Category Archives: sewing tutorial

Double Tutorial Tue: Foundation Heart Mug Rug & Sew. Happy. Quilt. Block #9

Psst…did you want to leave a link on Manic Monday Linky Party? You still can! And don’t forget to enter my awesome giveaway, which ends Thursday! At least 3 fabulous prizes to be given away!

Woohoo! I’ve got 2 tutorials to share with you today! One is the next block in my Sew. Happy. Quilt. Quilt AlongChurn Dash Redux, which can be found here, and the other is one I posted last week on my good friend Melissa’s blog, SewBitterSweet Designs. She has an AMAZING array of Valentine’s Day themed tutorials in her Valentine’s Day Showcase celebration - so go check the others out!

My daughter Savi is pretty enamoured with this mug rug, and she’s always so good and cheerful that this Valentine’s Day I’m giving her this special handmade gift. I’m really lucky to have such a great and supportive family, and it’s so nice to have a full time cheerleader in my corner. Life hasn’t always been easy for the two of us, but I think our closeness has given us both strength when we needed it most – and there really were times when my 10 year old daughter held me together. I’ve always treated her like an adult and it seems to have helped her become a clever and brave tween. Thanks, Savi. Mummy loves you!

Ingredients:

  • one printed heart pdf pattern from Carol Doak’s free patterns page (just scroll down till you see Crazy Patch Heart)
  • OPTIONAL: an 8″ x 8″ scrap of calico or thin white cotton fabric to make a foundation
  • assorted scraps for the heart foundation/paper piecing block
  • 4 strips of fabric 1.5″ x 6.5″
  • 2 strips of fabric 1.5″ x 10.5″
  • 2 strips of fabric 2″ x 10.5″
  • 2 strips of fabric 2″ x 11.5″
  • Wadding 12″ x 14″
  • Backing for 12″ x 14″
  • 55″ worth of binding (need a binding tute? No problem!)

Finished size: about 10″ x 12″ depending on how big the foundation pattern prints. Don’t freak out if it’s not exactly 6.5″ square. Mine wasn’t and I think it looks ok anyway. :)

Ok, right off the bat when you look at the next picture you’ll be wondering if I’ve gone crazy. Of course I have, but it has nearly nothing to do with the sewing. Nearly.

I take a class with a lovely lady named Jackie Sparks. She doesn’t have a blog but she’s the chair of my local quilt group, Romsey Quilters. (BTW I do their website too – that’s why it’s so crap). Anyway, she showed me a way to eliminate all the faff of paper piecing by turning it into foundation piecing. All you need is some masking tape, a ruler and a pencil and some calico.

As you can see, I’ve taped my printout down to my mat, then over it I’ve taped a big square of calico, which is so thin you can see right through it. (So it doesn’t add bulk!) Then you simply trace ALL the lines using a pencil and ruler. Make sure you do the outside 1/4″ lines so you have a seam allowance. And I promise you the extra effort is worth it – it makes life SO much easier!

So I’ve drawn all my lines and numbered the spaces in pencil too. That’s important. Do that now.

Clearly, if it’s numbered, we’ll start with #1. ***#s 1, 9, 10, 11 Cut a piece of fabric that’s larger than the space – it’s a tiny space so a square of whatever will do. Place it RIGHT SIDE UP on the BACK of the numbered side and pin in place. See how I’m holding it up to the light to make sure there is plenty of seam allowance on all sides? You should do that too.

Now I’ve cut a big piece for #2. I’ve place it RIGHT SIDE DOWN (Facing down) on top of the #1 piece. See how the only thing actually IN the #2 space is a tiny little seam allowance? That’s because we’ll be flipping it Right Side UP after sewing that line. Also you need to make sure that when you do flip and iron the square of fabric will cover all of the #2 space plus at least 1/4″.

Do what the picture says. Start stitching about 2 stitch lengths before, and stop about 2 stitch lengths after the line.

This is important. You MUST iron after every seam you sew. That keeps it crisp and sharp, which is why you’re doing a foundation in the first place.

Now fold back the calico and trim the seam allowance to 1/4″. MAKE SURE you don’t cut the calico!!!

Now we’re getting to larger pieces. Here’s how to deal with them: 1) Make sure you cut a piece large enough to cover #3 plus AT LEAST 1/4″ on all sides. Personally I cut much larger then trim down. 2) Place it face down on the front, positioning it so the seam allowance is roughly 1/4″ past the line between #’2 and #3. 3) Then pin the line to test your seam before you sew it. 4) Turn it so you’re looking at the numbered side and hold it up to the light as shown above to make sure that once you stitch the line, there is plenty of fabric to cover #3. In this case there’s more than enough.

