Here is a baby banner sewn using handmade applique fabric letters! I wanted to start personalizing some of my sewing projects like blankets, so used this mini project as a way to tryout applique. I hand-cut all the triangles and made the applique letters out of fabric. All this sewing project requires is a few triangles, a few applique letters, and some store-bought fabric binding! The whole project was completed in a short afternoon.
Quilting Cotton or Lightweight Cotton Fabric – 2 to 3 Colors
2 Yards Fabric Binding – 1/2″ Wide
Heat-N-Bond Lite Fusible Web
Thread in Coordinating Color
Markers, Pen, Paper, Scissors
Optional: Rotary Cutter, Mat, Quilting Grid, Fabric Chalk
Finished Banner measures 51″ Long w/ 11″ tail on each side.
Finished Triangles measure 6″ x 7″ each.
Cut Triangles. Take 2 pieces of fabric, place Wrong Sides together, pin, and cut into a triangle. Cut as many as desired. Pin together so each set of triangles stays together and set aside. Each has an extra inch or so at the top, see diagram.
I cut 9 triangles – 6.5″ x 8″ each.
Make Letters. I hand drew the letters using paper and pen. Then traced a heavy outline with a Sharpie Marker. Rough trim around outline and set aside. Make sure to estimate how big the letters should be to fit into triangles. Leave about a 1-inch space around each letter. Mine are about 2″ x 3″.
Prepare Fusible Web. I cut a fusible strip enough to fit all the letters. Then, using fabric I chose for lettering, cut enough fabric to fit the fusible. Iron the fabric to the fusible as directed. Note: Many people trace first then fuse!
Trace Letters. Trace each letter by placing the letter face down, then placing the fused fabric face down directly on top of the letter so paper backing is facing up. The letter outline should show through the fabric. Trace directly onto the paper side. The letter should be traced in reverse. Cut each letter out following the outline.
Iron On Letters. Place each letter onto a triangle, peel off backing, iron as directed. Zigzag stitch around the edge of each letter.
Sew Triangles Together. Place Right Sides of triangles together, pin, then sew about a 1/4″ from edge leaving top (flat side) un-sewn. Turn inside out, poke out point, iron down seams.
Sew Triangles To Binding. Space out and pin triangles to binding. Sew across binding. Done! I left the binding tails undone.
I found this great video online on how to create applique fabric letters. She has a great way to trace letters using a window pane here. There are many ways to make letters including using a printer. Here is a video on making letters with a printer.
Fusible Web – This is the stuff used to glue fabric together! There are many out there. Choose a double stick fusible suitable for your fabric type. Steam A Seam 2, Wonder Under, or Heat N Bond are the most popular. I used Heat N Bond. Some of my letters didn’t stick right! I’m not sure if I ironed too much or had the wrong setting.
I bought all my supplies on Craftsy! Yes, they now have a wonderful store and prices are very decent. And they carry all the best products/brands. From fusible web to batting! I loved the shopping experience as well. I also used a Rotary Cutter, Quilting Ruler, Self-Healing Mat, and fabric chalk to cut all my triangles. Supplies found here. Craftsy also has a lovely tutorial on simple baby blanket with applique letters.
There are many styles of buntings that come in different shapes. Try square, rounded, or any other simple shape. Fabric scraps can be great for this project. Or about 2 fat quarters of fabric plus some for the letters is all that is needed. I used polyester thread, Allover Owls by Spring Creative, a solid broadcloth for the backing, and white scrap fabric for the letters.
One of my new year’s resolutions was to sew a simple blanket and here it is – my first baby blankets! It was so easy, I made two! One with owls and one with elephants, both are reversible. I used a combination of flannel and cotton fabrics for these blankets. It made a nice lightweight blanket perfect for baby or spring. Requires no batting!
Simply sew two squares of fabric together leaving a 6-inch wide opening un-sewn. Turn inside out by pulling fabric through opening, then topstitch! Voila! I used a fun decorative stitch for the border since my sewing machine had them.
