Holidays: October 2011 Archives
I have a stash that's quickly verging on a hoarding situation. The big culprit is all my scraps. I feel wasteful tossing away anything that's bigger than a piece of paper. But I am fighting the pile by coming up with projects that make use of those pieces.
These little "shaving kit" style cosmetic bags are so simple and speedy to assemble that you can churn out two or three in an evening. These make great gifts, and gift containers. I often use them in lieu of gift bags. All it takes to put one together is a little bit of fabric, and a 12" zipper.
For your pattern, all you need is a piece of paper. Seriously. A packing invoice from your last fabric.com order will do just fine.
Using the paper as your guide, cut two pieces from your chosen fabric (I LOVE using quilting prints for these), and two pieces from a coordinating fabric for lining. I like to use a medium-weight twill. Whatever's handy!
A word on interfacing: Feel free to use it. I generally don't for these bags because I like a softer finish -- I find I can cram more things into a less rigid bag.
In addition to your four rectangles, you'll need to cut fabric for a hand strap and pull tab. Cut one piece of your exterior fabric 3" x 20" and a piece of your twill 1" x 20". You can also use a piece of grosgrain ribbon instead of a cut of your secondary fabric. It won't show, so use whatever you've got handy that you want to get rid of.
Fold your exterior strap fabric in half lengthwise, right sides together, and lay your reinforcement fabric on top. Make sure the folded edge of your strap fabric extends a little past the edge of the reinforcement piece. This will ensure a smooth, unlumpy fold when you turn the strap.
Stitch down the length of your strap, catching in all three layers of fabric.
Turn your strap and press.
Topstitch down either side of your strap, 1/4" in from the edge.
Set your strap aside for later.
Time to set in the zipper!
Layer one side of your zipper tape between a piece of your exterior fabric and a piece of your lining fabric, right sides together. Make sure that the right side of your zipper is facing the right side of your exterior fabric. Stitch all three layers together.
I don't even bother with a zipper foot here. I just move my needle to its furthest left position, and align the regular foot as tight against the zipper teeth as I can.
Turn the fabric right side out, press, and top stitch.
Repeat all the zipper steps for the other side of the zipper.
You will end up with something that looks like this:
Fold your little concoction in half using the zipper as the fold line. Stitch all four layers together using a 1/4" seam allowance. To finish, you can zig-zag or serge the raw edges.
Next, align your center back seam with your zipper, creating two folds on the sides of the bag.
Remember that strap piece you made? Now is the time for it! Cut it so you have a 14" long piece and a 5" long piece. Remember how I told you to cut it 20" long to begin with? An inch of that is just safety length.
Fold your longer piece in half, and set it into your bag, in between the zipper and the center back seam. I don't use pins, so I like to stitch the strap to the center back seam, and then stitch down the zipper over it.
If you fold your bag right side out at this point, it looks like this:
Set in the shorter pull tab at the other end of the bag. Be sure to leave the zipper open a bit so you can turn it right side out!
Here's the outside view at this point:
To take your bag to a more three-dimensional shape, you need to add some stitching at the corners. Fold the corners so you create a box shape with your back, and stitch perpendicular to the side end seams. (This is definitely one of those things that makes more sense when you're holding it in your hand.)
I don't even bother to mark my stitch line. I just align the point of my triangle with the edge of my stitching plate.
Repeat the previous step with the remaining three corners. Your bag will look like this:
At this point, you can clip your corners and finish the raw edges, or you can leave the corners as is.
Flip it right side out and you are all finished! Load it up and take it on your travels. The handle strap works great for hanging the bag on doorknobs -- a handy thing if you're sharing space with someone else and bathroom counter space is limited.
For my bag, I used this adorable Tinkerbell print. I love to use machine washables, because it's great to be able to toss a bag in the wash if a lotion or mouthwash leaks while I'm on the road. Just the same, using a home dec fabric can make this project elegant instead of cute, if that's your preference. So whether you've got the perfect thing in your stash or you feel like browsing for a new fabric, you know you'll be ready to hit the road for the holidays, or just organize your home bathroom.
Autumn and the Holidays. I've been seeing lots of wreaths in the stores, but nothing has caught my eye. I thought back to decorations that my mother used at the house or the office and remembered a fabric wreath that she used to make. After a quick call to mom, I was ready to make my own creation.
You will need fabric, a Phillips head screwdriver, a straw
wreath (8 inch, 12 inch), a cutting mat and pinking sheers/rotary cutter. You
will also need ribbon to tie a loop around the wreath to hang on the wall.