5) Now reposition your pin so you’re not sewing it and you can sew that line between #1/#2 and #3. PRESS!!!

Here’s how it looks after you’ve added #4. I know it looks messy and awful, but you’ll trim so don’t worry about it. Just worry about the seams and making sure you have enough fabric. Just follow steps 1 through 5 as outlined above and you won’t go wrong.

Here it is after I sewed all the pieces. Doesn’t that look awful?

Here’s the back of that foundation piece. Now that looks all nice and neat, doesn’t it? AND NO TEARING (or tears!)!

Now you’re ready to trim the foundation along those outside lines and add your 2 6.5″ long strips to the sides. (Again, if yours printed out smaller, don’t fret. Just trim the edges of the strips and decide if you want to add more.)

Here she is all pieced, basted and quilted. I tried a fancy meandering heart FMQ. Some of it looks good, some of it looks like thread vomit as I showed you before. Now all you need to do is put the binding on and you’re good to go!


© Copyright J C Excell, 2011. You are welcome to use any SewHappyGeek tutorial for personal use. You are even welcome to make a couple to sell, but you are not given permission to use my pictures or my words without giving me credit and linking back to the original. You are NEVER allowed to copy an entire tutorial or post.
Sometimes my pictures have my family in them and they are never intended for public use. Also, I work very hard to provide free tutorials for my lovely readers, and anyone copying or selling my tutorials is guilty of copyright infringement.

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Posted in Sew. Happy. Quilt. QAL, sewing tutorial, Tutorial Tuesday, Tutorials, UK craft blog, UK quilt blog, UK sewing blog | Tagged , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Sew. Happy. Quilt. QAL Fireflies Block #6 – Guest Tutorial Melissa of SewBitterSweet!

Did you want to leave a link on Manic Monday Linky Party? It’s still open!

I’m really thrilled to present Block #6 of the Sew. Happy. Quilt. Quilt Along! My friend Melissa agreed to do a tutorial for the Fireflies block, and I’m sure you are going to love it! If you’re wondering what I’m on about, here’s the Quilt Along information page. Most of the blocks are fairly simple, so anyone can join anytime.

Hi Everyone! My name is Melissa and I blog at Sew BitterSweet Designs. Last year I worked on a Vintage Christmas Sampler quilt and one of the blocks was the Fireflies block. When Jenna asked me if I would like to do the tutorial for her QAL – I was tickled and honored at the same time!

So here we go!

Let’s start with the cutting instructions:

Usually when I make HSTs I cut my squares larger, but for this block, I find my results are more accurate if I cut to these measurements and starch like crazy. (If you’re nervous about that, you can cut them 1/8″ larger than called for and then trim down. Eg cut the large red square to 7″ instead of 6 7/8″)

All seams: 1/4 inch

Start by Assembling your 6 blue & white HSTs – I like to chain piece. Sew section after section without cutting your threads until you are done.Then cut them all apart – for newer quilters – this will save you lots of time.

Next – take 2 of your HSTs and assemble your large triangle sections (make 2):

Next – take your large red triangles and assemble two 6.5″ blocks:

(Hint) – place the pieces right sides together – line up the points and sew – then trim down to 6.5″

Next assemble two 4-patch blocks:

Layout your block and sew together – voila – you’re done!

If you have any questions – don’t hesitate to ask! melissa (at) sewbittersweetdesigns (dot) com.

PS. If you are interested – I have a giveaway on my blog right now from Fat Quarter Shop – stop by and enter!

See? Wasn’t that easy? Ok, maybe not easy, but definitely not as hard as you might have thought. When you get your block done, pop a pic in the Flickr group!

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Posted in Craft Tutorial, Quilt Block Tutorials, Sew. Happy. Quilt. QAL, sewing tutorial, Tutorial Tuesday, Tutorials, UK craft blog, UK quilt blog, UK sewing blog | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments

Sew. Happy. Quilt. QAL Tutorials: Friendship Star & QST Pinwheel Blocks

Welcome to the fourth week & second tutorial of Sew. Happy. Quilt. QAL! I’m so glad you’re here! If you haven’t joined yet but are interested, this is the Flickr group and here’s the QAL info page with all the other links. This is the last week that we’ll be doing two blocks in one week, and they’re pretty easy so anyone can join at anytime.

Quick Note: I use starch enthusiastically when piecing. I starch everything after I’ve cut it. If I leave it overnight, I starch it again before sewing with it. It literally brought my piecing from zero to hero. So go get some. Use light coats, and iron it in. Small pieces of fabric are much easier to handle when they’re a bit stiff. And no, it doesn’t hurt your machine, or fabrics, or quilt.

