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Monthly Archives: February 2012

  • Coffee Mug Cozy

    February 27, 2012

    Add complexity to the French press cozy concept with an embroidered design and challenge your ability to turn a fabric sandwich through a narrow opening.

    Supplies Needed: coffee mug with straight sides cotton fabric small piece of cotton batting 2 - 5 inch lengths of elastic or ponytail holders 2  - buttons

    If you are going to add a machine embroidery design you will also need: - stabilizer appropriate for your fabric and embroidery design - kk2000 temporary spray adhesive - Air-erase pen or dressmakers chalk

    Measure the height of your coffee mug from the bottom edge to the top. Measure around the mug.

    If you are not going to add embroidery go to instructions for construction. 1. Draw a rectangle on the cotton fabric using your dimensions. 2. Leave enough extra cotton fabric around the rectangle so it can be hooped. 3. The embroidery design must be small enough to leave at least one inch of space between the edges of the design and the edges of the rectangle. 4. Spray a piece of stabilizer with kk2000 and smooth the fabric on top of the stabilizer. 5. Hoop the fabric and stabilizer together.

    6. Attach hoop to machine and stitch out design. 7. Trim away excess stabilizer on the backside of the embroidery.

    Instructions for construction: Cut the following to the size you determined by measuring your mug: - Cotton fabric, with or without embroidery - Backing fabric - Cotton batting 1. Layer the pieces together with the batting first. 2. Align the back piece right side facing up on batting 3. Align the front piece on top the back piece, wrong side facing up.

    4. Pin in place and sew a 1/2 inch seam around three sides leaving one short end open for turning. 5. Turn the cozy right side out. 6. Turn the open end in ½ inch and press. 7. Use ponytail holders or cut two strips of elastic to 5 inches long and fold in half to form loops 8. Insert elastic inside the open end of the cozy about ¾ inch from each corner. You might hold the closed end of the cozy next to the handle to check if the elastic pieces should be repositioned.

    9. Pin in place and sew a ¼ inch seam around the entire outside edge of the cozy. 10. Stitch over the elastic pieces a few times to secure them in place. 11. Add the buttons on the front side of the cozy on the opposite end from the loops. 12. Wrap the cozy around the mug and then wrap the loops around the buttons to secure it in place.

  • French Press Cozy

    February 21, 2012

    Keep your coffee or tea hot and cozy with a simple sewing project.

    A French press is not a weightlifter’s move.  It is, however, one of the easiest shapes to deal with when making a ‘cozy.’ This is because the typical French Press is cylindrical, with a uniform diameter except at the top.  So, a rectangular piece of fabric will easily wrap around the body of the press.  You need to decide if you want to make a narrow cozy that fits through the handle or a wider cozy that has a gap for the handle….. Or maybe a custom shape that has notches for the handle.  Let’s deal with the simple shape and leave the more complex shapes as an exercise for you to work out (not ‘workout’ like a weightlifter does). This is a ‘no sweat’ project.

    Supplies needed: Decorator fabric Backing fabric Cotton batting 2 - 5” Elastic cord or ponytail holders 2 - buttons

    Measure the circumference of your French press by passing the tape measure through the handle. Add 3” to the measurement for overlap and seam allowance. Measure the height you want your cozy to be and add 1” for seam allowance. NOTE: In the photos, you might notice the sample has ¼” seam allowances.  The problem with the narrower seam allowance is tucking in the seam allowance on the open end on the fourth side of the cozy.

    The measurements for my Bodum French Press are 8” from base to lid and 12” in circumference. The between-the-handle measurement is 5”.

    My cutting measurements are: 6” x 15” for top fabric, backing fabric and batting

    Construction: 1. Layer the pieces together with the batting first. 2. Align the back piece right-side facing up on batting. 3. Align the front piece on top of the back piece, wrong-side facing up. 4. Pin in place. Mark a 4” opening on one short end and sew a 1/2” seam around all sides leaving a 4” opening on one short end for turning. 5. Trim excess fabric from corners. 6. Turn the cozy right side out. 7. Turn the open end in 1/2” and press.