Next time I would also like to personalize with applique using felt letters or fused fabric letters!
2 Squares of Fabric approx. 1 yard each
Sewing Thread like Gutermann or Aurafil (Polyester or Cotton)
Fabrics I Used
Fanfare by Cloud 9, Organic Cotton Flannel, 2 Yards
Bright Owl Allover by Springs Creative Products, Cotton Flannel, 1 Yard
Sweet Meadow Panel by Springs Creative Products, 100% Cotton, 1 Panel
Owl Blanket – 35.5″ wide x 40.5″ high
Elephant Blanket – 34″ wide x 41″ high
1. LAUNDER FABRIC by washing, drying, then ironing fabric. Be sure to wash and dry as appropriate for the fiber content and as you would in the future.
2. LINE UP FABRIC to ensure you are working with clean edges and fabric prints are properly aligned. Trim edges to square up corners and make straight. Adjust placement so both pieces are oriented as desired. Trim again to make equal. See Notes for more on how to properly “true up” fabric.
3. PIN FABRIC by placing right sides of fabric facing each other (so only wrong sides are showing). Make sure corners and edges are lined up correctly, smooth out fabrics. Iron if necessary. Repeat until well aligned. Pin along sides to make sure fabric stays in place.
4. MARK FABRIC using fabric chalk or pins. Mark a 6-inch wide opening on one side where you will not sew. This opening will be used to turn the blanket inside out. Optional: Create a rounded corner by placing a cup or bowl in the corner, trace, and trim.
5. SEW FABRIC using a 5/8″ seam allowance beginning at one mark and ending at the other. Be sure to leave the 6-inch opening un-sewn and backstitch at each mark.
6. PRESS OPEN SEAMS before turning inside out. For rounded corners, cut notches in corners to reduce bulk. Fold open flaps and iron flat along seam to flatten.
7. TURN INSIDE OUT by pulling corners through opening. Poke out corners with a butter knife or pen.
8. IRON OUT EDGES to ensure nice clean folds at the seams.
9. TOP STITCH along border to finish! Choose a traditional Straight Stitch or try a decorative stitch if your machine provides them. Stitch using 1/2″ seam allowance. Polish off by ironing along border to press topstitch flat.
“True up” your fabric to give all edges a straight clean line and re-orient the weave of a fabric to make it lay flat and square giving it 90-degree corners. It will help printed fabrics like stripes or checkers and nap fabrics like Corduroy lay perfectly on your piece. Here is a great tutorial on how to “true-up” or “square-up” your fabric on The Daily Sew. She uses a striped fabric which is a great example.
In a nutshell, you will remove selvedges by snipping and tearing along grain line, tug fabric on the bias across entire piece and back, remove the jagged edge by finding the weft thread and pull to find the crossgrain line, cut along that line. Don’t forget to steam and iron between each step.
I chose easy prints like Polka Dots because it’s an allover print. For first time sewers repetitive patterns that have no orientation are more forgiving. Prints like stripes, plaids, and checkers can be more difficult because they have a direction with straight lines and angles that must be aligned, cut, and sewn accordingly.
Buying Fabric – Choose cotton or cotton blends. They’re the easiest to work with for beginner projects. Make sure it’s machine washable and dryable. Usually sold by the yard or portions of a yard, fabrics can come in 42-59 inch wide bolts. Just read the bolt or ask someone to find out the fiber content or width.
1 yard = 36 inches. So 1 yard of 42″ fabric will give you a 36″x42″ piece. If a larger than the bolt size is needed, you may have to turn the fabric sideways and sew together more fabric to create one larger piece. If the fabric has a pattern, aligning the pattern exactly where the cuts meet and buying enough extra fabric to account for that is required. How best to sew and cut so seams look nice will depend on the size of the piece and the print pattern.
I just discovered CreativeBug.com. It’s basically a website dedicated to online videos for Knitting, Crochet, Sewing, and other crafts. From short how-to videos and projects to full craft classes and workshops. But it’s also kind of an online school for knitting and crochet. I love the idea!
