Sunday, October 15, 2017

Mini Banner Flags

Sunday, October 15, 2017
Mini Banner sewing tutorial
 I love making mini banners for accent pieces in my decor. They use a fairly small amount of fabric, can be customized for any style and they are a quick and satisfying project for an afternoon. Today I'm going to share with you the measurements and methods I use to make these mini banner flags.
make ornaments with mini banner flags

You can hang them individually with dowels and twine. They  make a great addition to a gallery wall. Or, use them as ornaments on a seasonal tree. **If you would like to embellish your banners with these badges, you can find the patterns Here on my contributor post for The Polka Dot Chair.
make a bunting with mini banner flags
Or, string them together to make a bunting.
Are you sold? Ready to make some?
Mini Banner Flag
Supplies:
Fabric- fat quarters or scraps, if buying yardage I recommend 1/3 yard for directional prints, 1/4 yard for non directional prints.
Finishing supplies: twine or ribbon for stringing, dowels and twine for individual hanging.
Felt for embellishments if desired.

Cutting:
cutting instructions for mini banners
 Cut a rectangle of fabric 4" wide by 10".
Fold in half along the length to create a 5" X 4" rectangle.
Fold in half again along the width to create a 5" X  2" rectangle. Now you will cut the angle to create the banner. Position your small rectangle so the fold on the short side is at the top.
 If you want one center point on the bottom:
  • measure up 1" on the side OPPOSITE the fold 
  • draw a line from that point to the opposite corner on the bottom.
  • Cut along that line
If you want two points on the sides on the bottom:
  • measure up 1" on the side WITH the fold 
  • draw a line from that point to the opposite corner on the bottom
  • cut along that line 
For both:
*If you want to embellish the flags, you can do it either before or after you sew the sides of the banner together. I like to do it after so that I can use more dimensional embellishments without it making it harder to sew the flags together, but if you don't want to see the stitching on the back, you may want to do it before.
  • Unfold the center fold to go back to your 5" X 4" rectangle, now with angles at the bottom.
  • Starting 1/2" down from the top fold, start sewing around the flag, using a 1/4" seam allowance.
  • Once you have sewn down 1 side and the bottom (the part with the angles) sew up the last side, leaving a 2" opening for turning before finishing the side 1/2" from the top.
  • Clip the bottom angles
  • turn right side out and press
  • topstitch around the flag, leaving 1/2" opening from top on both sides to create a channel for stringing or dowels, making sure to close the opening left for turning.
  • Repeat for as many flags as you'd like
 If you are making individual banners, cut your dowel down to 4 1/2" long and string through top channel on flag. Tie twine or ribbon on both sides of dowel to create hanger.
If you are making a bunting, arrange the flags in your desired order then string onto twine or ribbon.
sew mini bunting for seasonal decor
Let me know if you have any questions!
xoxo,
Amy
 

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Spider Swarm Pillow

Thursday, October 12, 2017
This is a sponsored post. I was given a Cricut Easy Press to use and review. All opinions and projects are my own.
Use EasyPress to create fun halloween decoration

I love having the ability to customize my projects and Iron on is such a fun way to do it. My problem with using iron on is getting it to adhere well to my projects. It always seemed to lift and peel. I have discovered that the problem wasn't the vinyl I was using- it was me. Not only was I using an iron, I wasn't heating the vinyl nearly long enough. Enter the Easy Press. The large heating surface heats evenly across the entire plate and a built in timer makes sure I don't stop before it's ready. It's so easy now to create projects that use iron on vinyl with confidence. Enter: The Spider Swarm pillow!!
I'm definitely one who prefers cute over creepy when it comes to Halloween decorations, but I don't mind a bit of skin crawling fun here and there. This spider swarm pillow fits my style perfectly.
Want to make one of your own? Read on:
Spider Swarm Pillow How-to
Supplies:
fabric for pillow cover: 1/2 yard white fabric
black iron on vinyl
trim (optional)
sewing supplies and vinyl cutting tool
16" X 16" pillow form

Cutting:
1- 16" X 16" square white fabric
2- 12" X 16" rectangles white fabric for back

Using your Cricut Maker, or other cutting machine, cut spiders out of black iron on vinyl- I used 4 different spiders, resized them and turned many of them different directions to create the swarm. One thing I didn't do, was make sure the spiders weren't touching each other- something I would definitely change next time. Using the Bright Pad made the weeding process much easier- it takes a while, but it's worth it (I think!) Since you can only cut 12" wide on the mat, I made the swarm fit within the 12" and then cut a few more spiders on another mat to individually scatter around the white edges.

