How to sew snap tape to close a pillow back

How to sew snap tape to make a pillow back so you can remove the cover for washing.

I’ve been making a few throw pillows (cushions if you are British) just recently and been looking for ways to close the back so they are still easily accessible for removing the insert and washing the cover, but I don’t have any long zips right now (and I admit I’ve not yet ever sewn a zipper into a pillow cover) so I was looking for alternatives. A few ideas: Just step up and learn how to do it with a zipper (added to a future to-do list) Sew on buttons and buttonholes (I’ve got these skills mastered now I think) Use Velco, hook and loop tape (sticks to everything in the wash) Make an ‘envelope’ back that just opens and overlaps (Like my woven fabric pillow and the Oliver the Owl nursery pillow) Just stuff and then sew the pillow … Continue reading

Faux chenille baby blanket

The most adorable chenille style baby blanket. I want to make a full sized on for my own bed. Just takes a bit of patience!

After my recent attempt at quilting and all the adventures, failures and very steep learning curve that went into making a baby quilt, I decided for my next expectant friend, a different approach was in order. Pinterest to the rescue for inspiration and I came across this tutorial for a faux chenille baby blanket. Although the end result is lovely, it didn’t look easy and even the writer had plenty of problems along the way. Never to be daunted, I gathered my materials and got to work. Materials needed: Top layer – I used this cotton panel above.  Any good quality non-stretch fabric should work. Quilt binding, or make your own Underneath – shaggy layers, I used 3 pieces of flannel.  Try with 3 or 4 layers. Basting spray Patience – lots of it I wish I’d used a lighter color … Continue reading

Estimating extra fabric for pattern matching (and giveaway)

How to work out exactly how much extra fabric you'll need to buy to match a pattern.

So you’ve got the perfect pattern and you’ve seen the perfect fabric.  Except the envelope says that you need 3.5 yards to make this dress.  THEN its says ‘extra will be needed for pattern matching’.  Your fabric has a print you’ll want to match.  So exactly how much extra fabric will you need.  Half a yard, a yard, 2 yards?  I know exactly the lady who knows – introducing Gwen who knows everything there is to know about matching fabric to patterns. How Much Do You Want? We all know that feeling…  Maybe you’re shopping for a particular project or maybe you are just window shopping – but all of a sudden, out of the blue, a piece of fabric catches your eye and you just can’t look away… The color, the texture, the design – it connects with something … Continue reading

Oliver the Owl nursery pillow with piping

How to sew this cute owl nursery pillow

Did you see the owl applique I made following the instructions and pattern as one of the projects in the Fun with Fusible Applique course?  He was destined to become a nursery pillow, nothing ‘too cutesy’ by request, but still colorful and fun. But so far he’s just on a plain ivory colored cotton panel so I thought he needed a bit more color.  I wanted to make a patchwork border, but couldn’t face sewing lots of little squares together!  It’s just not me.  Match this fact with my lack of sewing time this week, a raging headache and just being overall in a big rush and he didn’t exactly turn out as I had imagined.  Moral of the story – sewing can’t be rushed if you want to do it properly. Watch out everyone, there’s another sewing failure on … Continue reading

How to add a zipper pocket to any purse pattern

Tips and video on how to add a zipper pocket to the inside or outside of a bag pattern.

So you have a basic purse pattern, or have a pattern that includes a basic slip pocket and you would like a zipper pocket.  Not a problem – this sort of thing can usually be added to any bag.  You can add them on the outside like in the Nautical Expanding Tote Bag, or on the inside of the bag in the lining like this example from the Carry All Bag.  Or both if you want lots of pockets and storage.  The exposed zipper can really add a nice pop of color and an interesting design feature to any bag. Here are a few of my tips and tricks to help you insert your first zipper pocket, as part of the My First Bag series of patterns and tutorials. Watch the video Here is an extract from the Nautical Tote … Continue reading

Oliver the Owl Pillow – Fun with Fusible Applique

Making an Owl applique cushion. Fun with Fusible Applique.

