Archive for the ‘Sewing’ Category

It’s taken some time but finally in the final stages of completing this quilt.  In fact I’m sewing the last of the binding as I’m typing this.  I will admit this quilt was fun to make and a bit of a puzzle challenge. Every piece use to be skirts or dress’s.  A lady had given me some of her mother’s clothing she had precut into squares and asked me to make her something of a keepsake from it without losing fabric.  I tried my best to use the various size squares to form something I hoped would do justice, I think overall it turned out pretty well.  As you can see, it passed the kitty test, Smoke is notorious for having to be the first one to test any quilt or blanket I make, in fact the spoiled cat has a quilt of his own.

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“Harvest Welcome” Quilt.

After the long, incredibly hot and dry summer we had, I am more then ready for fall.  This quilt has quite the tale to it. It’s ventured with me to evacuation shelters, animal shelters, fire station, it’s traveled a lot of miles.  Being it was a “travel with me” quilt in making, I opted to hand sew it completely from start to finish, this probably was a wise choice…each of those little stitches offered a form of calm and relief from the stress of the moments. It seemed the more stressed situations became, the faster I sewed.

I still have border yet to stitch around the outside and some decorative stitching to piece it all together…but I think it turned out pretty nice all considered.

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A Fish Tale.

These are the ones that didn’t get away. These two fish are body pillows about 3 ft long.  There is one more set of them exactly like these yet to be done for lesser prizes for a local kids fishing tournament and a couple smaller fish sewing crafts yet to finish.  With the hot weather keeping me from being able to enjoy the shore line this summer, at least I’m getting to enjoy the catch, even if it is stuffed.

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A Box Of Many Colors.

This was not my intended post for the day but I just couldn’t resist showing of something of such beauty, well beauty to me anyway.

I stopped at the local Goodwill today in my current hunt for more Pyrex and vintage baking dishes for my kitchen. While there I also had planned to see if they had a flat sheet I could use to finish a quilt back, I didn’t find the sheet, but I did find something to me far better.  Tucked under the rack was a box, and in the box was thousands of squares of flannel material already cut and ready to be patched together into quilts. There is enough material in this box to make scores of baby quilts. I snatched it right then and there.  A little ways down I spotted another box, and peering inside I seen it was filled to brim with yards of uncut fabric of some of the same materials these squares were cut out of.  Yep, I snatched that one too.  Neither box had a price listed on them, and honestly I expected to pay far more then I budget for such trips.  I was honestly shocked and thrilled when the lady stated me the price of $6.00 for the whole lot.

I sorted out the various designs to give you an idea of how many beautifully amazing fabrics were in those boxes.  This is not near how many squares and yards I scored but it is sampling and my table can only hold so many. I was already standing on the counter to get this shot.  Pretty sure my children think their mother is more nuts then they thought I was before for that.

Part of me wonders why the hands that took the time to so diligently cut all the pieces never put them together into the final project, but now my hands will see they are pieced together and placed into other hands that will appreciate them.

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With my son’s prompting I have decided to begin a new section to this blog. For a couple of years now we have celebrated various “bizarre and unusual” holidays as well as lesser known monthly events in this family.  It makes things fun for the children, my son’s whole reason for his prompting, as well as is a good educational tool for them and I’ll admit, also for me.

June is “Adopt A Shelter Cat Month”.  Anyone that knows me knows animals are very near and dear to my heart, especially those needing aid.  The two kittens in this picture are not shelter animals, but they would have been shelter bound if I did not take them in from the woods they were found in.  While it would be wonderful if you could find it in your heart to rescue and give a forever home to a shelter cat, I understand this is not always feasible.  Yet, there are other ways you can use your talents to make the stay for shelter cats far more comfortable and less frightening of an experience.

Local shelters often have no bedding or minimal bedding and no toys for the unwanted pets they take in, which often are numerous.  This leaves cats and kittens to sleep on wire cages, or worse, in their own liter pans.  Many welcome donations of bedding and toys for animals who have no one to care for them. Don’t fret if you are not the perfect seamstress, no animal has complained yet about uneven stitches or off kilter seams.   One only need browse the internet to find many sources, but I’ll offer you a few that I have used in past, and/or making presently for our local shelters this month. By the way, did you know that not only do homemade items help shelter animals relax but also have been found to increase their rate of adoption? For a few stitches and bit of fabric I’m more then happy to give them all the fighting chance I can give.

Remember in making the cat toys to add some cat nip to the stuffing to make it more appealing.  Also don’t fret about polyfil,  plastic grocery bags make a nice crinkle sound cats love to play with when used as stuffing material, also a good way to recycle them.

Fish Cat Toy

Catnip Mouse Cat Toy

Fleece & Cotton Cat Quilt

Small Pet Bed

Panda Stuffy

Bunny Stuffy

Teddy Bear

Bunny 2

Bunny 3


Stuffed Mouse

Now, lets get crafting.