Pressing:
Use Easy Press to adhere vinyl to pillow front. A couple of things to note- when placing your swarm, remember to leave room for your seam allowance (1/4"). I also left a bit of room on the bottom and sides because often pillow forms are squishy and you don't see that part of the pillow and I wanted to make sure you saw ALL the spiders. ;) This project would be a million times faster if you just created the swarm and then pressed it onto a premade pillow cover- like ones you can find at Ikea. But, the envelope closure of this pillow makes it a fairly straightforward sew- which lets you customize both the background fabric and add any trim or embellishments you might want.

Take one of the pillow back pieces and press one 16" side over 1", then again another 1" to create a finished edge. Top stitch down hem. Repeat for second back piece **Tip: If fabric is directional, make sure the sides you create hems on will overlap once placed on pillow back.



Assembly:
add vintage trim to pillow front by basting in place

If adding trim to edge of pillow, baste the trim down on the pillow front
back of pillow with envelope closure
Take your first pillow back piece and lay on the top of the pillow front, right side down. Line up the raw 16" edge with the side of the pillow and line up the top and bottom. Place the second pillow back piece, right side down, on top, lining up the opposite 16" side from the first piece. The two back pieces should overlap. Pin well, especially where the pieces overlap. Sew around all four sides of pillow using a 1/4" seam allowance.
Turn right side out and add a pillow form. Just like that, you have a new pillow!
halloween is much creepier with a spider swarm pillow

Making spider swarm pillow is easy with Cricut Easy Press
Now all that is left is to enjoy your creepy new decoration!
Happy Halloween!!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Sew a Bunny Softie with the new Cricut Maker

Thursday, September 28, 2017
cut softie pattern with Cricut Maker
I was given a Cricut Maker to review and this post contains affiliate links.

You have probably realized by now that my current crafting mostly involves fabric. I love all the new fabric prints and the fun things you can sew. I love that things last longer when made with fabric than with paper. What I don't love is all the prep work that goes into getting ready to sew. Preparing your fabric, cutting out the pattern pieces- it's a lot of effort that goes into getting ready to do the thing I really want to do, which is sew. That's where my love for the Cricut Maker runs deep! All the steps of printing or cutting out the pattern, pinning or tracing the pattern and then cutting out the fabric- they are all gone with this awesome machine! When I started looking for a pattern to try out this fun feature with, I couldn't resist these darling bunnies- and the best part is that the pattern is free if you have a Cricut Access membership!
All the pattern pieces were cut out with the Cricut Maker
Once I made one, my girls all decided they needed their own, so I ended up making three! I have a few tips for you if you decide to make this pattern that will hopefully help you out! Read all the directions for the project first- they will give you all the steps for assembly, but here are some of the things that worked for me:

baste bunny limbs closed before attaching to body
The first tip is to baste the limbs closed before attaching them to the body. I like my softies nice and firm since the batting tends to break down over time and I want them to have a nice feel for a long time. But, firm limbs are hard to attach since they don't have a lot of room for seam allowances. If you are new to sewing, I would leave a bit more space at the top of each limb so you have more room to work with. Basting will hold the sides of the limbs together and make them easier to attach.
adding limbs to the bunny can be tricky
The second tip is to baste the limbs to the body before adding the back. You can see that once you add arms, legs and ears, it's a bit crazy looking. Trying to keep everything pinned neatly in place can be tough, so go ahead and use a long stitch, and a scant (just smaller than) 1/4" seam allowance to stitch them all in place. Also, note the position of the ears on this bunny. I like them a bit to the sides so they don't always hang over the bunnies' face.
pin the bunny back on
Once you have the limbs sewn down, start at one of the notches on the body and line up the back. Normally when you pin two pieces together, you like them to be flat and even, but with so much bulk in the middle, you have to rely on the notches, and the seams to guide you when pinning. I start just below the notch on one side and pin that side in place, you can see that I leave the legs out of the bunny for now. It makes it much easier to sew the neck if you do the bottom last. Pin up the side and make sure the neck seams line up. Go around the head, pinning more than you normally do and down the other side. Again, check to make sure the neck and notch seams line up. Sew around the bunny where you have pinned- *tip: I like to back stitch a couple of times on places that will get a lot of stress- if your bunny will be loved (and if you give it to a child- it will!!) the limbs and ears will all get pulled on, so, I back stitch whenever I get to the beginning or end of a limb as I go around.
Now it's time to do the bottom. Feed your legs up and into the body of the bunny. It might take a bit of manipulation to get the feet through the neck. Get the bottom as neat as you can and pin from the inside of each leg and around the corner to where your stitching stops. Sew the two legs in, leaving the space between the legs open for stuffing. Make sure to back stitch when starting and stopping- especially the opening where you will turn the softie right side out and stuff it!!
**The biggest tip I have is to go slow and watch your seams. You want to make sure you are catching the front, back and both sides of each limb and ear so they are securely stitched into the bunny. Use a smallish stitch length and lift your presser foot often through the curves.
bunny softies
** Before you turn your softie right side out use pinking shears or sharp scissors to notch your curves. You will get a much smoother shape to your softie if you do!
dress for bunny softie
This is how I ended up making the dress. Cut out the pocket pieces and the dress pieces- skip the straps.
  •  Sew the pocket pieces right sides together, leaving 1-2" on the top straight edge for turning.
  • Clip seam on curves and turn right side out, press.
  • Edge stitch along the top of pocket to close the hole. 
  • Center the pocket on the front dress piece and sew around the bottom curve, back stitch at the beginning and end of pocket to secure. 
  •  Press the top of each dress piece down 1/4", then again 1/2". Press the bottom of each dress piece up 1/4" then again 1/4". 
  • Unfold the pressed hem pieces and put the two dress pieces right sides together. Sew down  both sides of dress (with notches)
  • Fold hems back up and top stitch down.
  • turn arm curves under 1/4" and top stitch
  • fold top hems back down and stitch at just under 1/2" to create a channel for the elastic.
  • Take a 7" piece of decorative elastic and thread it through the front and back channel of top of dress. Sew ends together and turn the elastic so the seam of the elastic is in the casing.
    elastic makes easy straps
The elastic allows the dress to easily come off and on.
sweet bunny softie
 I had so much fun making these bunnies. My three youngest girls have all claimed their favorites and are having so much fun playing with them.
fun bunnies to play with
I even used scraps and my Cricut Maker to create the little bunting in the background. I can't wait to use my Maker machine for all the crafting I want to do!

As always, let me know if you have any questions- I'm happy to help!
xoxo,
Amy

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Fabric, Felt and the New Cricut Maker

Thursday, September 7, 2017
This is a sponsored post. I received a Maker machine to review and this post also contains affiliate links. All opinions are my own.

Wondering why you might consider upgrading to a new Maker machine from your Explore? Curious as to what the fuss is all about? Interested in just how excited should you be if you sew or just love fabric? Today I am sharing exactly why I have been so giddy since I first heard about the new Cricut Maker machine.
cut felt and fabric with the Cricut Maker

I have owned a Cricut machine since they first came out. You might remember the cartridges? I still have some! As Cricut has grown and changed I have loved the updates and increased capabilities of their machines and design space. I was given an Explore when they first came out and I have used it over and over again. But, there has always been one draw back for me- working with fabric was always a challenge. I didn't always want to have to back my fabric with something in order to get it to cut. And, even if I did, I often felt like the cuts weren't clean. And don't even get me started on cutting felt! (the pictures below are from the Room Challenge I did for the Cricut Design Star challenge I participated in a couple of years ago, you can see in the first picture that the cuts are pretty good, but there are still a couple threads that didn't get cut all the way)
Cutting Fabric on the Cricut Explore- fabric backed with freezer paper