Have you seen owls have been everywhere the last couple of years.  So I wasn’t surprised when one of the expectant moms-to-be in my circle asked me to make her an owl cushion for her nursery, but not one that was ‘too cutesy’. I’ve dabbled in applique before, and designed a couple of small mug-rug type projects for the Spring Mug Rug and the Nautical Mug Rug. They were really fun to make. But I really was making it up as I went along in terms of my technique, materials and especially my stitching.  For this project, I wanted it to be really special, something I could be proud of for a new baby’s nursery, and I wanted a really good owl applique pattern.  I’d had my eye on a course called Fun with Fusible Applique and remembered that it … Continue reading

How to make and use piping

How to make your own basic piping and attach it to a pillow or cushion cover

When I sewed my Woven Fabric Pillow, I wanted to make a nice edge to the woven front panel, where it joined to the plain back.  Adding in some piping also helped to give the cover a nice shape and definition.  But the focus of my project was really the woven fabric strips and I rushed the piping, not making a perfect job.  Well, I’m working on another cover this week and want to make some perfect piping.  Let’s see how I get on. Making basic piping How to make and use piping.  Piping can be made ahead of time and stored, just the same way you make bias tape from fabric left-overs and save it for the perfect project.  In fact, piping needs to be made with bias tape, because it needs the fabric to be cut on the … Continue reading

How to print and assemble a PDF Pattern

Tips on how to print and assemble PDF sewing patterns. Good info here.

One of the comments/questions from the recent survey was about PDF patterns.  I forget of course that there are a lot of people out there who haven’t used many PDF’s – since I only started sewing recently PDF patterns were already common and I’ve used far more home-print patterns than tissue paper ones.  I very much prefer them, but understand they can be confusing. There are a lot of things you have to get right, and in the right order, for your pattern to be correct.  Let’s have a look at all the steps and I’ll try to answer all of your questions I’ve had. What’s so good about PDF print-at-home patterns? Usually all the sizes come in the same file to make grading easier If you tear it, cut the wrong size, the dog eats it, or you spill … Continue reading

Sewing a buttonhole with the buttonhole foot

Sewing machine buttonholes, perfect first time, every time.

Did you see my earlier article and video on how to sew on a button with your machine?  It wasn’t difficult at all, just a little bit of fiddling to make sure the needle lined up exactly with the button holes.  But, I admitted, I’m scared silly of actually sewing the buttonhole. Why?  Well the buttonhole is usually sewn right at the end of the project when eveything else is done. What if it messes up, gets all tangled, is skewed or just plain untidy?  It must be very hard to unpick a tiny buttonhole and resew without damaging the fabric.  And what if there are several, say 6 buttonholes to sew.  That means 6 chances to make a mess.  To do it nicely, each and every one has to be sewn correctly.  Getting it right on the first try, … Continue reading

Fab Felt Christmas – series wrap up and what’s coming next

Everything you need for a fab felt Christmas. Felt Christmas Tree and lots of links to ornament tutorials.

Well, it’s been fun but our Christmas in July feature has now come to an end.  I’ve been enjoying a wonderful vacation away from the computer (mostly) and want to give a great big THANK YOU to all the wonderful bloggers who contributed unique felt and fabric ornament tutorials for you while I was away. Let’s have a quick recap in case you missed any of them.  See something you like?  Click on the picture to find out more and go to the tutorial. Fab Felt Christmas Tree So we started off with my tutorial for the Fab Felt Tree.  A bit of a departure from just sewing and a bit of simple crafting with cardboard involved to make this fun tree for your home, or for the kids to play with. Easiest Ever Felt Ornaments Then I completely cheated … Continue reading

Fab Felt Christmas Tree Ornaments – part 5

6 fab felt and fabric Christmas ornaments to sew.

To round off the wonderful blogging guests who have taken part in this Christmas in July series, today a total of 6 sewing bloggers share with your their tutorials for fab felt and fabric Christmas ornaments.  These tutorials are all new, all written just for you and the Christmas in July series. From simple to sophisticated, you’ll be sure to find a tutorial here you’ll want to pin and save for later.  Some of the examples today could easily be sewn by children, with a little help.  Why not sit and sew together? Stephanie at The Tip Toe Fairy Ren at The Inspired Wren  Wendi and Shiny Happy World Karin at Leigh Laurel Studios Remona at The Stitching Scientist Palak and Make It Handmade   Don’t forget to pin these tutorials so you can find them later, and follow the … Continue reading