What makes Creative Bug unique is that a project is taught entirely through video. Also, you will recognize many famous knitters and crocheters in these videos. Many of whom you may be a fan of already ! They are taught by expert instructors many of whom are well-known designers and crafters with decades of experience. And all in a very easy to follow and enjoyable way.
Each class, workshop, or project features a series of step-by-step videos. The first one I checked out was Norah Gaughan’s Knit Cabled Hat. Loved the way the project was broken up into different smaller videos for each step. The videos looked wonderful and I really enjoyed hearing about Norah’s love of cables too.
It sure beats you-tubing for random how-to videos!
How It Works
CreativeBug.com is not free. However, the monthly subscription is $4.95 and can be cancelled at any time. This subscription gives you unlimited access to videos each month. That’s not bad! Even if I signed up for a month just to take one class, it is well worth it! Also, a very affordable way to take classes for people who’d like to try out Knitting for the first time or people on a budget! There is a free section too that includes classes like How To Thread A Serger and other basic fun stuff.
Check it out! There is a 2-week trial available for new members too.
Every single quilt pattern below is FREE from Art Gallery Fabrics. And is just a few of many other free quilt patterns they have. The skill level varies greatly but the patterns aren’t really marked. So if you’re a beginner quilter, try gauging how difficult a pattern is by looking at the intricacy of the pattern. Does it contain a lot of complex shapes? How many different shape variations are contained in the one quilt? Some easy ones are “Dream of a Garden” and “Posh Flowers”.
This pattern is available for FREE from Art Gallery Fabrics. I found it while browsing all their lovely fabrics. It’s a really cute bag and the pattern is pretty simple! Available for download in PDF format, the pattern includes easy to follow illustrated instructions and real size templates that you can use to cut your pattern out.
Saddle Bag Pattern by Pat Bravo
Finished Size: 9.5″ x 6.5” not including straps
They also have a whole page of other really cute free sewing patterns that they designed! And also a ton of FREE QUILT PATTERNS that are really good ones! Post about free quilting patterns from Art Gallery Fabrics coming soon.
Switch out the above fabric combination for something more subtle and versatile. Perhaps try a corduroy.
I plan to make this bag out of denim! I have a lot of old denim sitting around that I’ll probably never wear (or fit in) again! Le sigh. So in an effort to make lemonade out of a sour situation I plan to re-purpose that denim for pieces to make this bag. Possibly in a patchwork denim style. The strap will definitely include patches of different kinds of denim. Perhaps the body of the bag too. Great for odd shaped pieces too. Stitch those together free-form quilt-style to make a larger piece of fabric to work with. Then use this fabric to cut the pattern out as is to form some great irregular designs!
If using a heavy weight fabric like denim, skip the interfacing and just follow the directions as is.
Recycle your old clothing, linens, scrap materials etc. This is the perfect project for it. It doesn’t need large swaths of fabric, so it can be a great way to make use of scrap fabric.
I also like this pattern because I wanted to make a toddler or baby purse and was hoping to translate the pattern to a smaller scale for a cute little girlie purse! Or perhaps enlarge the pattern for a larger adult messenger-style purse.
I got a new sewing machine for christmas!! Wahoooo! Here was my first little test project on it. I tried a few stitches out on some Quilt Weight Cotton, some Home Dec Weight Cotton, and … denim!
It all started out when the Treasure Hunter asked me to fix a pair of his fave denim jeans which had an awkward tear in the crotch area! After fixing that up, we decided to do a little denim customization and added a fabric detail to the cuff on a pair of denim jeans. I used some scrap material from a beautiful fabric with wood grain print.
I didn’t do much measuring and just eyeballed everything. There wasn’t much need to true up the fabric or precise measuring. I did not even break out the iron or pre-wash the fabric. All bad habits but for a simple experiment it was fine. I marked about 4 inches from the edge of the jean cuff (see below pic) and cut out a strip of fabric 4 inches wide and long enough to wrap around the entire pant leg. Pinned and sewed! Making sure to pre-fold in the edges where I could. I also made sure to sew as invisibly as possibly by making all my stitches near the seams.