Let’s tackle the Friendship Star first:

For this block you’ll need at least 3 fabrics. The number of squares and their measurements are above. You can set aside those 4.5″ squares for now, as we’re going to make HSTs (Half Square Triangles) with the 5″ x 5″ squares first:

Take two of your squares and draw (in pencil) a diagonal line DOWN THE BACK (not the front!!!) and then draw additional lines 1/4″ on either side as shown above. Then lay those RST (right sides together) with your other 5″ squares – if you look at the one on the left you can see the aqua square just peeking out.

 Sew on the 1/4″ lines you drew. In all you’ll do 2 seams per square. Then cut carefully along that middle diagonal line, as shown on the left. When you open them up and press the seams, they’ll look like the ones on the right.

A WORD ABOUT HSTs: Here’s the deal. If you want your HST to be, say, 4″ finished, you need to use squares cut one inch larger (it’s a little more complicated than that, but let’s not go there). Then, after you open them and press the seams, you need to trim them down to a perfect 4.5″. If you’re puzzled about trimming, there’s a picture in the next block that shows what I mean. Once you see the pic you’ll get what I’m on about. Honest.

 Now line up your HSTs and your 4.5″ squares so they look like this.

  Then sew them together in rows like this. Make sure your 1/4″ SA is as near perfect as possible so they line up in the next step.

Then sew the rows together to make your Friendship Star! Woohoo!

Now on to the QST Pinwheel Block:

 You’ll need 3 different fabrics for this one as well – and 4 squares in all. The measurements are above. I got ahead of myself and also cut my 7″ x 7″ squares on the diagonal. You can go ahead and do that too.

Now take your 7.5″ x 7.5″ squares and cut them diagonally. Cut them again diagonally to reveal 4 little triangles. CAUTION: You are now exposing the bias (horror!!) and therefore need to proceed carefully. Don’t pull the triangles in any direction. Do not steam. Do not rub back and forth with the iron. Starch like crazy if you have starch (or sizing, etc). Like 2 or 3 coats on the back of the fabric. That way your fabric and the bias will behave and perfect points will be MUCH easier to achieve.

 Lay your pieces out as shown above.

 Now sew those smaller triangles at the point shown above. Sew all 4 sets and press seams {open or whatever you prefer}. Lay them back in the formation, because it looks pretty and you’re proud.

 Here’s the back of mine for educational purposes. I press open. Because I’m a rebel.

 Ok, now you want to attach your seamed triangles with your unseamed ones (aqua in my case). Then open them up and press seams.

Le Pic De Trim: This is what you’ll end up with. Now, see how much I trimmed away? You pretty much have to trim down to exactly 6.5″ x 6.5″ if you want your points to line up. Lining up the diagonal with the line on your square ruler is good too.

And sew it all together. That’s it.

P.S. I’m sure there’s an easier way to make them, but it’s only one block so I did it this way.

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P.S. Because I write a non-Blogger blog, I am one of those unfortunates who will lose my Google Friend Connect widget soon. I really value you as a reader and follower, and I’d like to ask you to consider following me on BlogLovin’, a free service built specifically for people to follow their favourite blogs, or by Feedburner, which is an RSS feed. (Buttons above) Thanks!! :)

© Copyright J C Excell, 2011. You are welcome to use any SewHappyGeek tutorial for personal use. You are even welcome to make a couple to sell, but you are not given permission to use my pictures or my words without giving me credit and linking back to the original. You are NEVER allowed to copy an entire tutorial or post.
Sometimes my pictures have my family in them and they are never intended for public use. Also, I work very hard to provide free tutorials for my lovely readers, and anyone copying or selling my tutorials is guilty of copyright infringement.
This website is protected by Copyscape and is checked regularly, which means I WILL find you.
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Posted in Quilt Block Tutorials, Sew. Happy. Quilt. QAL, sewing tutorial, Tutorial Tuesday, UK craft blog | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Guest Tutorial: Janet’s Somerset Star Folded Card Decoration

Did you want to leave a link on Manic Monday Linky Party? It’s still open!

Today I’m very pleased to share Janet’s tutorial with you. Janet blogs over at Stitch N Sing. I actually know Janet in real life; she’s a student in my Patchwork and Quilting class at the college and she’s helping Savi to sing a verse of ‘O Holy Night’ by herself on Friday night in a concert in Fareham. Janet is very talented, both in sewing and in singing. The other day we were at her house while she practiced Il Bacio and Savi and I were totally blown away by her unbelievable voice and talent.

