Category Archives: Gifts

Decorative Zipper Band on the Back of a Pillow

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Front and back of the same pillows

I love to make pillows and give them as gifts. It’s nice if the cover is removable so that it can be washed or changed out. I like to put in a zipper and to cover it with a contrast fabric band. It makes the back look as pretty as the front!

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Front

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Back

For an 18″ pillow start with:

  1. Pillow Front – this can be a single piece of beautiful fabric or an orphan quilt block or something you sew together specifically for who you are making the pillow for. This pillow front can be quilted or not. If you quilt it, you will want to add batting. If you don’t quilt it, depending on the weight fabric you use, you may want to interface it. For this example the front was cut 18″ x 18″ after quilting.
  2. Pillow Back – I cut the back the same width as the front (18″) and 1 inch longer than the front (19″).  18 wide x 19″ long. I fuse on the same size piece of interfacing (again based on fabric used),  and then make a horizontal cut where I want to add the contrast band that will hide the zipper.
  3. Contrast Band – One piece cut 4″ x the width of the pillow. For this pillow: 18″ wide x 4″ long.  I also interface this piece if it is quilting cotton weight. (I often use the same fabric that I will edge the pillow with.)
  4. Fabric for edging – 2 strips cut the whole width of the fabric. If I bind the edges of the pillow I cut these strips 2 1/4″ wide. If I am going to insert cording into the edge, I base the width on the size of the cord. Lately I’ve been using 6/32″ cotton filler cord and I cut the strips 1.5″ wide cut on the bias. I sew these 2 strips together using a diagonal join which gives me a single strip that is about 80″ long.
  5. Zipper – A plastic teeth (tooth?) zipper that is longer than the width of the pillow. In this case 20″ or longer.
  6. Pillow form – 18″ pillow form. This will be a little larger than the pillow cover which will make a nicely stuffed pillow.
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Project pieces as listed above – Front, back (divided into 2 pieces), band, zipper.

 

Fold the contrast band in half lengthwise with wrong sides together. This folded band is now 2″ x 18″.

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Zipper placed correctly on band. Zipper face down and extending beyond edges on both sides.

 

Place the zipper wrong side down along the raw edges of the folded contrast band. The extra length of the zipper should be sticking out on both ends. Baste in place

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Now attach the zipper and band to the pillow back top.

 

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Top of pillow back now looks like this.

 

Add this basted unit to the top piece of the pillow back, align the edges and pin in place. If you pin the way I have in the photo below, it will allow you to then open the zipper to sew this side of the zipper in place.

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Place other side of zipper to bottom bottom and pin as shown above.

 

Sew the bottom of the pillow back to the other side of the zipper. There is no need to baste this side first. The right side of the zipper is sewn to the right side of the pillow back.

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Open zipper to make sewing easier.

 

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Zipper back almost done!

 

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This photo shows the zipper hiding under the contrast band.

 

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Move the zipper stop to the middle of the pillow and stitch along both sides.

 

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Trim zipper.

The back is now done. It should be trimmed to the same dimension as the front (18 x 18″). If you are going to bind the edges, the front and back are placed wrong sides together and basted around the edges. The binding is now applied to the edges to finish the raw edges.

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Binding on edges

If you are going to insert cording into the edges, cover the cording with bias cut fabric which allows the cording to go around the corners easily. This is sewn onto the right side of the pillow front and then the front and back are sewn together right sides together.

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Another pillow – front and back. Corded edges.

Happy Sewing!

 

 

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Filed under Gifts, Pillows, Tutorials, Uncategorized

2016 Calendar Tea Towels

Linen/cotton fat quarters from Spoonflower

Linen/cotton fat quarters from Spoonflower

This is an easy project to welcome in the New Year. I bought these tea towels online from Spoonflower. They aren’t actually towels yet in this photo because the fabric edges are raw and fraying. If you click on this Spoonflower link you will see that there are an amazing number of design options and they are all so colorful and fun.

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Untrimmed fabric

I made my fabrics into tea towels (described below), but my friend, Anne, made hers into adorable (and reversible) tote bags using this YouTube tutorial by Alanda Craft. The tutorial does not describe using a towel with a one way design such as these calendar towels. To have both sides of the bag facing “right side up”, you have to make a cut down the middle, reposition and sew back together.

Tote bags made from calendar fabric.

Tote bags made from calendar fabric.

All I had to do to make the towels was to trim the edges, iron 1/4″ towards the back once and then again, and then sew in place.