I began by cutting 4-inch by 4-inch squares with my pinking
rotary cutter. It's the first time that I have cut fabric this way. For the 12
inch wreath, it took 350 squares and for the 8-inch wreath it took 220 squares.
I wanted the wreath to look full. Since this was my first time, it actually
took me six hours to cut the squares. After another consultation with Mom, it
turns out not every square has to look perfect. With the next two set of
squares, I was able to reduce my time significantly. I wished I had a 4-inch
pinking block for my Big Shot machine!
Before starting, I added a second layer of plastic wrap to
the wreath. This helped hold the fabric in place. I just used ordinary cling wrap
from the kitchen. I took my Phillips head screwdriver and pressed the fabric
into the straw wreath. This took a little strength in my hand to push it in. I
used no glue or hot glue - the fabric will stay in unless you pull it out. I'd
advise a Phillips head screwdriver to prevent a tear in the fabric. Anything
sharper will cause a rip.
I wanted variety so I didn't use any particular pattern in
my wreath. I was worried as I was putting it together, but by the end was
pleased with the results.
Safety first! Pinking rotary blades are extremely sharp! I learned this the hard way - make sure you cut away from your body.
In my research for some pretty cool hostess gifts (we already know that chocolates, wine, and potholders are good standard gifts) I scoured the internet for ideas. Low and behold, apparently mustache appliqué and embossed gifts are very popular. On that note, I wanted to create a hostess gift that was tongue in cheek like the mustache but not beat a dead (or almost) horse. Behold the Necktie Napkins: now you can be fancy for dinner while showing up in t-shirt and jeans. You can wear that tacky Christmas tie that your dear great auntie Muriel gave you without going out of the house. Make your mother happy by both tucking in your napkin and wearing a nice tie to dinner. It is fun and easy to make a set of Necktie Napkins for your favorite hostess. You can choose between the Applique or Embroidery version. I prefer the Applique on our printed O'Tinsel Tree Cotton fabric but love the embroidery on a solid fabric like linen.
To get started you need a picture of a cool-looking tie, I used this one but tweaked it a bit. For the embroidery I traced the tie onto my napkin with a water soluble marker and then embroidered the outline with a back stitch and then added some stripes with a stem stitch in green to create the iconic tacky Christmas tie. For the appliqué, I cut out and traced the tie pieces onto a transfer agent like Heat n Bond. I then cut out the pieces from the Heat n Bond and applied them according to the instructions to the back of some natural colored linen and then affixed those pieces to another napkin. Using a zig zag stitch around the edges of the appliqué to secure it, I added a decorative stitch to some stripes on the tie. It is important that you place the tie about 3-4 in down from one corner of your napkin so when tucked into a shirt, it looks as though the napkin user is wearing the tie. Placement will vary according to the size of your tie and napkin.
To make your napkin you will need 1 yd for 2 napkins. I used O'Tinsel Tree Cotton and cut an 18 in. square for a 16 in. finished napkin. Use a double folded hem one all sides and topstitch in place.
Have you ever wondered where you placed that list bill? Or how about that birthday card that just came in the mail? Where are my stamps? I needed something to hang items on to ensure I didn't misplace them at home. This is an idea board for the kitchen, front hall, bedroom... it can hang anywhere!
I located fabric out of my stash, Modge Podge, spongebrush,
wood, small clothespins, glue, acrylic paint, paint brush and nails. This
project took me several days to ensure that the decoupage dried.
I used the sponge brush to paint the wooden board with decoupage and placed the fabric on top. I smoothed out the fabric with my fingers to avoid any air bubbles. I decoupaged on top of the fabric as well to ensure that the material stuck to the wood. After letting the front dry, I decoupaged the sides and wrapped the fabric around the back of the board, continuing to use decoupage on the fabric, smoothing down the fabric. I put several coats of decoupage on the material.
To decorate the clothespins, I used regular acrylic paint. The lighter colors took several coats. When this is drying, you have to open the clothespins several times to prevent the clothespin from drying together.
I nailed the hanger to the back of the board before adhering the clothespins. I put two on the longer board to hang either way (horizontal or vertical). The green owl fabric that I used for the smaller board wouldn't have warranted turning the board vertically. I would suggest watching out for that when you select your own fabric for your Fabric photo board.
I glued the clothespins to the fabric and was done - make sure that the clothespins are facing outwards - I got comments about putting them on wrong, but you want them to face away from the board so things won't be crammed inward.
I got lots of positive responses at work so have decided to make some of these as holiday gifts for friends and family. Look forward to hearing how things went for you!