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Monthly Archives: May 2013

  • Laundry Bag

    May 28, 2013

    Keeping with our current theme of getting ready for a vacation, I decided to make a laundry bag. Mesh fabric is very popular currently, and the colors are bright and fun. What better fabric is there to make a laundry bag – particularly if your vacation includes packing a bathing suit? A laundry bag made out of mesh fabric will allow damp items to air dry. – no, not when packed in a suitcase – this is not magic fabric, it is mesh fabric.


    ½ yard of 60” wide nylon mesh for the lower bag panel – the green in my case ¼ yard of 60” wide nylon mesh for the upper bag panel - black 1 ½ yards drawstring cording scrap of water-soluble stabilizer (at least 1 inch square)


    From the top mesh (black in my sample) cut a strip 36” wide x 9” high. From the bottom mesh cut a rectangle 36” wide x 18” high. Pin the top mesh panel to the bottom mesh panel along the 36” edge.

    1. Using a 1/2” seam allowance, sew or serge the panels right-sides together. For your meshes, this may seem to be an ambiguous statement, but the fact is that my black mesh does not have a right-side and the green mesh does have a right-side. 2. Finger press the seam towards the bottom panel and topstitch along the seam to secure the seam in the facing down position. 3. Fold the panel in half right-sides together to form an 18” x 26”  rectangle. There is always a right-side for this step. The raw edges of the joining seam must be out. 4. Sew along the bottom and side with a 1/2” seam allowance. I changed thread color to match the mesh. 5. If you do not like the look of raw edges on the inside of your bag you can use a serger or do a french seam finish. (See the tutorial on how to do a french seam in the pillowcase blog posted on January 22, 2013.) 6. At the fold in the top mesh, opposite the seam just sewn, mark 1/2” on each side of fold and 1” down from top edge.  The center butterfly pin along the top edge in the photo is the fold line.

    7. Place water soluble stabilizer on the wrong side of the mesh. Remove pins before sewing a buttonhole.

    8. Following the instructions for your machine, sew a 3/4” horizontal buttonhole 1 1/4” down from the top raw edge and between the vertical pins. 9. Cut buttonhole open.

    10. Trim away excess stabilizer.

    11. Fold down top raw edge 1/2”. Finger press and secure with pins. 12. Fold down another 1/2” and pin. 13. Edge stitch along the inner fold all the way around to form the casing. 14. Attach a safety pin to one end of the cording and feed through the casing. 15. To prevent cording from pulling out of casing, sew across the casing on the side with the seam. 16.  The excess water-soluble stabilizer will dissolve when held under running water.

  • Gadget Travel Tote

    May 22, 2013

    Convert a dish towel into a multi-pocket case to keep some of your devices, chargers, cords and accessories neat when you are on the go. Short trip or long trip, you can adapt how you use this organizer readily. You can also adapt the size to accommodate your collection of 'stuff.'

    The concept is to fold a towel (or other fabric) and do some sewing in such a way as to create two rows of pockets and a covering flap.  If you start with a towel there is no edge sewing treatment to do.

    The diagram below illustrates how the towel (fabric) is folded.

    A little math and the length of the fabric for a desired pocket size can be calculated OR the pocket size for the length of a piece of fabric (maybe a towel) can be calculated OR forget the math and just experiment.

    Total fabric length =  (5 times rear pocket length) – 2

    example for 7 inch pocket - - (5 x 7) – 2 = 35 – 2 = 33 inches  fabric length


    Rear Pocket length = (length of fabric + 2) divided by 5

    example for 28 inches of fabric - -   (28 + 2) / 5 = 30 / 5 = 6 inch rear pocket

    I started with an 18” x 28” kitchen towel purchased at Sam's Club. As you can see from the photos, the stripe design in the towel worked out very well...... I was lucky this time. No measurements are made to the stripes.

