Archive for the ‘Tutorials’ Category

A while back I made a skirt without a pattern.  I decided on the style as I went along.  Because I misjudged the length I added a pieced together ruffle.  I gathered the ruffle by the traditional method of sewing two basting seams along the edge.  (If ever I took the shortcut of just sewing one basting seam it almost always broke about midway through the gathering process.  Two seams always seemed tedious.)After wearing the skirt a couple of times I took the ruffle off and reattached it. The ruffle was lop-sided.  It felt to me like the skirt was a glaring homemade job.   Mind you, I am not knocking homemade…I just like things I make to look like they were made by someone with knowledge of the art of sewing.  To reattach the ruffle I used another method…one not often taught.  It worked out beautifully so I thought it only fair to share the knowledge.

To demonstrate I’ve used a small piece of white fabric and two contrasting colors of thread.  It works equally well when adding a gathered ruffle of any length.

After threading your machine make sure you pull a length of thread at least two or three inches long through the bobbin and needle before you begin to sew.  Place the second thread on top of your fabric…also leaving a length of thread of equal length.  (This will be the tread used for gathering.)

Set your machine to sew a wide zig-zag stitch and begin sewing over the second thread centering it under the zig-zag stitch.

When you reach the end of the fabric you are gathering (or you get back to the starting place when working with fabric joined at the seem such as a ruffle added to the bottom of a skirt) make sure you leave two or three-inch tail of thread for easing the gathers through the fabric.

Place the ruffle and the piece you are attaching it to together, dividing both pieces evenly into quarters and pinning them at the divided points.   (Because my demo piece is small I only divided it half.)

Gently pull the thread under the zig-zag stitch and evenly distribute the gathers between the divided points.

Your evenly distributed gathers are now ready to stitch in place.  I hope this method proves to work as well for you as it does for me.  🙂

Note:  I’ll be posting a giveaway post soon.  I hope you will check back and enter your comment for a chance to win.

Until next time…

I cannot count my day complete til needle, thread and fabric meet.  ~ unknown


Read Full Post »

Where does time go?!!!  It has been a full month since my last post, and in just another day or two November will be here!  The old saying “time flies after thirty” continues to prove itself true.  The author of that saying should have added “and the older you get the faster it flies”. 

As prices rise and we tighten our belts, I am always looking for ways to save a dollar here and there so we can use the dollar saved for something else.  This past week I took the time to complete a project I’ve thought about doing for quite some time.   In the long run it will save money and keep on saving.   Several years back I bought a Swiffer Jet for cleaning my hard surface floors.  Every time I’ve pulled off a nasty pad and pitched it in the garbage I’ve thought how easy it would be to make washable pads and visions of saved dollar signs rolled in my head.  I finally put action to my idea and made some money-saving, pads for my Swiffer Jet.  Sorry Procter and Gamble.  No more throw away pads for me…and I’m working on figuring out how to refill the solution bottle.

Here’s how you can make your own reuseable Swiffer Jet pads:

Materials needed for project:

an old towel

2 10 1/2 inch lengths of velcro – fuzzy side only

Cut two 11 1/2 x 6 1/2 inch rectangles from a towel that has seen better days.  (You know…one you would never think of setting out for a guest  to use.) ( I cut mine on the fold instead of cutting two separate rectangles resulting in a rectangle with different dimensions than the above instruction…23 x 13 inches…folding to achieve 11 1/2 x 6 1/2.  I tell you this only because the illustration has a fold NOT to confuse you.)   

Sew the two layers together leaving one 6 1/2 inch edge open for turning inside out.

Turn inside out and stitch across  the remaining end.    Place a piece of velcro along one 11 inch edge of the pad leaving about 1/2 inch uncovered along the outside edge.  Stitch all the way around the edge of the velcro as close to the edge as possible.  Stitch the second length of velcro along the opposite side.

And wallah…you have a washable, re-useable, seriously cheaper Swiffer Jet pad.  (One raggedy old towel makes six or more pads. )


I hope you find this tutorial helpful and easy to follow.  If you are inspired to make your own washable Swiffer pads I’d love to hear from you.  Feedback is always welcome.

Until next time…

The dreams of your future have no room for the devastations of your past.  ~ unknown ~ 

Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.   Acts 4:10-12


Read Full Post »

I couldn’t resist making another shopping tote this evening.  They go together so easy-peasy it feels good to my creative senses to start and finish something quickly.  I’m loving the simplicity of the project, because my body and brain are still recovering from the long vacation trip.  Car travel is not as easy as it was when I was a spring chicken…

Although I used the basic idea of Spidey’s tutorial I deviated from it this time around in order to have the cool little bunny pic in the upright position when the bag was completed.  As a result it is deeper and not as wide…which is not necessarily a bad thing.  Still I would direct anyone interested in turning a pillowcase into a shopping tote to her tutorial.  It can be found here:  Vintage Pillowcase Grocery Tote.