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Since my children have been I have never parted with a single article of their clothing. I have found I can use almost every element in another way.  As they have grown so have the options for ways to use them.  One of my favorites is old school shirts and this is the process I use to break them down.

Lay out your shirt on a big surface, be it a table or the floor doesn’t matter.  Take a good look at it and see where and what you can salvage while offering you the largest pieces of material available for other sewing use.

The first thing I remove is the collar, this stretchy band makes a excellent ankle and wrist cuff for winter pajamas.  As it is always a solid color, it can be used for both boys and girls.

Second to go is the thin band that wraps around the base of that collar, this along with the same style band often lining the shirts edges makes for wonderful stitching together and use for making rag rugs once you have a large enough scrap bundle.

I tackle the sleeves as my third step, cutting them right at the seam.  These semi circle pieces can be used to make new sleeves for younger children, sewn into newborn hats (wonderful for charities), as fabric to make slippers and booties (also wonderful for charities or for younger children), liners for winter mittens,  making garden gloves for small children, sewn into a cup shape for dusting, stitched into small bags with drawstring attached for gift giving or party favors, or you can just use the fabric to make smaller quilt pieces or quilted hot pads, placemats, etc.

My next step is usually to remove the main large panel from the neck line.  Begin by cutting up the sides, using care to not cut across the seams, you will be keeping the seams to use in that rag rug making I mentioned earlier.

Now picking a point right under the button holes I cut straight across, I do the same straight across cut in back right under the semi-circle with the size and care information at back of the neck.  This gives me two decent size pieces of scrap fabric.  This can be used for making new clothing for smaller children, doll clothing, quilt squares,  throw pillows, just think outside the box and you can come up with plenty of projects.

This just leaves me with the neck/chest region remaining.  Here is where I actually do throw away a bit of fabric.  I cut panels on either side of the V button holes and throw the button holes away.  I also cut the sections around the label area in the back of neck, throwing away the label section.  I imagine I could go through ripping the seams on the back area to separate the fabric layers, I don’t bother.   This leaves you a couple more small pieces that can be used in your mini quilt/quilts, or for making pockets, doll clothing,  toss-a-cross rice squares, etc.

That’s it,  the final step is a couple large Ziploc baggies to hold your rag scraps, elastics and a rubber maid bin to hold your material scraps.  I have set a goal for myself to use them.  Once the bin is full  I open it and remove the pieces. From this I cut out a quilt pattern and sew it together, each quilt representing another passing of time and growth.  Same with the seam bag, when filled I sew them together end to end and begin working on a rag rug or rag placemats.

There is one more trick I wish to pass along to you.  If you have a shirt you really do not like pattern of, style of material, or that is badly stained and not salvageable for reuse as fabric.  Beginning at bottom, cut 2 to 3 inch strips all the way up to the top of shirt.  You want them to come off as circles, cut the circle to give you a flat strip of fabric, sew these together into a long rope and use that to braid or sew yourself a new rag rug.  The stains, pattern, or material won’t matter.

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This really was a quick dress, it took all of a hour plus a coffee break from start to finish.   My daughter loves to wear dresses, I wanted something simple that she could wear outside.  Finding the fabric on sale for under a dollar a yard, I couldn’t resist and this is the end result.   I think I will whip up a couple more this week to give her a variety to choose from.  When I do that I will try to post the pattern as well.

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This is a picture of my latest project(s).  Two quilt tops (minus the bordering/back/final stitching).  I apologize for not having pressed them prior to picture taking.  I am hoping by weekend to have the project completed, and will be sure to post the final quilt when it is.

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New Quilt Laid Out

Think I’ve found a workable pattern for laying out the pieces.  This quilt was a bit of a struggle as it was done with various size yards of fabric.  All the pieces were from scrap so there was more of some, less of others.  When finished it will fit a full size bed and host a border of black.  My mission today, start sewing the rows.

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While going through some old bags of clothing from when my children were infants and toddlers. I came across several pairs of pull up pants I had made her to cover her diapers. The fabric was still in good shape so true to form, I began brainstorming.  We had an old artificial Christmas tree I had been storing in the shed as it has gone past it’s prime.  Another item I just couldn’t bring myself to replace, because I “might” find use for it someday.  When the children began protesting to having their Christmas tree taken down, loving to lay by the fire beside it while basking in the soft glow of the lights.  I decided to put the old tree to use, rather then just being a Christmas tree, it would become a year round tree.  Showing the seasons and celebrations on it’s branches and offering it’s soft glow the year through.  The fabric would be the perfect compliment to some Valentine Ornaments, and so, the plan was finalized.

Making these items is so simple, but the memories of that little baby in those polka dotted panties will forever be in my heart, and now that statement is literal.

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