    How To:

    1. Place the towel wrong-side up on your workspace. A ruler along the edge makes it easy to mark where the folds should go. My cutting mat is marked in inches. You might want to use a yard stick instead of a marked cutting mat. 2. Place a pin at the 12 inch, 18 inch and 24 inch marks. 3. Fold the bottom edge at the 24 inch mark. 4. Secure the fold on both sides with pins. 5. Flip the towel over and fold at the 18 inch mark (towel is folded back onto itself). 6. Pin both edges to secure the folds. 7. Flip the remaining 12 inches back over the other folds. 8. Pin all the layers together on both sides. 9. If you folded the towel correctly, it will have two long pockets -- one 4 inches deep and the other 6 inches deep.

    10. Pin and sew along both sides. 11. Create eight pockets total by marking three seams with pins, spacing them as desired.

    12. Sew the pocket dividers.

    13. Fill the pockets with your electronic gadgets. 14. Fold the top of towel over pockets.

    Optional -- sew two lengths of ribbon to the top and two lengths of ribbon to the bottom edges for closures.

  • Luggage Handle Cover

    May 14, 2013

    If you've taken any airplane trips in the past few years, you should be aware of the popularity of carry-on bags (or you must have had your eyes closed for the entire trip, starting from arrival at the airport). You probably observed that almost all the handles are black and look the same. To identify your bag and reduce the odds of you pulling the wrong one out, or worse yet, someone taking your bag, put a cover on your handle. If you have an embroidery machine, you can personalize the handle with your name.


    2 - 6” x 6 ½” pieces of fabric 1 - 6” x 6 ½” piece of thin batting 5” of ¾” wide sew-on Velcro (or a flexible hook and loop fastener brand or your choice)


    1. Lay fabric right-sides together.

    2. Lay the piece of batting on top.

    3. Sew around all sides with a ¼” seam allowance, leaving a 2” opening for turning.

    4. Trim the corners.

    5. Pull the fabric through the 2” opening. Push out the corners with a chop stick. Tuck the fabric in at the opening and press.

    6. Edge stitch around all four sides.

    7. A little glue will help hold Velcro in place.

    8. On one of the sides that is now 5 ½” long, sew down one piece of the Velcro.

    9. Turn the handle cover over and sew the other piece of the Velcro to the edge opposite the first piece of Velcro which is now 'hidden.'

    10. The cover is now ready to attach to the handle of your suitcase.

  • Bling It Up With Glitter Heat Set Vinyl

    May 8, 2013

    Glitter heat set vinyl has been around for a while. Owners of a Silhouette Cameo cutter have been able to cut simple and complex designs in the vinyl and  fuse them onto cotton, polyester and cotton/poly blend textiles. Embroidery machine owners can use the technique described in this blog to produce a limited range of - but still pretty spectacular - glitter bling designs with this vinyl – no vinyl cutter needed.

    The secrets of doing this are revealed below - - - -

    Glitter vinyl is a heat set product. When a design is cut with the Silhouette Cameo, the design must be cut with the carrier sheet and glittery (is there really such a word?) side down on the cutting mat. To get the correct final results, the design must be cut as a mirror image of the finished look. The cut design is placed glitter-side up on the fabric and heat fused with an iron or heat press. But, we digress...

    Secrets revealed

    The glitter applique may be only part of the 'artwork' that you want to put on a particular piece of fabric or garment. This technique may not be compatible with designs that require multiple hooping where the vinyl would have to be clamped between the inner and outer hoop rings.

    1. Stabilize and hoop the fabric as you would normally for an embroidered applique design.

    2. Stitch the placement line of applique design. 3. The vinyl material is a bit expensive, so cut a piece large enough to cover the placement stitch and outer satin stitch, but avoid overly generous borders. For the secret vinyl embroidery technique, remove the heavy plastic covering (carrier sheet) from the cut piece of the vinyl. 4. LIGHTLY spray the backside (hot melt glue side) with temporary spray adhesive.