Reading pouf created using the Cricut Explore


I was told that Cricut was coming out with a new machine that would cut fabric- I was thrilled, but also a little skeptical because I had been told that before with the Explore machines. (which, while it technically does cut fabric, requires backing your fabric and sharp, new blades to get crisp, clean cuts)
So, when I went in to check out the machine- I came prepared with samples of my own! I wanted to see if it really would cut fabric, wool felt and even the cheap acrylic felt from the craft store.
cut fabric with Cricut Maker
Fabric cut with Cricut Maker

Let me tell you, this machine knocked my socks off! The rotary blade is magic!! It's a tiny 12mm blade and it lifts and pivots amazingly!
cut wool felt with Cricut Maker
felt bird cut with Cricut Maker

There are a couple of limitations you should be aware of:
 First: you can only cut down to a 3/4" radius on curves. Any smaller than that and you will damage your fabric mat. For really intricate cuts, they recommend using the bonded fabric blade and fabric backed with a stabilizer such as Heat n Bond
 Second: There is an over cut programmed into the machine so that the corners are sharp and neat, since there is a round blade involved. Why this matters is if you are cutting something thin, like the stem of a leaf, you might find that the stem is cut off because of the over cut. Just something to be aware of.
There are free projects available in Design Space to get you started cutting fabric and felt. In addition, Cricut has teamed up with Simplicity Patterns and Riley Blake Designs to provide patterns and quilts for you to purchase and make. Plus, with design space, you can upload your own designs and create your own projects! I will be sharing the file to make the pincushion in this post soon!
If you focus on paper projects or mostly cut vinyl and already have a Cricut Explore- I would definitely enjoy your machine and not upgrade. But, if you're like me and spend most of your time with fabric, needle and thread I would not hesitate for a second to make the switch. The adaptive tool system provides accuracy and pressure to cut cleanly and the new fabric mat holds the fabric in place so you don't need to add backing to your fabric.
Watch for lots more projects and videos from me soon!
xoxo,
Amy


This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Fabric Rose Projects to make for your home

Thursday, July 20, 2017
Rose projects made with coming up roses projects
*fabrics in this post were provided by Penny Rose Fabrics as part of their Coming up Roses Blog tour. Projects and opinions are all my own

The first time I saw this Coming up Roses fabric by Penny Rose Fabrics two thoughts came into my mind. The first was that I needed to make an abstract rose mini quilt and the second was this quote by Anais Nin:
blooming flower Anais Nin quote
I have loved this quote forever. It makes me really think and want to try to bloom. :)
Coming up Roses fabric bundle
Don't these fabrics make you feel the same way? I love the purples, but I chose to work with the traditional rose colors of red and pink.
abstract rose pillow
I wanted to mimic the abstract look of the flowers in the main print and found this great tutorial on Hey Let's Make Stuff. I followed most of her instructions, although I didn't do the final quilting until the end because I wanted to do a wavy spiral to mimic a flower. I started with 1 1/2", 2" and 2 1/2" strips of fabric for the center and then moved to 2 1/2", 3" and 3 1/2" wide strips for the outer petals. I just adore the green striped binding!!
I initially thought I would make a mini quilt, but in the end decided to make a fun pillow!  I used a 16" pillow form and a simple envelope closure for the back.
Dimensional roses on fabric banner
The next project I did was this dimensional flower banner. I just love how these 3-d flowers look! I'll be posting a tutorial as soon as I get better lighting. :)
banner with dimensional roses
And last, but not least:
Long stemmed fabric roses for decor

These fabric roses were a fun accent piece to make up! I used this tutorial from Snowy Bliss. The only changes I made were to cut the strips 3" wide instead of 4 1/2" and on the two smaller flowers I used 26" long strips instead of WOF to make them smaller. A tip when making these: if you want the flower to be more open, gather the fabric strip more, it will push your petals out more.
use fabric to create rose themed home decor
I just love how these projects came out and I can't wait to find a special place in my craft room to display them and remind myself that it might take courage to blossom, but it's not as hard as staying small!
xoxo,
Amy

Monday, June 12, 2017

Joyful Snowflake table runner with free pattern

Monday, June 12, 2017
free sewing pattern for this Joyful Snowflake table runner
The fabric for this post was provided by Riley Blake Designs, the pattern and opinions are all my own.