These beautiful greetings cards make wonderful gifts and are an ideal way to display your patchwork! It looks complicated but it’s actually easier than it looks. There is not much skill needed to make this. This is a traditional patchwork design called Somerset Star in the UK. It’s made by using small pieces of fabric folded to make triangles. Here is the instruction of making the Somerset Star Christmas card.

Materials:
  • a piece of white or cream backing fabric , 7″ x 7″
  • a 6″ embroidery hoop
  • white fabric cut 12 pieces , 1.5″ x 2.5″
  • blue fabrics cut 16 pieces, 1.5″ x 2.5″
  • white thread
  • needle
  • a circle aperture card- circle 96mm Dia

Step 1

Turn under the top edge of each rectangle by 1/4″


Step 2

Fold the top corners to the middle to form a triangle.



Step 3

Create 12 white triangles and 16 blue triangles.
Tips: Use 2 different colours of fabrics to show the contrast.


Step4
Divide the fabric into four and draw a line from left to right and from top to bottom.



Step 5
Using an embroidery hoop to hold the fabric taut so that it doesn’t pucker.
Step 6

Position four triangles.


Step 7

Sticth the triangles at the centre.


Step 8

Stitch the triangles according to the order of numbers. Number 4 will be go back to the center on another piece of triangle.


Step 9

Stitch all the four triangles.


Step 10


Take your second set of blue triangles. Build up the next round of four triangles, placing them 1/4″ below the first.

 




Step 11

Build up another four of blue triangles overlapping the first.



Step 12

Take your third set. Repeat the same step as Step 10 for another round of triangles.



Step 13

Repeat the same step as Step 11 for another round of triangles.

Step 14

Continue to work in rounds, spacing the triangles over the previous round and in between until the design is complete.
.

Step 15

Complete the final round.


Step 16

Remove the star from the hoop and iron it on the ironing board.


Step 17

Trim off the extra bit and now you can create your card!


Step 18

Ta da! Here is your Somerset Star Christmas Card!


You can even play around with it by using different materials

or
in different pattern!

For more designs please visit here!
Thanks so much Janet! I hope you guys have fun making very special cards for your loved ones too – and if you do, add a pic to the I’m a SewHappyGeek too! Flickr group.

P.S. Because I write a non-Blogger blog, I am one of those unfortunates who will lose my Google Friend Connect widget soon. I really value you as a reader and follower, and I’d like to ask you to consider following me on BlogLovin’, a free service built specifically for people to follow their favourite blogs, or by Feedburner, which is an RSS feed. Thanks!! :)

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© J C Excell, 2011

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Tutorial Tuesday: Churn Dash Redux {Quilt Block}

Did you leave a link on Manic Monday Linky Party? No? Well, you better get over there right now and do so!

Psst….Have you made something from a SewHappyGeek tutorial? Why not add it to the I’m a SewHappyGeek too Flickr page?

Today I’m sharing a quilt block tutorial. I’m sure there’s a true ‘accepted’ name for this block, but I have no idea what it is, so I’m calling it Churn Dash Redux. It’s a great block to use for a virtual quilting bee, and in fact this tutorial is for the benefit of my lovely bee mates in the {Sew Bee It} bee run by my good friend Shanna of Fiber of All Sorts. (If you want to print out this tutorial, one is available through Google Docs. PLEASE read the terms at the bottom of it before you print it. I’m really tired of having my tutorials stolen.)

© Copyright, J C Excell 2011

So, what you’ll need for a block:

© Copyright, J C Excell 2011

  • 1} 4.5″ x 4.5″ square for the center
  • 4} 2.5″ x 4.5″ (white) pieces for the flying geese units
  • 8} 2.5″ x 2.5″ squares for the flying geese units
  • 4} 2.5″ x 4.5″ pieces to go next to the flying geese units
  • 4} 5″ x 5″ squares for the corners (2 of each colour)
Before I begin, I have a tip to share with you. Do you know what spray starch is? Some of you already know to use it when you’re piecing, but for those who don’t, let me tell you: It IS the best product to use to ensure you get perfect seam allowances and perfect piecing. I spray my fabric so much it’s nearly stiff before I sew with it. It took my piecing from ‘okay’ to nearly always perfect with no other effort. No, it does not gum up your needle or machine. So go get some!
(I press all my seams open to prevent bulk)
The first thing to do is make the HSTs (half square triangles) for your corner pieces. Take 2 of your 5″ x 5″ squares (the white ones in this case), and on the back, draw a line in pencil from one corner diagonally to the other one. Then place them RST with your other squares and sew two seams, 1/4″ on either side of the diagonal line. ***I am paranoid, so I draw a middle diagonal line, then I draw two additional lines 1/4″ away from the middle one, so I know when I’m sewing that I’m getting it just right.***

©, Copyright J C Excell, 2011

Now carefully cut down your middle diagonal line, press the seams open and voila! HSTs! Do the same for both sets of squares.