    8. Use ponytail holders or cut two strips of elastic to 5 inches long and fold in half to form loops.

    9. Insert elastic inside the open end of the cozy, placing one in each corner. 10. Secure the elastic loops with a basting stitch. This will prevent them from moving when you edge stitch the opening closed.

    11. Edge stitch the opening closed. 12. Top stitch a ¼" from edge around the entire outside edge of the cozy. 13. The edge with the loops will have 2 rows of stitching. Remove basting stitches if necessary.

    14. Wrap your cozy around the French press to determine button placement. 15. Sew on buttons.

  • Microwave Potato Bag

    February 14, 2012

    Potato Bag (n.) A small quilted bag that can produce fantastic fluffy baked potatoes in your microwave oven. It can also be used for corn on the cob, rolls, and  tortillas.

    The Warm Company created a batting called Warm Tater. It is 100% natural cotton that has not been chemically treated. This makes it ideal for cooking potatoes, corn, rolls or warming tortillas in the microwave.

    The directions for making these bags are available on The Warm Company website,

    Tater batting is available at Moore's Sewing Centers.

    The directions are for a 10” square bag. However, I decided to measure my microwave oven first to find the proper size for my potato bag.

    Supplemental instructions for the potato bag I made follow. 1. Measure your microwave oven first to determine the size of your bag. 2. Cut the fabric and batting to the proper size. 3. Prepare to mark quilting lines on the right-side of the outer fabric. Note that the maximum spacing is 5” per manufacturer's recommendations. 4. Using a ruler and chalk, I marked my quilting lines at a 45 degree angle. Then I stitched along the marked lines.

    5. I serged the 3 layers of the bag together on ALL sides with a 4 thread overlock stitch. 6. To create the hems on the narrow edges, I folded the fabric to the lining side 3/4”. My straight stitch was lengthened to 3.0.

    7. An easy way to create an even overlap of the hemmed ends is to stack one hem stitching line over the other and pin along the stitching line. With the hemmed ends pinned to each other, center the pins along the unsewn edges so that the distance is the same to each fold. Then, pin the sides together. 8. Sew the side seams.

    9. Turn the potato bag right side out. Launder and dry before using the bag for cooking.

  • Valentine's Day Heart Potholder

    February 7, 2012

    Have you noticed that most of these blogs start off with a question? Well, this one does not. (Actually, I guess it does, but this question does not count as a question.) Starting with a question is a way to entice you to read to discover the answer. Does this early February blog session need a question to tie the project to Valentine's Day? (Oops, another question that does not count as a question.) I doubt it, because the picture above definitely has a heart in it, and there is pretty much a direct correlation of hearts and Valentine's Day. So, forget the questions above and just read the blog for the fun of it. Maybe it will spark you to action and solve a problem that you did not know you might have – what to give for Valentine's Day?  (Oops again, sorry. That is the last question that does not count as a question.) The narrative follows.

    I love Valentine's Day. It is sort of like Christmas without the holiday stress. Likely, when we were in elementary school we exchanged cards. Just because we are no longer in school doesn't mean we can't send a valentine to someone special. Here is a quick and easy project that the recipient can use all year.

    Supplies: 2 – 9” squares of fabric (I used denim) 1 – 9” square of Insul-Bright batting 1 – 9” square of 100 % cotton batting 1 – 6” square of fabric for heart applique 1 – 6” square fusible web (I used steam-a-seam) 1 – 2 1/2” X 40” strip of fabric for binding 1. Draw a heart shape on the paper side of the fusible web approximately 5 ½ inches high and wide.

    2. Trim excess fusible web approximately ¼ inch from cutting line. 3. Press fusible web (with warm iron) to the wrong side of the applique fabric. 4. Cut heart shape out of fabric following the line you drew.

