Home Dec

Quick Fun Project: Tissue Box Covers

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Handmade tissue box covers aren’t always the decor you want. This one is kind of growing on me though.

I’m the first to admit that hand-made tissue box covers can go horribly, horribly, wrong. But stick with me – they don’t have to. In fact, they can add a little charm to just about any room.

If you are looking for an easy to make gift, or simply to brighten up one of your own spaces, you might want to give these covers a try.

I found a free tutorial for some quick tissue box covers on Blueprint. There are lots of them out there, but this one worked well for me.

Using the tutorial as a guide, I made a pattern for the cube shaped style of tissue box. You could make your cover as simple as a single layer of opaque fabric. Or you could make something padded, lined, and trimmed. It’s really up to you.

I opted for a more finished cover with bias trim and a lined inside. So for each cover, I used the pattern to cut 5 layers:

  • Outer fabric
  • Lining fabric
  • 2 Interfacing (I used a medium weight fusible)
  • Batting (I used a fusible version)

Fuse the interfacing to the wrong side of the fabric pieces. Trim the batting piece to remove the seam allowance (or just cut smaller to begin with). Then fuse it to the interfacing side of the outer fabric.

Through all layers, stitch an outline of  the top edge of the box shape. Then clip the corners to the stitching line.

Cut a hole in the center slightly smaller than the desired opening. Cut into the hole’s corners to make tabs that can be folded to the inside. Clip or pin the tabs to the inside then carefully topstitch them in place.

To trim the opening, you can simply place binding tape or trim on the inside of the box and sew in place. Or you can be fancy and apply the binding around the hole’s edge.

To get a perfect fit, pin the side seams while arranging the cover lining-side out over a tissue box. Then make a strong overcast seam on all four sides.

To finish, apply contrasting trim around the bottom edge.

TIP: Keep a covered empty tissue box at your sewing station. It’s a great place to tuck thread clippings and other small trash as you work.

SUPPLIES
  • tissue_box_cover_16Fabric: inner, outer: any woven fabric will do. I like quilting cottons just for the variety of designs available. Requirements will vary depending on the size of the tissue box. You will need a piece slightly larger than 2 x height of box side + (box length) X 2 x height of box side + (box width). Great for those scraps you can’t get rid of!
  • Bias Tape: buy the pre-packaged kind or make your own. In this case, you don’t have to cut bias strips. You can cut your strips on the grain because it won’t need to stretch around curves. So, you can use those little scraps for this too!
  • Fusible interfacing: The stiffer the interfacing, the crisper looking your cover will be. I used Pellon SF101, but you can go softer or harder if you prefer.
  • Batting: I happened to have some fusible fleece on hand, but any batting will do.

More coming soon!

sewing_sig

Useful Thing

Business card wallet

card_wallet_5Here’s another small crafty project from my recent crafty sewing binge.

I ran across this nifty business card holder pattern while on one of my recent lost afternoons surfing fabric websites. I landed on AmyButlerDesigns.com, home of all things Amy Butler. If you are not familiar with her work, she makes bright, fun graphic designs. You can find them on quilting, home dec and fashion fabric and more. One of the great things about the website is the fairly long catalog of free patterns. Many of the patterns are for quilting, but there are also a few for bags and accessories. I thought it would be fun to try a small project to see what I thought.

This is the Business Card Keeper. Once you “purchase” your free pattern, you are able to download a pdf file containing the instructions and pattern pieces. In this case, the only pattern piece is for the swoopy-edged cover flap. The rest of the pieces are rectangles cut to specified dimensions.

card_wallet_1I have to admit, there was more to the little pattern than I expected. It requires the fabric, of course. But it also requires heavy-weight sew-in interfacing and heavy fusible interfacing, both of which I had to hunt around for. The closure is hook-and-loop tape (aka velcro). I’m pretty sure I followed the directions correctly, but apparently I didn’t. Everything turned out a little too small and lot too crooked. I think it’s cute, but in that kind of “Awww, she made that herself” kind of way.

