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Monthly Archives: March 2012

  • Spring Banner

    March 27, 2012

    Spring is an interesting time of the year. For some strange reason, some of us feel the need to clean and to organize our sewing rooms. This is when I find supplies for projects not yet started and projects started but not yet completed (and a few completed projects that got mixed in with everything else).

    I was organizing my embroidery design CDs when I saw my “All-Occasion Banners by PJ’s In The Hoop" design CD. Its time had arrived. So without hesitation, I pulled some fabric from my collection and decided to stitch out a Spring banner. Okay -  I was bored with cleaning, and any excuse would work to do something different.

    The designs you want to put in your banner will determine the amount/size of the following supplies:

    Fabric (may need more than one design and/or color) Stiffener, such as Timtex Water soluble stabilizer Tear away stabilizer Embroidery thread Spray adhesive (double-sided tape)

    A detailed set of instructions is included in the step-by-step tutorial that is on the CD.  The highlights of my construction steps are included here.

    I decided to include a carrot, a bunny and the word SPRING in my banner. The design pack has 40 graphic designs, the numbers 0 to 9 and letters A to Z. You can create a banner for every occasion.

    Each banner piece has an outline stitch, a satin stitch, and stitching for two eyelets.  Some pieces have additional adornment stitches.

    Instructions (for each banner piece): 1. Hoop tear away stabilizer. Most of the designs will fit in a 4 x 4 hoop. 2. The thread color should be one that contrasts with the stabilizer for this step. Sew the outline stitch.

    3. Remove the hoop from the machine and the stabilizer from the hoop. Cut out the stitched shape along the stitching line. This is your pattern for cutting your Timtex (stiffener).

    4. Pin the pattern to the stiffener and trace along the outer edge of the shape. 5. Remove the pin and pattern. Cut the stiffener along the traced line. 6. Hoop water soluble stabilizer. 7. Change the bobbin and top thread to a color that will match your fabric. 8. Attach the hoop to the machine and sew the outline stitch again. 9. Remove the hoop from the machine. Apply spray adhesive to the back side of the stitched area.

    10. With right-side of the back fabric facing you, center over the stitched area and stick to stabilizer.

    11. Return the hoop to the machine and sew the outline stitch again. 12. Remove the hoop from the machine and spray the stitched area on the front side. 13. Stick the Timtex cutout precisely within the stitched area. (I found my stiffener would not stick to the spray adhesive, so I used double-sided tape.) 14. Spray the  adhesive on the stiffener. (I used double-sided tape again, making sure it was in an area that the needle would be stitching. 15. With right-side of the front fabric facing you, center over the stitched area and stick to the Timtex. 16. Return the hoop to the machine and sew the outline stitch again. 17. Remove the hoop from the machine and trim both the front and back fabrics closely along the outer edge of the stitching.

    18. Attach your hoop to the machine and sew the remaining stitching steps, changing both bobbin and top thread as required.

    19. Remove the banner piece from the hoop and trim the excess stabilizer. 20. Cut the eyelets with an eyelet cutter. If you cut any stitches, just dab some seam sealant on the eyelet thread.

    21. Dissolve any remaining stabilizer with water on a small paintbrush or a sponge. Note: If you use a larger hoop, you can stitch out more than one design in the hoop.

    You are now ready to attach your banner shapes together using ribbon, string, beads or bows.

  • Chenille Fabric Panel Blanket

    March 19, 2012

    It’s easy to make a layered image chenille blanket. The finished size will be determined by the size of the fabric panel.

    Supplies: Sewing machine with walking foot Sharp blunt end scissors (blades sharp, point blunt - not the other way around) Ruler Chalk or water-soluble pen kk2000 temporary spray adhesive Olfa Chenille Cutter 3 fabric panels 1 piece of fabric for backing cut 2 inches wider and longer than the panels

    Note: These instructions are for making a large panel quilt with different backing fabric and edge binding as pictured above.  The instructional pictures are for an applique on a tote and show 4 panels all facing up. Regardless of the back fabric, only the top 3 layers are cut and frayed to produce the chenille effect.


    1. Using chalk or a water-soluble pen, mark the top layer with a bias line. 2. Stack the panels so the designs are directly on top of each other. 3. Place a pin on a distinctive part of the design. 4. Put the pin through the same spot on all the layers. 5. Stack the 3 pinned panels face up and centered on the backing fabric that is wrong side up. 6. Use kk2000 temporary spray adhesive to keep the backing and panels from shifting while sewing.

    7. With a straight stitch set for length of 2.0, stitch along the drawn bias line. 8. Stitch parallel lines at equal distance apart all the way out to the edges of the fabric. The lines can be from ¼” to ½” apart. The closer the lines, the fluffier the finished product will look. I stitch 3/8” apart. The easiest way to keep your rows straight is to use your presser foot as a guide and to adjust the needle position to get the spacing you want.

    9. After all the lines have been stitched, cut between the stitched channels (on one end only) - DO NOT CUT THE BACKING LAYER. Using a pair of blunt-end scissors, clip about one inch of each channel. Finish cutting each of the channels along its entire length using the Olfa Chenille Cutter. 10. After the stitching and cutting is done, add binding to your quilt. See how to apply binding in the earlier Valentine's Day Heart Potholder blog. 11. You can use a stiff brush to fluff the chenille, or you can fluff the chenille by washing and drying it, or do both.

    NOTE: If you currently have or suspect that you have plumbing problems associated with your washing machine and/or house drain, I suggest that you take this project to a laundromat and wash it there. You might want to go somewhat incognito.