- Cut a 4 inch wide strip (add some extra width for folding down). Long enough to wrap around the entire cuff with some extra for folding in.
- Fold in the lower edge. I folded down about 1/2 inch. This edge will be attached to the bottom of the cuff. Pin down the fold.
- Turn pants inside out. Line up the folded edge to the edge of the cuff. See here. Pin it down. Leaving the leftover length by the inseam. Line up the fabric pattern or nap in the way you find most appealing. Try folding the cuff up to see how the pattern shows.
- Sew as flush along the bottom edge of the cuff (near the original cuff seam) as possible from inseam to inseam. Fold down one flap to overlap the other. Try to make sure the flap meets at the inseam. This is where you will sew to seal it. Trim excess.
- Then sew along the other end of the fabric from inseam to inseam. Sew right over the overlapping flaps to seal. Make sure fabric is smooth and flat against the jean.
- Finally sew along the inseam where the flaps overlap. Sew as close to the original seam as possible! Done!
Choose any fabric you desire for your denim cuff accents! Great for fabric scraps. Fold the cuffs back down for normal style jeans.
I chose this beautiful fabric on the left.
Brazilian Rose Wood
Graphic Design BNP by Bold Inc.
Woodworking Landscape Products
❤ Thanks to the Treasure Hunter for the beautiful fabric!!
After finding a great inspiration in these IKEA fabrics and some encouragement from Twitter friends, I took a look into making my first quilt. I figure it will make a lovely dead-of-winter project for January and a lovely post-holiday present for myself for once. Plus, it would be great to make use of scrap fabrics. Plus, I need a blanket!
First stop, here are a few free ones from Quilting.about.com ranging from easier to harder. I figure I may try my hand at a few quilt blocks first to see if I can tackle making a whole (Queen-sized) quilt for myself this winter season. I may mix them with solid fabric blocks and work on a nice embroidery pattern too to mix it up while keeping the skill-level at Easy! We shall see.
I liked the simple design pattern. Great for a monochromatic color scheme (I’d like my quilt to be cream/ivory/white tones) and also a good learner pattern to get my feet wet with quilting techniques. No triangular shapes or too many little pieces and the square shapes make less waste fabric and a more efficient use of fabric. Makes an 8-inch quilt block. [pattern]
I do want to try a star pattern with triangular pieces too. This pattern was one of the simpler ones I found that was still appealing and that had a star pattern. I liked this pattern also for a monochrome quilt. It’s more intricate than the Log Cabin, having more little pieces per block and a more complex design pattern. Makes a 12-inch quilt block. [pattern]
This was my third fave of the bunch also because I felt it would look cute in a cream monochrome too. Less complex than the star one above yet the design pattern still had some meat to it and also it has a good mix of small pieces rectangular and triangular pieces. Perhaps a great “second block” to try. So a good alternative if the Evening Star is too hard as a first foray is too ambitious. Makes a 9-inch quilt block. [pattern]
My favorite star design of the bunch. And probably the hardest. Some points on the star are made up of a myriad of smaller triangles, 17 to be exact. So probably much harder to work with for a newbie quilter. At least the pattern design itself is not as complex as say the Evening Star one shown above. Another benefit is this quilt block pattern is an especially great use of tiny scrap fabric because it contains so many extra small triangle pieces. Makes a 12-inch quilt block. [pattern]
If you’re in New York, then we have a shop for you! I also stopped into City Quilter over the weekend to check out this wonderful shop all dedicated to quilting! They have a huge selection of beautiful fabrics and also everything you need to make your quilt from Cotton Batting and Embroidery Stencils, to tools, books, and magazines, to a lovely display of many beautiful quilts and quilt art!! They also teach classes in their back room which looks like it got a face-lift since last time I visited.