Today is my turn on the Comfort and Joy blog tour for Riley Blake Designs. This fabric is seriously cute! I decided to take a motif from one of the mittens in the line and created a free pattern for a table runner that I just can't wait to use next holiday season. And, it's already ready, which is one of the benefits of sewing for Christmas in June! :)
use Comfort and Joy fabric from Riley Blake Designs to create a holiday table runner
 My kids thought it was crazy that I was using Christmas fabric in the summer time, but hey, what do they know?

Joyful Snowflake table runner is sewn using Comfort and Joy fabric from Riley Blake
 I just love all these great colors!
You can find the free tutorial available for download here. But, please remember that this pattern is provided as a courtesy. Every effort was made to ensure accuracy in fabric requirements, cutting and assembly instructions. But, I'm only human. If you do discover an error, please send me an e-mail and I will correct it as quickly as possible. 
The joyful snowflake table runner is shown with coordinating embroidered ornaments
 I am currently working on editing and modifying the patterns for these fun holiday ornaments as well. I'm hoping they will be ready for sale in July!

So, tell me, are you an early bird and get going on the holiday preparations super ahead of time, or are you more like I usually am and kind of a last minute person? Maybe you're a bit in between? I'd love to hear how you gear up for big events like the holiday season.

If you want to see more projects using this Comfort and Joy fabric, you can see the other stops on the blog tour on the Riley Blake Designs blog.
xoxo,
Amy
 

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Patriotic Dresden Pillow

Thursday, June 8, 2017
**This post is a partnership with Nancy's Notions all opinions are my own
Patriotic Dresden Pillow

I am so excited to share with you this Patriotic Dresden Pillow.  I was sent a dresden ruler from Nancy's Notions and decided it was time to start adding some accessories to my front porch, and a pillow for my prized chairs built for me by my dad more than 15 years ago would be a great place to start. The hardest part was choosing fabric. Sometimes you hang on to fabric for a while waiting for just the right project to come along. That happened to me with the Doodlebug Designs Star Spangled fabric bundle. I've had it for 3 years now just waiting for the right thing, and this project was the winner.
Would you believe I've never made a dresden plate before? They always intimidated me with their angles and applique. But, they are actually pretty easy and fun and with the instructions that come with the ruler, even a first time run at them can be successful!
dresden plate applique with patriotic fabric
I love every single print in this fabric line! I'm excited to finish up the second pillow so I can put them out on my porch.
patriotic dresden pillow on front porch
I'm liking where this is going!

Some notes on the finished pillow:
I used a 20" pillow form and put a hidden zipper closure on the back. I used the 7" measurement on the ruler- it's so nice that you can make tons of different sizes with just the one ruler.
use finger creases to center dresden plate on pillow front
To center the dresden plate on the pillow front, I just folded the background fabric into quarters and finger pressed creases on the folds, then I lined up the points of the applique with the creased lines, quick and easy! I did the same thing when positioning the center applique circles. ;)
use edge stitching to applique the dresden to the pillow front
I used a simple edge stitch to attach the applique to the pillow front, but you could use any of the recommended stitches in the book that comes with your acrylic ruler.
colorful chair with patriotic dresden pillow
I had a lot of fun using this ruler and I thought the book that came with it was very helpful and informative. I referred to it often when making this pillow. I will definitely be using the ruler again with future projects!
If you'd like a more detailed tutorial on how I constructed the pillow, let me know in the comments, I would be happy to help.
xoxo,
Amy

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Project Teen Study pillow and Color block notebook from Game Day Fabrics