© Copyright J C Excell, 2011

Once you’ve opened and pressed them, it’s time to trim. Trim them to exactly 4.5″ x 4.5″ and set aside.

© Copyright J C Excell, 2011

Now we’re going to make our flying geese units. Take your little 2.5″ x 2.5″ squares and draw a line in pencil (on the WRONG side!) diagonally from one corner to the opposite one, as shown above. ***Some people are so good they don’t have to draw a line. I am not one of those people. If you are, feel free to stitch away!***
Now lay your square RST on your white (or whatever you choose) 4.5″ x 2.5″ Flying Geese unit piece. Pay attention to the placement of the line in the left side of the pic. Sew down that line, press it over, then trim that excess corner. Make sense?

© Copyright J C Excell, 2011

Now do the same again on the other side of your white piece – again, pay close attention to the direction the penciled line is going in.

© Copyright J C Excell, 2011

Now that your FG units are finished, you can sew them to your 2.5″ x 4.5″ prints (or whatever you chose). Sew those prints together on the side of the point. See pic above.

© Copyright J C Excell, 2011

So, now it’s time for the final assembly. Do you like my iron? I love it. But it is funny looking! Anyway, you’ll want to assemble your block in the way I’ve shown above. Make 3 pieces, then sew those 3 together to get the final quilt block.
And here’s what you can make using that block:
This is a little mock up I did on my EQ7 just to see what it looked like. Cute, no?

© Copyright J C Excell, 2011. You are welcome to use any SewHappyGeek tutorial for personal use. You are even welcome to make a couple to sell, but you are not given permission to use my pictures or my words without giving me credit and linking back to the original. You are NEVER allowed to copy an entire tutorial or post.
Sometimes my pictures have my family in them and they are never intended for public use. Also, I work very hard to provide free tutorials for my lovely readers, and anyone copying or selling my tutorials is guilty of copyright infringement.
This website is protected by Copyscape and is checked regularly, which means I WILL find you.

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Posted in Craft Tutorial, sewing tutorial, Tutorial Tuesday, Tutorials, UK craft blog, UK quilt blog | Tagged , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Stashtacular Tutorial Tuesday: Quilted iPod/Phone Holder

I’ve been meaning to do a repeat of the mobile phone holder tutorial I did way back, as I used bias binding which was a bit of a disaster. So I’ve finally gotten another one together. Plus, this is one of the prizes you can win if you post a ‘made from Stashtacular tutorial’ picture in the Flickr group. So get busy!

The $25 gift certificate giveaway from 1Choice4Quilting is here, so go enter now!

To make this mobile phone/iPod case, you’ll need:

sewing kit (machine, thread, scissors, etc.)
a bit of fabric – you’ll need 4 pieces for the holder and 1 small piece about 3” x 4.5” for the strap
a bit of velcro (I used iron on)
a bit of wadding

I wrapped a scrap of wadding around my phone and cut that width, and cut the height about ½” taller than my phone actually is.


Then take that piece and cut it in half to get your 2 sides of wadding. (See pic below if that’s confusing) Make your front and back – I used leftover charms and scraps, etc.. You must make sure the edges extend AT LEAST a bit more than ½” WIDER than your batting and at least 1” taller. Mine are much bigger to allow room for quilting, etc.
Make your quilt sandwich:
Interior piece WSU, wadding, then exterior piece RSU (right side up). I used spray adhesive, 505, to baste mine together. I love that stuff.

Quilt the two pieces as desired:

Now trim the side and bottom edges so they’re a bit more than ½” wider than the wadding, and trim the top so it’s 1” taller than your wadding.Take your top edge and fold it down ½” toward the front and press. Then fold it down another ½” and sew along the edge.
Make your strap by taking your 3” x 4.5” piece of fabric and fold the edges so it’s now 3” x 4”:

Fold and press in half LENGTHWAYS, then fold the edges into that crease. Sew all around the edges.

Take the back of your phone holder and attach one end of your strap to it like so (sew a box, then an X in the box):

Now take both pieces and lay them WST and pin all around. Sew just shy of a ¼” seam around the sides and bottom. Trim all around, but don’t snip your stitches!

Turn the holder wrong sides out (WSO) and sew again, just shy of ¼” seam allowance. That will lock your rough edge in so it won’t unravel. It’s kinda like a French seam.

Turn it Right Side Out. Iron your velcro on – it takes forever to get the glue to melt so you could use gutermann glue if you don’t have iron on or you hate fiddling with irons.

I added the button on the front of the strap before I added the velcro, but you don’t have to do that.

You’re done! You rock baby!




© Copyright J C Excell, 2011. You are welcome to use any SewHappyGeek tutorial for personal use. You are even welcome to make a couple to sell, but you are not given permission to use my pictures or my words without giving me credit and linking back to the original. Sometimes my pictures have my family in them and they are never intended for public use. Also, I work very hard to provide free tutorials for my lovely readers, and anyone copying or selling my tutorials is guilty of copyright infringement. This website is protected by Copyscape and is checked regularly.

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Posted in sewing tutorial, Tutorial Tuesday, Tutorials, UK craft blog, UK quilt blog, UK sewing blog | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Tutorial Tuesday: Reverse Applique Bookmarks

Today’s tutorial is a remarkably easy one and I’m almost ashamed to present it to you. But after stitching happily all evening long on Sunday and putting it together yesterday I decided to share the fun anyway. After all, if you don’t want to make one you don’t have to, right?

© Copyright, J C Excell 2011

You only  need a few things:

  • some felt
  • scraps of fabric
  • embroidery floss
  • a bit of ribbon
  • sewing kit

You simply hold the fabric to the back of the felt while you make a shape with your embroidery floss. I used 4 strands and did really easy stitches like split stitch, couching and running stitch.

© Copyright J C Excell 2011

Here’s what the back looks like:

© Copyright J C Excell 2011

When you’ve added all the fabric and stitches you want, take a tiny pair of scissors and CAREFULLY pull the felt away from the fabric. Snip into it, then cut your shape out:

© Copyright J C Excell 2011

© Copyright J C Excell 2011

Trim your felt down to your bookmark size. Now all you need is a back. And when you have the back, you can tuck a couple of ribbons in between the tops and stitch over them to keep them in place.

© Copyright J C Excell 2011

I made the one on the left using running stitches of 4 embroidery threads and a leftover ribbon embroidery length. Then I wiggled my scissors to make the waves. I used pinking shears on the reverse applique bookmark, but you don’t have to!

© Copyright J C Excell 2011

That’s it! A perfect gift for that book lover you know.

Well, I better go – have a whole list of stuff to do today!

© Copyright J C Excell, 2011. You are welcome to use any SewHappyGeek tutorial for personal use. You are even welcome to make a couple to sell, but you are not given permission to use my pictures or my words without giving me credit and linking back to the original. Sometimes my pictures have my family in them and they are never intended for public use. Also, I work very hard to provide free tutorials for my lovely readers, and anyone copying or selling my tutorials is guilty of copyright infringement.

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Posted in sewing tutorial, Tutorial Tuesday, Tutorials, UK craft blog, UK quilt blog, UK sewing blog | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments

Mini-Tutorial – Padded Camera Strap Cover

I’m sure I’ve mentioned that I’m on another round of Ro-Accutane. It’s made my skin very dry and around my neck it’s super sensitive and the slightest discomfort soon turns into burning.
The camera strap on my DSLR has rubber grippy things on one side and the other is hard woven stuff that also burns, so after suffering a whole day of it, I came home and looked at padded camera straps on etsy. Have you seen how expensive they are?! Yikes!
So I made myself this one:
And proudly showed it to Buzz, who was all like, “Oh Wow, that’s awesome!”, then immediately: “Can you make one for me?”
So I took pics this time around (comfortably!) – it’s black Moda Marble so a bit hard to see, but I assure you the instructions are so simple my kid could make one.

1. Measure the length of your strap and add 1″ (for Seam Allowance).
Measure the width of the strap, multiply by 2, and add 1.25″ for Seam Allowance (So if it’s 2″ wide, you’ll need the pieces to be 5.25″ wide.)
2. Cut two pieces of fabric using the measurements you’ve just calculated (mine was about 25″ long by 6.25″ wide.
Cut ONE piece of fusible batting, but you’ll need to trim off about 1/2″ off of each side – if you want, you can wait a bit and cut it to your exact needs in a minute.
3. Take your 2 pieces of fabric RST and sew down the long sides, just shy of 1/2″ Seam Allowance:

Here’s a close up:
4. Now you need to fuse your fusible batting to one of those sides – if you haven’t trimmed it yet, do that now by trimming the sides of the batting just a bit smaller than the space between your seams. It needs to have about 1/2″ trimmed off the top and bottom, too. See picture below:
5. After it’s been fused and cooled down, turn it all right side out (RSO). Then fold the raw edges in by 1/2″, like in the picture:
6. Pin the openings shut, with raw edges carefully tucked in. Stitch the edge, as shown in the next two pictures:
7. Now we’re going to make the sleeve. Fold the piece in half lengthways. Make sure if you edgestitch it shut you will be able to fit it over your camera strap.
If you’re happy, pin it down the length as shown below, and edgestitch:
8. Admire your work, then slip it onto your camera strap:
Ta-Da!
If you make one, I’d love to see it! And you’re always welcome to add it to the SewHappyGeek Flickr group!
© J C Excell, 2011You are welcome to use any SewHappyGeek tutorial for personal use. You are even welcome to make a couple to sell, but you are not given permission to use my pictures or my words without giving me credit and linking back to the original. Sometimes my pictures have my family in them and they are never intended for public use. Also, I work very hard to provide free tutorials for my lovely readers, and anyone copying or selling my tutorials is guilty of copyright infringement.

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Posted in Camera Strap Cover Tutorial, sewing tutorial, Tutorial Tuesday, Tutorials | 8 Comments

Tutorial Thu: T-shirt Makeover

Good news, everyone!
I have a lovely, super fast tutorial for you.  But first, a sneak peek at next week’s tutorial:

I really wanted to get it finished so I could post the tutorial today, as it’s a Valentine’s gift for Buzz, but I went fabric shopping in Winchester yesterday so I didn’t have as much time to work on it as normal. But it’s not too Valentine-y, so I think it will work for other special occasions, too, like anniversaries or birthdays.
My fabric shopping was fairly successful:

Not exactly sure what I’ll make with them yet, but I have a few ideas for great tutorials!

And now, here’s the Tshirt Makeover Tutorial:

Ok, so I bought 4 black tshirts at Marks and Spencer’s last summer (I wear a lot of black, ok?) for like £7 each, and was kinda disappointed when I washed and dried them. They were shorter than I like my shirts to be.  So I wore them anyway, but didn’t really LOVE them. Then I saw Amie’s tutorial on how to make a pretty, girly top out of a big men’s tshirt, and it got me thinking…
So this tutorial yields a cute top out of 2 tshirts, one that fits and one men’s tshirt, and I must admit it isn’t as fancy or pretty as Amie’s are, but at least I get a good use out of those M&S shirts.

What you need:
a tshirt that fits you (for the top part)
a big men’s tshirt of same colour (or slightly different, and embellish it?) for the long, ruffled bottom.

2 folded tshirts

Take the tshirt that fits, try it on, and cut it in half, about 2 inches below your bust. Or if you want it longer, that’s ok too.

Chopped!

Now cut your big tshirt right under the arms:

You need that bottom bit for your ruffle.

Now, with 1/4″ seam allowance, run a basting stitch all the way around the top part of your ruffle panel. Then pull the bobbin thread and make it all ruffly:

Now, with Right Sides Together, and make sure you double check that, pin your tshirt top to the ruffly panel.  It will take a lot of fiddling to get it fitted, but it’s not difficult work.

Now, with a 1/2″ or so seam allowance, run a zigzag stitch around the edge you’ve just pinned. Turn it out and ta-da! New top!

Optional: take the bottom bit of your fitted tshirt and cut two 5 inch wide panels from it. Cut it open so you have two long pieces of jersey, 5 inches wide:

Sew them together to make one really long belt to go round your tshirt:

Done! I hope you can use this tutorial! I know it’s not that cool, but I like this shirt much more than I liked the too-short ones! If you have any questions, please jennaexcell (at) gmail (dot) com.
See you tomorrow!

© Copyright J C Excell, 2011
All rights reserved

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Posted in sewing tutorial, t-shirt makeover, Tutorial Thursdays | 3 Comments

Tutorial: Cosmetic Bag with Exterior Card Pocket

I like to carry business cards with me, in case someone asks where I got my bag, at which point I’m all like: ‘Thank you, I made it myself.  There’s one for sale in my etsy store; here’s my business card!’.
I got a free metal business card holder when I bought the cards, but it sucks and I don’t like using it.  But I love cosmetic bags and carry loads of them – different bags have different genres, like one for kleenex and headache pills, another for cosmetics, another for loyalty cards. So making a cosmetic bag with a card pocket really does two jobs! Yay! I love multi-taskers!
I thought you might like one too, so here’s a tutorial:

Fabric and Interfacing and Notions:
You’ll need:
Small amount Exterior Fabric
Small amount Interior Fabric
Small amount Fusible Interfacing
One 7 or 8 inch zipper (I know the one in the pic is a 7 inch, but I actually used an 8 inch and I’ll explain it later)
A little bit of Iron On Velcro

The measurements for the large pieces are:
•    6 inches by 8.25 inches / 15 cm by 20.5 cm
•    One Small Piece:  2.5 inches by 4 5/8 inches / 6.5 cm by 12 cm
•    One Really Small Piece: 2 inches by 4 5/8 inches / 5 cm by 12 cm

Large Pieces, Cut:
•    2 x Exterior Fabric
•    2 x Interior Fabric
•    2 x Fusible Interfacing (I used woven because I prefer its adherence properties)

Small and Really Small Pieces, Cut:
•    1 x Ext. Fabric
•    1 x Int. Fabric
•    1 x Interfacing

1. Ready Your Pieces: After you’ve cut everything out, iron the fusible interfacing onto the exterior fabric pieces:

2. Make up the outside pocket and flap: Pin those pieces with Right Sides Together (RST), and sew using ¼” seam allowance (SA).  Make sure you leave a gap so you can turn them out, and ***Important!!*** Make sure you leave the gap at the bottom of your pocket piece, and at the top of your flap! This is because we’re going to sew the gap shut when we attach those pieces to the front of your cosmetic bag!

Ok, so now you need to cut the corners off and turn those little pieces Right Side Out (RSO) like the little flap on the left above – Iron them like crazy, and when you’re happy, place them on the exterior piece and pin them down.  Make sure the flap covers over the pocket, but not so much than you can’t get a card in there!

Put your pins around the edges to test whether you can get a card in there and whether there’s enough room for your little velcro tabs.

Now, stitch the pocket and flap in place, and iron on your little velcro pieces, like in the pic:

3. Zipper Attachment: Okay, now I’ll explain why you might want to use a longer-than-necessary zipper.  You know how when you’re sewing a zipper on, and you’re doing it all straight and pretty, and then you get to the zipper pull and your stitches go all WonKy? Well, if you use a longer zip, and ‘hang’ the zipper pull end of it off the side of your fabric, you won’t have that problem! Let me show you what I mean:

Place your zipper at the top of an interior piece, with the zipper pull hanging off the end, and pin in place (see pic for details).  If you’re happy with the placement, move on:

Now sew that zipper down using your zipper foot.

Now place an exterior fabric piece FACE DOWN (with top side up, too) on top of your zipper and interior piece:

Pin in place and stitch again using your zipper foot.

Ok, now we have to do that again for the other side of the zipper, so put the other side of the zipper on your other interior piece, like so:

This just gives you an idea of placement – you should pin and sew all the way across, not halfway like it’s implied in the picture!

Stitch that down, then place your other exterior piece FACE DOWN on top of what you’ve just sewn:

Stitch that down, iron, and admire your zipper! Well done!

4. Optional: Topstitch along the edges of the zipper, like I’ve done in this pic:

5. Cut off extraneous ends of zipper, like in the pic:

6. Unzip your zipper Now!! Then, lay out and sew edges: Ok, now you need to put the interior pieces facing each other RST, and the exterior pieces will do the same.  Your zipper will be sandwiched in between, like in the pic:

Remember: It’s more important to match the top edges of the exterior up than the bottom ones – so make sure that each side of the exterior is lined up before you pin.
Pin the edges, and mark a 4 inch opening at the bottom that you’ll keep open so you can turn everything RSO at the end (see my 2 purple marks there?):

Ok, here are a couple of tips from someone who’s made loads of these—through the layers of fabric, find the bottom end of the zipper.  Mark where it ends, so when you’re sewing, you can make sure you don’t try to run over the end of your zipper, but stitch just beside it.  Also, after you’re done stitching, go back and snip the excess tops off the end of the zipper.  You don’t need them and they’ll just be in the way when you turn it out.  Don’t snip your stitching!!

Here’s what it looks like after it’s been sewn:

7. Turn it out! But first, clip the corners, and iron your little gap open so it’s easier to sew it shut at the end.  Now, turn the whole thing out through your gap. Iron like crazy to get it all pretty.

Then, pin your little gap shut, and edgestitch it shut! Done! If you have any problems, questions, or suggestions, leave a comment or email me!


© Copyright J C Excell, 2011
All rights reserved

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Posted in Cosmetic Bag tutorial, sewing tutorial, Tutorials, zippy pouch tutorial | 14 Comments