12.5″ x 7″ Med-Heavy Weight Cotton Fabric (2 pieces)
9″ Zipper (1)
Finished Dimensions: 11in x 5in
Duration: 2 hours
Dressmaker Shears (or Rotary Cutter + Quilting Ruler + Self-Healing Mat)
Embroidery Scissors (or Thread Cutter)
Pins, Tailor’s Chalk, Iron
Pinking Shears (optional)
Seam Ripper (optional)
Skill Level: Beginner
I’m using Black Quiet from the Echino Collection by Etsuko Furuya for Kokka Fabrics Japan, 45% Linen, 55% Cotton, Home Dec Weight
Zigzag Stitch Method – Set sewing machine to Zigzag. Zigzag Stitch on and off the very edge around the entire border of the fabric to “seal” it. Run off the edge of the fabric at each corner to keep the corners crisp. Continue until all four borders are sealed.
Pinking Shears + Straight Stitch Method – Straight Stitch around the entire border of the fabric with a 2cm Seam Allowance. In other words, sew 2cm into the fabric leaving 2cm of border fabric. Pivot fabric at each corner. To Pivot – When you reach 2cm to the end of the fabric, leave the needle in the fabric, lift the presser foot, turn the fabric, lock presser foot back down, and continue until the last corner. Pivot one last time and sew over a few stitches in the first side to finish. Then using Pinking Shears, trim the edge of the fabric as close to the stitches as possible.
Serger Method – This requires a serger machine!
Reclaimed yarn by Magic Pixie Knitter
How much more do-it-yourself can knitting, crocheting, and sewing your own things get? By making your own yarn or fabric! But how without learning a whole new discipline for each? Well think about resurrecting some old yarn or fabric for some truly Do-It-Yourself Do-It-Yourself. A great economical and eco-friendly way to save too!
2 Ways for DIY Fabric
Save all old clothes, linens, curtains, etc. Perhaps these fabrics or textiles can be used for sample garments or muslins, a bunch of small zippered pouches or wallets. Or for quilting. I know I have a sea of denim that would be better put to good use than thrown out or donated.
Shop thrift shops, Good Will, or Salvation Army for large-sized garments that can be cut down to harvest their fabrics. You may find that there are many vintage pattern gems to be found and for beyond cheap to boot! Very economical especially if you are experimenting with ideas and techniques. Also great for making sample garments, just look for garments made out of materials that most closely match the final garment you’d like to create.
2 Ways for DIY Yarn
Make some T-Shirt Yarn from some old t-shirts for some unique projects like braided, knit, or crochet belts, necklaces, and accessories. Great for re-dyeing! New Dress A Day has a nice video tutorial on dyeing fabric.
Buy a sweater at a thrift store to salvage the yarn. Harvesting this yarn will require patient unraveling and soaking in lukewarm water to smooth out the yarn. Drying, then re-winding CraftStylish has a nice write-up on this. With very detailed steps in how to go about unraveling. Neauveau.com also a nice tutorial. More on harvesting yarn here on Re-Nest.com that includes choosing the right sweater and looking for wool rather than synthetics.
Shop it up! Keep your eyes peeled for good thrift shops in your area. The dingier the better because you are looking for cheap prices and large-sized garments less likely to be found in more hipster-style vintage shops. A great way to “shop” without feeling guilty considering you’ll be recycling old garments while supporting your hobby!
Save your scraps! Not for quilting but for swatches. I like to save a swatch of each fabric or yarn in a fabric or yarn book for swatches. Or keep them with your pattern notes. Be sure to include handy information like the manufacturer and pattern or yarn weight and color code. And of course the material or fiber content!
Oliver+S, known for their lovely illustrated childrens patterns, gave away a free skirt pattern not too long ago on their blog: www.oliverands.com/blog. Their cute site and easy to follow patterns are great for the budding sewer.
An easy, no-pattern, sewing pattern for an elastic waist dirndl-style skirt from Oliver + S, The Lazy Days Skirt. http://www.oliverands.com/blog/2008/08/lazy-days-skirt-free-pattern.html [pdf] Easily modified to make an adult garment!