1-1/4 yard and cut into an even number of strips. You get the idea.

Once we have the scarf pieces cut, we finish the long edges. There are a variety of ways to do this so we have listed our favorites below:

  • Press under the desired hem and stitch in place using a cover-stitch machine or double needle on your traditional sewing machine. (We used this method on both of our scarves)
  • Don’t have a cover-stitch or double needle? Finish both raw edges of scarf using a zig-zag stitch or serger, press the desired hem and top stitch in place. For knits you can simply press and top stitch the hem in place if you aren’t worried about raveling or fraying.
  • Use a double folded hem and top stitch in place- this is probably our least favorite- the thicker your fabric, the more bulky these hems will be.

One of our favorite tools is the new Hot Ruler– it is heat resistant, anti-slip and makes pressing those long hems a breeze!

Pressing the scarf hem is so fast and easy with the Hot Ruler.

Pressing the scarf hem is so fast and easy with the Hot Ruler.

Now, the fun part, finishing the ends! Sure you can simply hem the ends like you did on the sides (we did this on our ombre knit scarf), but isn’t fringe more fun? Especially with some of these really cool fabrics, like a boucle or the houndstooth woven we chose, they are easy to separate, pull out those width-wise threads and create amazing fringe. You can make the fringe however long you’d like (we went with 4″) and you can knot it, braid it or just leave it as is. For added security, we top stitched across the scarf just above the fringe to prevent the scarf from unraveling anymore over time.

Finished Woven Houndstooth Fringe Scarf

Finished Woven Houndstooth Fringe Scarf

Easy right?! Take a simple simple scarf and make it amazing with some incredible fabric and professional finishing techniques. A wonderful gift that nobody will believe you made yourself.

Happy Sewing!

P.S. December 1st Only! Save 20% on select scarf fabrics and $3 off the Hot Hemmer or Hot Ruler. Shop Here

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