Edge stitch foot - Bernina foot #10

Edge stitch foot – Bernina foot #10

Sewing this edge was made easy with an edge stitch foot and my needle position changed slight to the right of center. As I sewed around all of the edges (from the back of the towel), I did add in a piece of twill tape to one corner to allow the towel to be hung over a hook if desired.

Twill tape in the corner

Twill tape in the corner makes the towel able to be hung on a hook or knob.

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Due to the bulk of the folded edge, I did have trouble getting my sewing machine to grasp and move the towel forward as I began sewing. This is what the Bernina height compensation tool is for.

Presser foot slanted up in the front causes feed dogs to not be able to advance the fabric.

Presser foot slanted up in the front causes feed dogs to not be able to advance the fabric.

In this next photo I have inserted the tool under the back of the foot (behind the start of the towel edge) which has leveled the presser foot and enabled the feed dogs to move the fabric.

Height compensation tool in place.

Height compensation tool in place – presser foot now level.

Height compensation tool.

Height compensation tool.

 

This tool has a swivel holding the 3 layers together which allows you to use 1, 2 or all 3 of the layers to get different thicknesses depending on what you’re sewing. I used 2 layers for these towels.

Finished towels

Finished towels

 

This was a fun project and makes a lovely gift. This cotton/linen fabric is fairly stiff when you receive it, but a quick wash turns it into a nice soft towel. I finished the edges before washing to prevent a lot of fraying that would have happened in the washer and dryer.

Happy New Year!

 

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Filed under Gifts, Purses and Bags, Tutorials

Sewing with Daughters

I am a lucky woman – I have three daughters. I sewed a lot of things for them when they were little.  This included not only dresses or other clothing to wear, but also costumes – dress up clothes, Halloween costumes, dance costumes and school or church play costumes.

My three daughters wearing Easter dresses I made them.

My three daughters wearing Easter dresses I made them. Circa 1990.

They saw me sew a lot of things and now as adults they all have sewing machines and can sew themselves – when and if they have the time! Sometimes I feel silly that I named my blog “I Finally Have Time”, because I actually never feel as though I have that much time to spend on sewing. However, compared to my young professional daughters – I do have much more time. Nothing pleases me more than to actually sew with them.

My youngest daughter, Megan, asked for a sewing day with me for her birthday in May. She wanted to make the Moneta Dress by Colette. We made plans to spend the day at the Finch Sewing Studio in Leesburg, VA where we knew we could purchase the pattern, some great fabric and have lots of space to work without the interruptions that come up at home. We also knew that if we got into trouble with sewing the pattern, Nicole would be there to bail us out. We have already taken a variety of classes from Nicole, but this time we decided to just use her wonderful sewing studio space. Although she does have classes coming up for this dress pattern!

Knit Moneta dress by Colette

Knit Moneta dress by Colette

I didn’t take any process photos and Nicole took this one right before we left for the day. Don’t you LOVE this polka dot dress! And those pockets! Megan did a great job putting it together and there were some tricky parts. Actually, it is not a tricky pattern, but if you chose the sleeveless version, the bodice is lined and there is a magical way of sewing it in which requires extra attention to the directions. Colette also provides a video link to the process for people like me who would like to see it done instead of just reading the instructions. The waist has a narrow clear elastic sewn onto the seam allowance which will keep the knit from stretching out of shape there.

A week later I met my oldest daughter, Lindsey, in Montana and she had a knit maxi skirt that she had bought last summer and some fabric that she wanted to use to try to replicate it. Here is the original skirt on her.

Stripes horizontal on the front and back with Chevron on the sides.

Stripes horizontal on the front and back with Chevron on the sides.

We did not have enough fabric to do those chevrons and so decided to run the stripes vertically on the sides. This had an added benefit of not having to match the stripes. Here is the result:

New skirt

New skirt

The waistband of the purchased skirt looks like this on the inside:

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Inner waistband and elastic

There is a strip of clear elastic sewn into the seam allowance of the waist – just like with the dress above! Do you see the line of stitching about an inch below the top of the waistband? That is where a second strip of elastic is sewn inside the waistband. As nice as it is to have a knit waistband, my experience is that cotton knit fabric does stretch and it is nice to have the security of that extra elastic. We did not have access to clear elastic but where able to find 1/2″ white elastic to sew into the new skirt. It worked perfectly. The side seams of the waistband also had some elastic in them to cinch the sides which looked nice.

Cinched side seams.

Cinched side seams.

If only we had one more clothespin!

If only we had one more clothespin!

Lindsey happily left for home a few days later wearing this skirt.