    5. Remove the paper backing from the fusible web. If you have problems getting the paper off, use a pin to score the paper, then start peeling from the score. This is much easier than trying to start at the edge of the fabric. 6. With one piece of fabric right-side up, center the heart applique on the 9 inch square. 7. Follow the fusible web manufacturer's instructions and press the applique heart to the 9 inch square of fabric.

    8. Create a sandwich of layers including the back fabric wrong-side up, both layers of batting (only one layer of batting is shown here, but 2 were used), and the top fabric with the heart right side up.

    9. To hold the sandwich together, use a blanket stitch along the edge of the heart. The length and width of blanket stitch you use is a personal choice. I used 3.0 width and 2.5 length. The fusible web will keep your fabric from fraying when washed. 10. This is how it will look on the back side when you are finished. 11. Square up your potholder to an 8 inch square (with the heart centered) using a ruler and rotary cutter.

    Binding If you have one, use your favorite quilt binding technique to finish the edges. The following instructions detail the technique I use. 1. Cut a strip of the binding fabric 2 ½” wide by the width (selvage edge to selvage edge) of the fabric.

    2. Line up the long edges, fold in half and press. 3. Start at the corner where you want the hanging loop to be. With the back side of the potholder facing up, line up the cut edges of the binding fabric with the sandwich edge. Set the needle in the center of the presser foot. Line up the edge of the presser foot with the fabric sandwich edge. Using a slightly long stitch length (about 3.0 stitch length and a Jeans size 14 needle because there are 6 layers when using 2 layers of batting), start sewing from the back edge of the sandwich along the first edge. BUT..... 4. Stop sewing at the width of your seam allowance from the end of the corner. Pivot fabric 45 degrees and sew off the corner of the fabric. Cut the threads. 5. Fold the binding away from the sandwich, forming a 45 degree angle. 6. Fold the binding back down, lining up the raw edges of the binding with the raw edges of the next side of the sandwich. The fold in the corner should be even with the edge that you just sewed. Align the binding and sandwich edges with the presser foot edge and start sewing from the back edge of the sandwich along the second edge. Continue this technique on the remaining sides. 7. When you get to the corner where you started, move the folded edge of the first sewn run of binding fabric out of the way so it won't get caught by the needle. Stitch up to, but not over, the line of stitching on the first sewn binding strip. No new stitching should touch the fabric of the first sewn run. 8. Measure out a 6 inch tail and cut off the excess binding fabric. 9. On all 4 sides, fold the binding strip to the front of your potholder, covering the stitching you created when you sewed from the back side. 10. Starting with the first side sewn, pin the binding fabric to the front along the long edges, mitering the corners as you go. 11. If done correctly, the 6 inch tail on the last side should cover the raw end of the binding sewn to the first side. 12. Fold the long raw edges of the tail inward toward the long folded edge of the binding so that the width of the tail matches the width of the binding sewn to the edges of the sandwich. If necessary, pin the tail to hold the folds. 13. Starting at the end of the of 6 inch tail and using a zig-zag stitch or a straight stitch, sew towards the potholder. I used a zig-zag stitch on the tail and changed to a straight stitch when I got to the potholder. Top stitch (or edge stitch if you prefer) near the folded edge of the binding all around the square.

    14. When you near a corner, slow down and leave the needle in a down position at the miter fold. Pivot the potholder 90 degrees and stitch towards the next corner. Continue stitching all the way around the potholder.

    15. To form the loop, fold the 6 inch tail over to the back. Adjust the loop to the size that you want and figure out how much, if any, of the tail to cut off.  You need to allow for a fold at the end to conceal the raw end and some overlap along the side where you will tack down the loop end.

    16. If your machine has a stitch for sewing on buttons, you can use it to make a great bar tack. Otherwise, set your machine to do a wide zig-zag stitch with 0 stitch length.

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