  • Purse Organizer

    March 12, 2012

    This purse organizer is a great way to make transferring 'vital' contents from one purse to another fast and easy.

    You may want to make your organizer longer or shorter, depending on what you have in your purse. To determine the length I wanted my organizer to be, I laid out what I have in my purse on the grid lines of my cutting mat, leaving an inch space between them. My full-table size cutting mat not being long enough, I pared down the items to those which are most universally required.

    Supplies: 2 - pieces of fabric 8” wide by the length you determine. I cut mine 8” x 26”. 2 - pieces of stiff interfacing the same size as fabric. The interfacing should be stiff enough that when ironed onto the back of the fabric you can stand the fabric up.

    Directions: 1. Iron the interfacing to the wrong side of the fabric pieces. 2. With right-sides facing, sew the pieces together using a ½” seam allowance. Be sure to leave an opening large enough for your hand to pull the fabric through. 3. Clip the corners close to the stitching. I like to taper the seam allowance near the corner. How much you taper depends on how bulky your fabric is. I find about an inch from the corner works well for most fabric . 4. Turn the fabric right side out through the opening. 5. If necessary, push out the corners with a narrow tool, i.e. a knitting needle or point turner. 6. Iron the fabric flat.

    7. Edge stitch around the entire rectangle. 8. Fold up the bottom edge about 3”.

    9. Stitch the sides closed by stitching close to the edge. I stitched on top the line of stitching I just did. 10. Measure each of the items that will be in the organizer and add an inch to the width.

    11. Place a pin where you think you want the stitching line to be and do a test fit before marking the sewing line.

    12. Sew pockets.

    The stiff interfacing helps keep the pocket open when you take something out so you can easily get it back in.

    When you change purses next time, you can take out the entire organizer and place it in the other purse.

  • Pocket Placemat

    March 6, 2012

    This place mat can be made with or without embroidery. I decided to try out the new Anita Goodesign ‘Dogs and Cats’ designs.

    Choose washable fabrics. Depending on your fabric choices, this place mat can work for any occasion. I used denim. I like the idea of a pocket in which to put a napkin and flatware, but you can leave it off if you prefer.

    Finished size: 21” width by 14” height

    Supplies: 2 - pieces of fabric 22” x 15” (mat) 1 - piece of fabric 6” x 12” (pocket) 1 - ¼” strip of fusible web for opening (optional)

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

    Cut top and backing fabric to 22” x 15” Cut pocket fabric to 6” x 12”

    If you are not going to sew any embroidery designs then go to the instructions for construction.

    Embroidery placement:

    1. Mark the top-side mat fabric where you want the design to be sewn. I marked a line 5 ½” from the right edge (where the pocket is going to be) and marked the center of the remaining 16 ½” x 15” area. 2. Fold the pocket fabric in half to create a 6” x 6” square. Mark the center of the square. Unfold before hooping.

    Embroidery sew out: 1. Choose a hoop that is large enough for the design. 2. Cut stabilizer large enough to be hooped.

    If your fabric choice is lightweight, you may choose to hoop both the fabric and the stabilizer.  If the fabric is heavyweight, you may prefer to hoop only the stabilizer. (I had to spray ‘Best Press” to get the hoop marks out of the denim fabric after hooping both it and the stabilizer.... what was I thinking?.... I don't hoop heavyweight fabric.....)

    I have found, in both cases above, that sticking the fabric to the stabilizer with a suitable spray or glue generally produces improved sew outs. For the heavyweight fabrics, I use my machines' basting stitch to help hold the fabric in place.

    3. Spray the stabilizer with kk2000 and smooth the fabric on top of the stabilizer. Hoop the fabric and stabilizer together or just hoop the stabilizer per comments above.

    My least favorite part of embroidery is hooping the fabric. I never seem to get it lined up with the hoop centering cross-hairs. But, I use the camera and 'snowman' feature my machine has to automatically rotate and locate the center of my design so the design sew out is exactly where I want it. In the photo above, the screen indicates that the design will be rotated one degree to line up with the snowman marker.

    4. Attach the hoop to machine. Orient the design properly for each sew out. The pocket zone is to the lower right of the mat sew out.  The pocket top is the fold.  Stitch out design. 5. When the sewing is complete for each design, remove the hoop from the machine. Trim away excess stabilizer on the backside of the embroidery.

    Construction: 1. With the pocket folded to a square, the back side facing up, and the lower raw edges lined up with the lower raw edge of the right-side up front mat fabric, align the raw pocket edge on the right with the line you drew on the front fabric (5 ½” from the right edge).

    2. ONLY along the right raw edge, stitch the pocket to the placemat using a ½” seam allowance. 3. Flip the pocket over and press. Now, the raw edges to the right and the bottom raw edges of the pocket should line up with the placemat raw edges. 4. Baste the pocket to the placemat along the remaining raw edges. 5. Lay the backing fabric on top of the placemat fabric, right-sides together and pin in place.

    6. Sew a ½” seam along the edges leaving an opening large enough for your hand for turning. 7. Turn the placemat right side out and press. Also, turn the fabric of the opening in ½” and press.

    8. To hold the edges together at the opening, you can pin them or you can use a ¼” by length-of-the-opening strip of fusible web . 9. Top stitch a ¼” along the entire outer edge of the placemat. Because my fabric is denim and it ravels, I did another line of top stitching as close to the edge as I could. I also added some top stitching to the pocket.

    To really make this a special placemat/napkin combo, how about adding a name or initials to the napkin?

    Confused about that plate?  It is NOT part of the placemat. The clear glass plate fell out of the sky in just the right place, centered on top of the mat embroidery design......  OK, I put it there.....

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