Don’t let that put you off, though. I think my lack of quilting experience really shows on this one. If you can handle precision 1/4 inch seams, you should do fine!

card_wallet_2Fabric.com carries a lot of Amy Butler fabrics, but far from all. I bought my “Cotton Blossom” yardage from a vendor on Etsy. I think if I was really excited about a particular collection, I would seek out stores that were quilting-specific. The fabric I used for my wallet was made from a random fat-quarter I bought because it was cute. Sigh.

I have a little more craftiness on the way, then back to fashion sewing.

Until then, happy sewing!

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Useful Thing

Vanity Table Headbands

This is a chance to use up all of those partially used cards of trim.

I like to put on a headband while I get ready for my day.  It keeps the hair off of my face while I stand at the sink or sit in front of the mirror. Unfortunately, pre-made headbands are always too loose for me. Instead of settling, I make my own.

I like to make flat headbands with hook and loop closures. I can make them loose or tight depending on where I connect the ends. They are really easy to make and a fun way to use up scraps.

Here’s how:

You’ll need

  • Terry or towel fabric
  • 1 1/2 – 2 yards wide or extra-wide double-fold bias binding such as Wrights or make your own
  • 3/4 in. to 1 1/4 in. sew-on hook and loop tape, such as Velcro
  • Matching thread
  • Any trims that appeal to you – just make sure they can be washed
Cutting is so simple, it is easy to do more than one at a time

Seems obvious, but measure your head first. Write down the measurement and add at least 3 inches. That will be the length of the band.

If you haven’t already, wash and dry the terry cloth.

Lay the terry flat and cut a strip 2 1/2 inches x your chosen length.

Cut a 3 inch strip of hook and loop tape.

I made a semi-circular template with a 2 1/2 inch diameter out of lightweight cardboard, then used it and a fabric marker to mark the headband’s rounded ends. If you want to leave them square or cut free-hand, that’s fine too. Use sharp fabric scissors to cut the ends.

Sew the fuzzy piece of tape (loop) to one end of the top side, 1/2 inch from one end. Sew the rough (hook) piece to the opposite end on the bottom side, one inch from the end.

Sew trim (rickrack, appliques, etc.) to the top side, if desired.

Using your favorite method, sew binding around raw edges. I like to clip the binding in place, but also use steam to help shape it to fit around the curved ends. TIP: You’ll get better results if you iron the kinks out of the binding before working with it.

Close up of hook and loop tape

Done!

Variations:

  • Scale down for kids.
  • Instead of binding, serge the edges with colorful thread.
  • Make a quilted version by sandwiching cotton batting between a top and bottom strip.
  • Make matching headbands with scraps from pajama or bathrobe projects.

This is definitely one of my favorite stash-busting projects.

Have you tried making headbands? Tell me about it!

Ready for a spa day!
Home Dec · Whimsy

Rooster Pillow (Nap-a-doodle-doo?)

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Original drawing with pillow supplies

Did you know that the Rhode Island Red is the state bird or Rhode Island?

When I am not sewing, I enjoy drawing.  Some of my favorite subjects are animals, such as this handsome rooster.  I really liked how his portrait turned out.  It occurred to me that it might make the focal point of a really neat throw pillow, if I could figure out how to go from a piece of paper to a piece of fabric.

Spoonflower is a company that specializes in custom textile printing for the independent designer.  People can upload their own designs or choose from an immense collection submitted by others.  Designs can be printed on over 20 different types of fabric, wrapping paper, and wallpaper.  I have shopped the spoonflower website in the past, but had never tried making my own design.

The spoonflower website has a lot of helpful tutorials, so I won’t go into the nuts and bolts, but they have made the process fairly simple.  I scanned my drawing, made a few edits, then uploaded it to my spoonflower account.  I used their editing tools to center and scale the image.  At this point, I could have my design printed or even publish it for others to use (and get a small royalty for sales).  I chose to get a fat quarter of plain quilting cotton as the base, and clicked the Order button.  Easy!