Here’s the one I just completed…

Until next time…

Eyes that look are common. Eyes that see are rare.  ~ J. Oswald Sanders ~

Read Full Post »

A while back while blog surfing I ran across a tutorial for a shopping bag made from a vintage pillowcase.  This evening the urge to sew won out over the need to kick my feet up and relax, and I looked up the tutorial and made one.  I am pleased enough with the results to share the tutorial with you.  Like it or not we’re all going to need something to carry our groceries in in the future…likely the near future.  This project is a perfect answer to that need…one that allows for the expression of individual taste while reusing things you likely have around the house.

The Vintage Pillowcase Grocery Tote Tutorial is easy to follow and well written.  Here are my results…

I started with a pretty Ralph Lauren pillowcase that had seen far better days.  (It was so pretty I couldn’t see throwing it away or turning it into a dusting cloth.)

Hanging view…empty and sagging, but you can get the idea of how the straps are set up.

and a little homemade tag…(very primitive)

I thank Spidey for the use of her tutorial and can see where making more could likely happen.  If you try the tutorial (and I hope you will) why not let Spidey know you did…I’d love to hear about it, too.

Until next time…

Sacrifice is the true measure of love.  ~ unknown ~

Read Full Post »

My bloggy friend from Goosie Girl posted origami seed starter pots, and I replied that I use toilet tissue rolls for that repurposing purpose.  She replied how much easier that would be than folding newspaper into pots so I decided to share this simple to make, cheap, and biodegradable starter pot method.  (Check out the Goosie Girl origami newspaper starter pots. I love Renee’s blog.  I think you will, too.)  This pot was put together very quickly and not especially neatly to relay a money saving idea…you can make them as pretty as you want to…but they will degrade, and all your work will be history.


toilet paper rolls


Start with an empty toilet paper roll…readily available in most every home.  Especially those with women. (Here’s hoping anyway.)

Make three or four cuts equal distance apart about 1/3 the length of the roll.  I made three cuts in this example, but they sit flatter and look prettier with four.  This is one project pretty really doesn’t count…remember we are going to fill it with soil and keep it watered.  It’s end result will be putting it in the ground.  This is a fine example of beauty being only for a season…

Fold each of the sections toward the center, creasing the edge to form a bottom.  If you use four cuts, it is possible to “square” the pot so that it will stand upright more easily.

Bottom of pot formed…tape if you wish, but I don’t find it necessary.  If you tape it, remove the tape before transplanting.  Plastic doesn’t degrade so easily.

Completed pot ready to be filled with soil and seeded and watered.

Collards seeds in pots…we’ve all heard “a watched pot never boils”, but watched collard seed pots take forever to germinate, too.  These have been filled and seeded for over a week.

When it’s time to transplant your seedlings you pop open the bottom tabs and put the whole thing into the ground limiting the disturbance of roots.

I hope this idea is helpful to anyone trying to be thrifty and garden.

UPDATE: March 27 A.M.

The collards have emerged!

Until next time…

  • JOY comes by putting Jesus first, Others second, and Yourself last.
  • ~ unknown, but tried and true ~

Read Full Post »

Note of little importance: disregard the date on my pictures.  I forgot to reset it on my camera when I changed the batteries..

Back in December Carla of Feathered Fibers posted a felted wool challenge.  I had lurked on her blog for a long time, but this challenge lured me out of the shadows, and I accepted the challenge. The day before I had been to my favorite store (the Salvation Army Thrift Store for those of you who don’t know) and bought eight wool sweaters to felt.  The challenge seemed the perfect thing to spur on my use of my newly found treasures.  I had the best of intentions and felted the sweaters by washing and drying them several times and carefully cut each along the seams to separate them into pieces.  But as it so often does, life happened, and my best intentions got derailed.  Today I decided to take a day for me and chose creating something with my felted wool as my fun thing to do.  I took pictures of each step so I could share the making of my mittens with you in tutorial form.

Making Mittens From Felted Wool

Trace your hand (or the hand of the person the mitten is for) on a piece of paper.  Add about 1/4 inch around the outline for a seam allowance and cut the pattern out.  Place the pattern on the wool and pin it into place.  I placed the cuff portion of the mittens on the ribbed band of the felted wool so there would be enough stretch in the mittens to put them on with ease.  I pinned two layers at a time with the wool right sides together.  Cut out pieces making sure you cut deep enough between the thumb and hand for free movement of thumb when the mittens are stitched.