I don’t know when I’ll have a chance to sew with my middle daughter, Sandy, but I hope it is soon. Most of the sewing she has done recently is to make pillows which she sells. She has a process to create a stencil using her computer and a Silhouette cutting machine. She can take words that are meaningful to someone and “paint” (actually ink) them onto fabric and then create a pillow. Below is one of three pillows she made for my brother and sister and me regarding our childhood summer home commonly referred to as “camp”.

Front

Front

Back (zipper hidden underneath)

Back (zipper hidden underneath)

My family will all be gathered at camp soon and can not wait to get there!

 

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Filed under Family, Garment sewing, Pillows

Clutch Purse Made From a Book

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Clutch purse

My oldest daughter has always loved to read. Her sister came up with a great idea to turn a book into a clutch purse as a Christmas gift this year and I was able to help her make it.

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Have you seen anything like this? Here is one that my other daughter purchased. It is very hard to tell it is a purse!

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We followed a tutorial by Erica of Caught On A Whim which she calls DIY: Nerdy Chic Book Clutch.

Tutorial by Erica of Caught On A Whim

Photo and Tutorial by Erica of Caught On A Whim

Erica has two other tutorials that go along with this one. One is for covering a book with fabric and the other is for cutting out the inside of the book to create a space to make a book safe – you know, to hide your cash or jewelry in!

The book that we used was an old book found at an antique shop. It has a pretty cover and so we chose not to cover it with fabric. It looks as though it could be leather bound, but it isn’t.

Inside covered with fabric and pages cut.

Inside covered with fabric and pages cut.

Holes are made with a needle along the top and bottom of the first and last few pages and the fabric insert is sewn to these. We found that we could have sewn through the pages without making those holes first as we had a very sturdy and sharp needle.

Figuring dimension for fabric insert.

Figuring dimension for fabric insert.

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The pages are all mod-podged together (in 2 sections) and we painted the edges of our book to make them look gilded. Putting the clasp on involved first glueing a small piece of scrap wood to the pages in order to align the clasp with the outside of the book.

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Clasp glued in place and pages painted.

It ended up looking pretty great!

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Hexagon Zippered Pouch

I made up a little pouch yesterday.

Hexagon pouch made with Riley Blake Fabric

Hexagon pouch made with Riley Blake Fabric

The Modern Quilt Guild provided 6 fat eighths of this Riley Blake Fabric and challenged its members all around the world to make something from them and post a picture by Feb. 17th.

DCMQG's group of fabric for the Riley Blake fabric challenge

DCMQG’s group of fabric for the Riley Blake fabric challenge

The rules are simple – you can make anything that is quilted using these fabrics or any Riley Blake fabric and you can also add in any solids that you wish to.

Back of pouch

Back of pouch

I just wanted to make something up with the bundle we were given. I used the whole piece of the solid grey for the outside and a white and grey stripe for the inside. I simply cut the grey piece in half and quilted both halves.

Quilted wavy lines and added some leaves to one line just for fun.

Quilted wavy lines and added some leaves to one line just for fun.

I then made English Paper Pieced hexagons out of the other 4 fabrics into 2 flowers and appliquéd them onto the outside. 

EPP hexagon flower

EPP hexagon flower in progress

I wanted this flower to be flowing off the edge.

I wanted this flower to be flowing off the edge.

I inserted the zipper using my favorite technique of using little fabric tabs on both sides of the cut zipper to make the final product all neat and tidy. How this works is that there doesn’t end up being any zipper parts caught in the sewn side seam. In fact, I try to make it such that the fabric tabs aren’t caught there either.

Zipper inserted. You can't see it here, but the lining is also attached at this point.

Zipper inserted. You can’t see it here, but the lining is also attached at this point.

I had intended to make a flat bag, but right at the very end of sewing it up, I decided to box the bottom corners so that the bag would stand up.

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Boxed corners on the bottom

This kind of messed with my hexagon flower placement, but I do think it makes the bag more useful.

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Filed under DC Modern Quilt Guild, Gifts, Purses and Bags

Winter Tweed Boston Bag

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I made this wool bag for one of my daughters for Christmas this year. It is from the book “Carry Me – 20 Boutique Bags to Sew” by Yuka Koshizen. I bought the book after seeing the bag from the cover made up at a quilt shop in Hawaii. However, after buying the book I fell in love with this Boston Bag and knew my daughter who works in Boston would love it.

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This bag was quite an accomplishment. Just gathering the materials needed to make it was somewhat of a challenge.  I bought the tweed wool and then the lining fabric. That was the easy (and fun!) part.

Inside of bag.

Yellow for the inside!

Then I bought the 12″ Tubular Frame (Item 912) from Ghee’s online.  I thought I was ready to go. As I got started I saw that the pattern called for purse feet on the bottom. That seemed like a good idea but I couldn’t find any locally so back online I went.