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It doesn’t have to match to go

It took about 2 weeks to get my order.  Everything arrived looking just like the digital preview.  The only fault I could find was that the part of the fabric that was not printed was pretty thin.  Any color placed behind it showed through.  To make it opaque and give it a little more stability, I fused lightweight interfacing to the reverse.

I went through my scrap heap to find a nice coordinating fabric for the pillow back.  The material left over from my vintage apron was perfect.  Other supplies included a zipper, some bright yellow pom-pom trim, and a 14×14 pillow form.

I love how my pillow turned out.  Now that I know how easy it is, I know I will be printing my own designs again.

 

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With interfacing, the background is much brighter
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Reds and browns look good with the drawing

 

 

 

General · Useful Thing

20 Ways to Use Your Scraps

While I wait for a replacement for my leaky iron, I’ve been thinking about how to use what I already have.  Lately I have been pondering what to do with my scraps.

You can always use your scraps to practice on, or rip into strips to tie up your tomatoes. But you love that pattern!  Every time you see it in your stash you sigh and put it back.  It’s just too small.  Or is it?

Here are some things to do with that piece that you may not have thought of:

  1. Bias tape
  2. Quilt squares
  3. Pocket linings
  4. Facings
  5. Doll clothes
  6. Covered buttons
  7. Multi-colored projects
  8. Accent stripes
  9. Color blocking and piecing
  10. Contrast welting
  11. Headbands, barrettes, bows
  12. Luggage tags
  13. Pattern weights
  14. Applique
  15. Patches
  16. Baby clothes
  17. Patches
  18. Napkins  (assemble a mixed set)
  19. Small bags (coin purses, earphone case, etc.)
  20. Sachets for your drawers

Of course, these are just a few possibilities.  What do you do with your scraps?

 

 

Useful Thing

Coupon Wallet with Owls

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Pattern has 8 dividers arranged accordion-style for expansion

Here’s a cute quilted coupon organizer with divided sections and a magnetic snap closure.  This pattern is a great choice for playing with color.  You can vary colors on the bias tape, sections, sides, lining and cover.  It’s also a good choice for using up small pieces of pretty fabric that aren’t quite large enough for a major project.

The pattern I used is the Coupon Organizer from iSew.biz.  If you love it, but don’t want to make your own, you can buy finished ones on the iSew etsy page.

The pattern comes as a pdf file which you print yourself.  Instructions are detailed and come with lots of pictures.

Cutting is super simple.  Compared to clothing and home dec, it’s a treat to cut all of your pieces on a small surface!  The other side of the coin is that small pieces make assembly a little fiddly.  If you take your time, you shouldn’t have any problems though.

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Interfaced divider pieces and vinyl labels in “curlers”

I opted to hand-write my labels, but there are excellent instructions for making printed versions if you prefer.  You can choose from fabric labels, vinyl tabs with paper, or whatever works for you.  I chose vinyl.  Although I read the clear instructions, somehow I still managed to sew all of my labels on upside down.  Fortunately, I only had to rip out 8 2-inch seams to get back on track! (Yes, I didn’t notice until I finished all of them).

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I can’t believe I sewed all 8 labels on backwards!!!

TIP: In order to get a sharp folded edge on the vinyl labels, I pinched the vinyl closed with wonder clips over small pieces of fabric.  Without the fabric to protect it, the vinyl would get imprinted with little divots from the inside of the clips.  I only had to leave them on for a few minutes to get the nice crease I wanted.

If I were to do this again, I would interface the divider pieces before cutting.  That is, just fuse a large rectangle, then cut all of the small rectangles from that.  That would cut the amount of effort for the divider cutting almost in half.  I used Pellon SF101, but I think any midweight interfacing would work.

I would also consider using a spray adhesive to keep the layers of the cover together while quilting.  Even using a walking foot, mine shift a little.

TIP:  Consider using a different color in your bobbin if you are quilting very different top and bottom fabric colors in your quilt sandwich.  I chose pale pink on top and black in the bobbin.

For years I have been toting around my coupons in paper envelopes.  This organizer is a huge improvement.  I already have my coupons in it.  Maybe matching grocery bags next?  Hmmm…..