Wednesday, April 26, 2017
Game Day fabrics are perfect for sewing projects for boys and teens
Today is my turn on the Game Day blog tour and I could not be more excited!  I love the fun color ways and the sports theme is perfect for my teen and tween boys! I was provided with fabric from Riley Blake Designs to create a couple of projects to show off this fun collection. I decided to sew a Study Pillow from the book Project Teen by Melissa Mortenson as well as a fabric notebook cover that I designed.
Study pillow and color block notebook cover from Game Day fabrics
The Study Pillow is a hit with my boys and I foresee it getting a lot of use this summer when they head outdoors to read and hang out on the deck. I love the pockets and the down pillow inside will be a favorite of my kids for sure. Just as a note- if you have the book, the instructions for cutting the back are incorrect and should read 19" X 27"
Use Game Day fabrics to create a color block notebook cover
I wanted to create a notebook cover to go along with the study pillow so I designed this one to mimic the color blocking of the Study Pillow. I love the addition of the piping to bring out the navy in the numbers fabric. You can find the tutorial for the notebook cover HERE.

I had a blast sewing with this fun fabric and hope you enjoy the projects I created!
XOXO,
Amy

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Color Block Fabric Notebook Cover Tutorial

Tuesday, April 25, 2017
Sew a color block cover for your composition notebook with this tutorial
color block fabric covered notebook tutorial
I love sewing notebook covers from fabric. You can customize them to match your style and add to the function by adding a pocket for pens and an elastic to keep the pages closed.  This is not the first notebook cover tutorial I have posted (you can see them HERE and HERE), but I realized that I didn't have one for a composition notebook that added a pen pocket, so I thought I would correct that.

Supplies:
You could make this from two fat quarters, but if you want to have the variety, you will need small pieces of other fabrics as well. I used fabric provided by Riley Blake Designs for participation in the Game Day blog tour.
fusible fleece
You will also need elastic and piping (optional)
Sewing supplies are a given. ;)
You will probably also want a composition notebook 

Cutting:
For the inside of the notebook cover 1- 10 1/2" X 16" piece
For the two flaps to hold the notebook in the cover 2- 5" X 10 1/2" (I cut this from the same fabric I cut the inside piece from)
For the front accent piece (the numbers fabric in this example) 1- 7" X 11" piece
for the front main piece (the orange fabric) 1- 10" X 11" piece
for the pen pocket  2- 3" X 6" 
1- 10" X 15 1/2" piece fusible fleece
cut 1- 11" piece of elastic
optional- cut 1- 11" piece of piping

Assembly:
*all seams use a 1/4" seam allowance
Assembling the front of the color block notebook cover
(from left to right)
  • Attach piping to the main front piece (the 10"X11" piece)
  • Place the front accent piece (7"X11") right side down on the main piece and sew
  • press the accent piece to the side
  • fuse the fleece to the back of the front piece, following manufacturer instructions
  • Trim the front piece to 10 1/2" X 16"
  • Top stitch the front accent piece where the piping is attached
  • Take pocket pieces and place right sides together, sew around all sides, leaving an opening for turning.
  • Clip corners of pocket piece and turn right side out.
  • press and top stitch the top of the pocket
  • position the pocket on the front of the cover- 1" to the right of the piping and 1 1/2" up from the bottom.
  • Stitch around the two sides and bottom of the pocket.
assembling the color block notebook cover
  • place the front cover piece face up on your work surface
  • Position the elastic 2" in from the left side- pin in place (this pic shows it on top of the flap, but that's just so you can see the positioning, it should be UNDER the flap)
  • Press the flap pieces (5" X 10 1/2") in half along the length to create 2- 2 1/2" X 10 1/2" pieces
  • Line the raw edges of the flaps with the two sides of the front cover
  • place the lining of the notebook cover right side DOWN on top of the cover, pin in place
  • sew around all the edges of the cover, leaving an opening in the bottom for turning 
  • clip the corners and turn the cover right side out and press
  • stitch the opening in the bottom closed.

Slide in your composition notebook and enjoy!
These would be great for teacher appreciation or for keeping notes on your projects. I plan on making them for each of my children for our summer activities so they have a place to keep writing over the school break.
As always, if there are any questions, don't hesitate to ask!
XOXO,
Amy

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