Antique brass purse feet

Antique brass purse feet

I ended up ordering from BuckleGuy.com. I had to decide what color metal hardware to order. The internal frame doesn’t show except for the hinges which are brass. I didn’t want shiny brass feet or handle hardware and so I chose antique brass. These small antique brass feet (B1615) require a back post to attach them.

Close up. Aren't they pretty?

Close up. Aren’t they pretty?

The back post (B1414) comes in different lengths and so I had to guess what thickness the bottom of the bag would be. They only cost about 8 cents each so I ordered a couple different sizes. I ended up using the 3/8″ size which worked well. My bag bottom had 2 layers of interfaced fabric (wool and lining), a layer of foam stabilizer which gives this bag it’s structure, and 2 layers of stiff Peltex that was cut just the size of the bag bottom.

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After all of that, I couldn’t find leather handles locally. I could find some synthetic leather handles that looked pretty nice, but after spending all of this money on all of the other materials, was I really going to settle for less than leather? And believe me, this daughter would notice – immediately! I needed dark brown leather, 20″ long with antique brass hardware and the ability to attach to the bag. I bought these from Pursesuppliers on Etsy. I did like that they sewed on rather than having to use a single rivet. I just feel as though they can handle the weight of whatever gets put into the bag better this way. And believe me, a LOT can fit in this bag!

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Pockets on both sides.

Once I had the fabric cut and all of the supplies gathered, it was summer! I kept everything together and put it all away for months.

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The directions for this bag are very minimal. You have to read and look at small diagrams and I don’t think they are very clear. I would not want a beginner sewist or someone who hasn’t put several handbags together before to make an attempt at anything in this book. I had to make my best guess at much that I did. Having said that, though, the whole bag is one piece of fabric, and so it is very cleverly put together. It’s all about that internal frame.

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I am so glad to finally have completed this bag! I think my daughter is going to love it – I really hope so.

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Filed under Gifts, Pattern review, Purses and Bags, Uncategorized

Pojagi Curtain

Pojagi kitchen curtain

Pojagi kitchen curtain.

My oldest daughter and her husband bought a house a few months ago. So far, they only have temporary curtains or shades in their windows. Their kitchen window faces the street. It is nice to work at the sink and look out but it seems as though there should be some kind of curtain there for privacy. This is not a huge issue because of the size and position of the window, but it got me thinking about a decorative sheer panel curtain and a technique I’ve recently seen called pojagi. Have you heard of it?

My friend and quilt guild cohort, Dianne Miller Wolman, made this fun piece that hangs in her home. She made her piece with a hand sewing technique.

Pojagi by Dianne Miller Woman

Pojagi by Dianne Miller Woman

Below are some examples that I found on Flickr. Click on the title in the caption to go to the original photo and to learn more about these pieces. Victoria Gertenbach who blogs at The Silly BooDilly and who made the red “curtain” below (#1) has a great tutorial for pojagi using the sewing machine.

Pojagi or Bojagi is a Korean patchwork technique where the seams are finished on both sides. Historically these pieces were used as wrapping cloths. Essentially the seams are flat-felled. You sew each seam with the fabrics laid out in a staggered manner such that the top fabric’s seam allowance is 1/4″ and the bottom is 1/2″.

Each seam sewn first with a staggered seam allowance.

Each seam sewn first with a staggered seam allowance.

Next, the wider seam allowance is pressed over the smaller one and that whole seam is pressed flat with the raw edges all encased.

Encased seam is then edgestiched down.

Encased seam is then edgestiched down.

I read that traditional pojagi is done by hand and with a contrasting thread color. Most of the contemporary examples I’ve seen have used matching thread but I decided to go ahead and sew my piece with a bold black thread.

The curtain is completely reversible but on the regular seams one side shows one black thread line and the opposite side shows two.

Reversible!

Reversible!

Once I had read up on this technique, I wanted to plan my design. Most pictures that I found online were very log cabin-ish. My daughter is an engineer for a construction firm and her husband is both an engineer and an architect. My younger daughter made a comment that if I did a log cabin design for them I had better do it with straight lines – that they would not care for a “wonky” log cabin! For some reason, this got me thinking about their floor plan. I knew that my son-in-law had a digital version he had made up to play with the placement of their furniture. We had used it to calculate the square footage of their walls to help with knowing how much paint to buy to cover the walls. Could I use this?

Floor plan

Floor plan

I copied it on to graph paper and filled in some walls that were missing – like the whole garage!

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And so . . . take a look at my curtain again . . .

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Would you ever guess this was a floor plan?

I love how it looks from the outside at night too!

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