    5. Cover the placement stitch line with glitter vinyl, glitter-side up.

    6. Stitch the design. Note – the outer boundaries of the design must be a satin stitch.

    7. Tear away excess glitter vinyl. 8. Note - Before removing the stabilizer from the project, the vinyl must be heat set.  Follow the remaining directions. 9. Though some form of a heat press with temperature control and a clamping mechanism is preferable, you can use a household iron to fuse the vinyl to the fabric. The results will not be as consistent when an iron is used. If you have a choice of irons, pick the heaviest and highest wattage iron for this job. 10. Place the project applique-side up on a firm padded surface that can take some heat. 11. Cover the glitter vinyl and surrounding fabric with a Teflon press sheet. 12. The iron/press should be set for a temperature of 315-320 degrees F (typically HIGH for an iron).

    13. Press the iron straight down, apply 'medium to heavy' pressure without moving the iron sideways for 10-15 seconds. 14.  Remove iron and let the materials cool until you can handle the materials. 15. Remove stabilizer. 16. Admire your work.

    Care Guide: Turn garment inside out and machine wash with cool/warm water temperature. Line dry.

    Credits for Embroidery Designs Shown:

    BIKE lettering created with TT Fonts in Floriani software. Bow design created in Floriani software. Baseball applique from Anita Goodesign

  • Jewelry Pouch

    May 1, 2013

    Taking your beads and baubles on vacation can result in a tangled mess by the time you unpack – but you can avoid most or all of the hassle by planning ahead. This jewelry pouch, with eight wedge-shaped pockets, is perfect for holding necklaces, earrings, bracelets and probably more. The pouch gathers up tightly, protecting your jewelry from most, maybe all, miscellaneous mixing and matching.


    You need three different size circles. The size of the large circle will determine the finished size of your pouch. An example set of ready-made circles is listed below:

    - A dinner plate for the large circle - approximately 12 inches - A lid from a saucepan for the medium circle - approximately 9 inches - A glass for the small circle - approximately 3 inches


    ½ yard each of two print fabrics Seam gauge Fabric marker or tailor's chalk small piece of batting 1 ½ yards of drawstring cording or ribbon

    Cut two large circles – one circle from each print fabric.

    Cut two medium circles - one circle from each print fabric.

    Cut one small circle from batting.

    All the cut materials.


    1.  Make a small (about 3/8 inch) buttonhole on the right-side of the large exterior circle fabric. The distance between the end of the buttonhole closest  to the raw edge of the circle and the raw edge should be approximately 1 1/2”.

    2.  Center the small circle of batting on the wrong-side of a medium circle.

    3. Machine baste around the batting as close to the edge as possible. 4. Pin the two large circles right-sides together. Pin the two medium circles right-sides together.

    5. Using a 1/4” seam allowance, stitch each circle-pair together, leaving a 1 inch opening for turning.

    6. Trim around circles with pinking shears OR make small clips about every inch around the seam allowances of each sewn circle. Be careful not to cut into the seam stitching.

    7. Turn each circle-pair right side out through the opening. Use a chopstick or a long blunt end tool to help round out the circles.

    8. Fold in the raw edges so they are flush with the sewn seam and press all around.

    9. Edge stitch around each circle-pair. 10. Divide the medium circle into eighths and mark stitching lines with fabric marker from the basting stitch circle to the outer edge of the circle-pair.

    11. Place the large circle-pair exterior-side down (buttonhole side down) on work surface. Center the medium circle-pair, stitch line markings up, on the large circle-pair. Pin in place.

    12. Stitch the two circle-pairs together following the batting basting circle.

    13. Stitch on the marked eighth lines, starting from the batting circle stitch line and working to the outside edge of the medium circle-pair.

    Drawstring Casing:

    1. Create two circular lines of stitching, one on each side of the buttonhole, for the drawstring casing. With the medium circle-pair up, start sewing the inner casing stitch at the inner end of the buttonhole, using the medium circle-pair edge as a guide. Do not catch the edge. Sew all the way around. Sew the outer casing stitch, starting at the outer end of the buttonhole, and maintaining the spacing from the inner casing stitch. Sew all the way around.

    2. Use a safety pin to pull the cord or ribbon through the casing.

    The completed project should look something like this:

5 Item(s)