Slowly stitch closely around the edges of the pinned pieces insuring both layers are secured in the seam.  Carefully pivot the needle when stitching between the hand and thumb. We don’t want holey mittens from the get go.  🙂  After securing the two pieces together zig-zag over the seam.  Zig-zagging may not be necessary, but it will add strength to the seam so there is not a blow-out when you are building a snowman. 🙂

Turn your mitten right-side out, shaping the rounded seams as you go, and wah la, you have completed one!

Stitch the remaining two pieces together, and you are ready to play in the snow.  Or notBut you will have a warm pair of mittens custom made to fit your hands.

This was my first felted wool repurposing project, but it won’t be my last.  Thank you, Carla, for the inspiration

If you use this tutorial, I would be interested in hearing how it worked for you and any feedback you may have.

oxo Judy

Until next time.

Until next time,

Vocatus atque non vocatus, deus aderit.

(Bidden or not bidden, God is there.)

~ Erasmus of Rotterdam ~

Read Full Post »

Recently I brought my dad’s dilapidated neck bone pillow home, took it apart, made a pattern and sewed a new one for my mom.  (I thought the ragged one belonged to her.)  Not until I gifted the new one to my mom did I learn the old one was my dad’s.  Today I made a new one for him.

The last time my sister visited my parents she discovered the comfort of using one of these whimsical little pillows.    She told our mom she’d like to have a pattern so she could make one for herself, and I promised mom I’d make a copy for my sister and take care of getting it to her.  Today I finally managed to send the pattern on its way to her house.  (It only took me around a month… ~sigh~ )

While making the pillow for my dad,  I took pictures of each step so I could post a tutorial just in case my sister had any questions about the construction.  Hopefully my directions are clear and will be helpful.  (If I can figure out how to post a full-sized pattern, I’ll include a link to it.  If I don’t figure it out, I’d gladly email a copy to anyone who would like to make one.)  Get Dog Bone Pillow pattern here.  The pattern will print out the correct size.

Step 1:  Cut four of the bone pattern on the straight of grain using a good quality cotton fabric.  I used quilting weight cotton.    (The pretty pin cushion is a sweet, “just because” surprise from my bloggy friend Pat.  If you’ve never visited her blog, check it out.)

Neck 1

(My electric scissors made cutting through four layers a time-saving breeze. They were a much appreciated gift from my ds and dil.)

Neck 2

Step 2:  Mark the center of each end of all four bone pieces on the wrong side of fabric.  Mark as precisely and as visibly as possible.  The marks are an all-important factor in the construction of project.

Neck 3

Step 3:  With right sides together pin two pieces together, carefully matching center marks on both ends.

Neck 4

Step 4:  Using a half inch seam allowance stitch along one side from mark to mark.  Remember to back stitch to secure stitches.

Neck 6

Step 5:  Carefully matching the marks, pin the third bone piece to an open side of the joined pieces.

Neck 7

Step 6:  Stitch from mark to mark being careful not to sew into the previous seam. It is crucial that seams bud up without intersecting.  Repeat Step 5 with the remaining bone piece.

Neck 8

Step 7: You should now have all four bone pieces sewn together with one open side remaining.  Pin the remaining unfinished sides together.  Sew approximately 3 inches down the final side starting at a marked end.  Remember to backstitch to secure seam, and be careful not to intersect previous seams.  Repeat on the opposite end.  There will be an opening approximately 5 inches long in the middle of the two seams on the final side.

Press all seams flat.  (At this point some sewers clip the curves, but I do not.  Clipping weakens the seam, and I believe that’s why the original pillow ripped.)

Neck 9

Step 8:  Turn pillow right side out and stuff it with polyester  fiberfill or cotton fiberfill.  (I fluff the stuffing material up really well before inserting it into the pillow, because it seems to stuff more evenly.) Stuff generously, pushing the filling firmly into the rounded ends for proper shaping.

Neck 10

Step 9:  When you are happy with the shape of your pillow, slip stitch the opening closed with tiny stitches.  I pin the opening closed to make it easier to hand stitch evenly.

Neck 11

Step 10:  Admire your handiwork.  This would be a good time to kick back in a comfortable easy chair, and try your new pillow out.

Neck 12

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.  If you use this tutorial to make a pillow I’d love to hear how the it worked for you.

Until next time…

Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.  ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson ~

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: