Sewing Tutorial: Felt Valentine’s Chocolates and Cookies

Felt Chocolates and CookiesThis week’s sewing tutorial is simple and quick.  You won’t even need a pattern (although we’ve provided some for convenience)!

Play food is a great beginner’s sewing project and can be altered to make food as simple or as fancy as you’d like.  These festive Valentine’s Day chocolates and cookies are fantastic as decor, playing, and a learning tool.  You can embroider or draw (with puff paint or fabric paint) letters and numbers on them.  You can use them to teach colors, shapes, or even as coins.  You are only limited by your creativity.

This tutorial will focus on creating the chocolates and cookies with a sewing machine, but you could also hand sew the items.  If you don’t sew, you could use felt fabric glue to glue the pieces together.  When making felt foods please keep the age of the child you’re making the project for in mind.  Children who still put things in their mouth should never be given small objects as these would pose a choking hazard.  They also should not be given items with puff paint as they could pick the paint off.

When making felt food you can use whatever type of felt you desire.  Craft felt is easy to work with, cheap and easily obtainable but it will not wear as well as wool felt.  Craft felt may get pilly over time, but you can wash it with warm soapy water and use a lint shaver to get rid of pills.  If the item doesn’t contain a pipe cleaner or glue, you could even run it through the washing machine.  Wool felt will wear better and last longer.  If you’re creating something that you’d like to pass down from child to child, wool felt is best.  If you plan to use wool felt, you may want to first practice on craft felt so you don’t waste money on the more expensive stuff.  I typically use eco-fi felt which is made of recycled plastic bottles.

Let’s get started!  You will need the following to create your Felt Valentine’s Day Chocolates and Cookies:

  • Felt in whatever colors you desire
  • Scissors
  • Thread in colors of your choice
  • Sewing machine and/or hand sewing needle
  • Polyfil to stuff your pieces (optional)
  • Shapes template:  Valentine Cookie Chocolate Template

Directions

  1. Cut out shapeStart out by placing two pieces of felt wrong sides together and cutting out your desired shape.  You can freehand this or use one of the templates we’ve provided above.  You can use any size circle you like. If you’re going to sew a plain piece of chocolate or cookie and don’t want to add any other design, then you’re ready to sew, go ahead to step 3!  If you want to add a design, go on to the next step.
  2. Once your chocolate or cookie is cut out, you can add a design to the cookie.  Sometimes I like to add swirls, sprinkles, or just a whimsical design.  Take one side of the chocolate or cookie and add your design.  You can put the same Decorative stitchesdesign on the other side, or do something different so you get more ‘activities’ or designs in one cookie.You could do numbers and letters to teach the alphabet or counting.  You could do sprinkles, colors, shapes, etc.  You really are only limited to your imagination with these and kids love to get in on the design.
  3. overcast stitchOnce you’ve added a design to both sides, pin the cookie together, right sides both facing out.We’ll sew the cookie together using an overcast stitch.  If you don’t have an overcast stitch on your machine, a wide zig zag stitch works great.  Since the edges of the felt won’t fray, you could even use a straight stitch.
  4. sew around the edgeIf using an overcast stitch, make sure your right hand side stitch falls just over the edge of the cookie.  You might need to sew a stitch and then adjust your cookie’s placement under the presser foot to get it just right.  Sew all the way around the outer edge of the cookie making sure you back-stitch/reinforcement stitch at the beginning and end.  IF YOU’RE STUFFING YOUR CHOCOLATE OR COOKIE PIECES, STOP SEWING WHEN YOU HAVE ABOUT 3/4 -1″ LEFT TO GO AND STUFF A SMALL AMOUNT OF POLYFIL INTO YOUR PIECE WITH THE EDGE OF YOUR SCISSORS OR A SKEWER.  ONCE YOU HAVE IT STUFFED, CONTINUE SEWING AROUND THE OUTER EDGE UNTIL YOU’RE BACK AT THE BEGINNING.  Clip your threads when you’re done.
  5. That’s it! Easy peasy.  You can make as many of these as you can crank out.  They make lovely gifts and are great to have for any home school or home learning lesson plans.

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Sewing Tutorial: Hanging Organizer

Hanging Organizer TutorialI’m an organized person.  I like for things to be tidy and have their place.  With two kids, and an addictive passion for sewing, I have a lot of small items in my home.  Things we use A LOT.  I like to find ways to organize all our ‘stuff’ that is still easy for us to access.  These handy little hanging organizers work nicely for that.

The organizers are very inexpensive to make (you can make one for less than $1) and super quick to sew up (twenty minutes or less).  You can easily customize the fabric print to suit any style and you can change the type of fabric to make them more or less sturdy depending on your needs.
Materials Needed

  • Two pieces of fabric in your preferred sizes. The organizers featured in this tutorial are made with two sheets of felt.  The organizer body piece is approximately 9X12 and the divider piece is approximately 4.5X12.  You can use whatever sizes suit your needs.  It’s important to select a fabric strong enough to support your needs.  For lightweight items, I like to use felt because it’s inexpensive and it doesn’t fray even when cut.  If you’re using cotton or another fabric that frays, you will need to bind the edges or you will get fraying.
  • Scissors
  • Thread
  • Sewing Machine
  • Fabric pen or chalk to mark button holes
  • Ruler (optional)
  • The fully detailed and illustrated (FREE!) Hanging Fabric Organizer PDF available by clicking here: Hanging Fabric Organizer Tutorial

Possible UsesEasy Hanging Organizer

  • Sewing supply caddy
  • Crafts
  • Crochet hooks
  • Toothbrushes and toothpaste
  • Small toys
  • Kid’s art supplies
  • Hair bows and brushes
  • Fork and spoon organizer
  • Message center
  • Etc…

**This tutorial is provided free of charge, you may do what you wish with the finished project.  We ask that you DO NOT try and sell the tutorial.

Sewing Tutorial: Scrappy Turkey

Scrappy Turkey TutorialLooking for a fun and easy way to create a one of a kind piece of clothing for your child to wear this Thanksgiving?  Look no further!  Our Scrappy Turkey can be created with little fabric, minimal sewing experience, and is as versatile as it is cute.

You can go simple and let the turkey’s feathers lay flat, sewn down to the piece of clothing.  Or you can give them a bit of flair and let them stand up as those shown in the picture do.  Little hands love a 3D piece of clothing that lets them explore.  Using different types of fabric that have different textures is also fun for them.  The fabric choices and embellishments are endless and entirely up to you so that you can create a truly unique piece just for your little turkey.

To create your turkey you will need:
– An item to attach your turkey to.  You could use a bib, t-shirt, even the butt of a pair of pants.  You can hand make the article of clothing or buy a ready to wear piece to embellish.
– Several small pieces of fabric large enough to cut your turkey and feathers from.  Colors and fabric type can vary to suit your own tastes.
-An iron on fusible stabilizer that can be sewn.  I prefer Heat and Bond Lite – sewable.
– Sewing machine, scissors, thread, pins.  Hand sewing needle – optional.
– Embellishments such as ribbons or buttons – optional.
– The detailed and illustrated Scrappy Turkey Tutorial PDF available for download here. Print actual size DO NOT scale to fit:  Scrappy Turkey Tutorial.

The most important part of this project is to have fun.  Your turkey does NOT have to be perfect to be cute and enjoyed by a child.  They love whimsy and having an item made just for them.

This pattern is provided free of charge.   You may do what you want with your finished piece, but please do not try to sell the pattern.

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Sewing Tutorial: Felt Cookies

Felt Cookie TutorialThis week’s sewing tutorial is super simple and super quick.  You won’t even need a pattern!

Play food is a great beginner’s sewing project and can be altered to make food as simple or as fancy as you’d like.  These cookies are fantastic as a learning tool.  You can embroidery or draw (with puff paint or fabric paint) letters and numbers on them.  You can use them to teach colors, shapes, or even as coins.  You are only limited by your creativity.

This tutorial will focus on creating the cookies with a sewing machine, but you could also hand sew the items.  If you don’t sew, you could use felt fabric glue to glue the pieces together.  When making felt foods please keep the age of the child you’re making the project for in mind.  Children who still put things in their mouth should never be given small objects as these would pose a choking hazard.  They also should not be given items with puff paint as they could pick the paint off.

When making felt food you can use whatever type of felt you desire.  Craft felt is easy to work with, cheap and easily obtainable but it will not wear as well as wool felt.  Craft felt may get pilly over time, but you can wash it with warm soapy water and use a lint shaver to get rid of pills.  If the item doesn’t contain a pipe cleaner or glue, you could even run it through the washing machine.  Wool felt will wear better and last longer.  If you’re creating something that you’d like to pass down from child to child, wool felt is best.  If you plan to use wool felt, you may want to first practice on craft felt so you don’t waste money on the more expensive stuff.  I typically use eco-fi felt which is made of recycled plastic bottles.

Let’s get started!  You will need the following to create your Felt Cookies:

  • Felt in whatever colors you desire
  • Scissors
  • Thread in colors of your choice
  • Sewing machine and/or hand sewing needle

Directions

  1. Cut out shapeStart out by placing two pieces of felt wrong sides together and cutting out a circle.  You can use any size circle you like, freehand it or trace a cup, etc.  If you’re going to sew a plain cookie and don’t want to add any other design, then you’re ready to sew, go ahead to step 3!  If you want to add a design, go on to the next step.
  2. Once your cookie is cut out, you can add a design to the cookie.  Sometimes I like to add dainty stitches like the heart design pictured.  Take one side of the cookie and add your design.  You can put the same Decorative stitchesdesign on the other side, or do something different so you get more ‘activities’ or designs in one cookie.You could do numbers and letters to teach the alphabet or counting.  You could do sprinkles, colors, shapes, etc.  You really are only limited to your imagination with these and kids love to get in on the design.
  3. overcast stitchOnce you’ve added a design to both sides, pin the cookie together, right sides both facing out.We’ll sew the cookie together using an overcast stitch.  If you don’t have an overcast stitch on your machine, a wide zig zag stitch works great.  Since the edges of the felt won’t fray, you could even use a straight stitch.
  4. sew around the edgeIf using an overcast stitch, make sure your right hand side stitch falls just over the edge of the cookie.  You might need to sew a stitch and then adjust your cookie’s placement under the presser foot to get it just right.  Sew all the way around the outer edge of the cookie making sure you back-stitch/reinforcement stitch at the beginning and end.  Clip your threads when you’re done.
  5. That’s it! Easy peasy.  You can make as many of these as you can crank out.  They make lovely gifts and are great to have for any home school or home learning lesson plans.

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Sewing Tutorial: Felt Eggs

DSCN5273Welcome!  This is the second sewing tutorial in a series of four where we will make a felt breakfast set.  Play food is a great beginner’s sewing project and can be altered to make food as simple or as fancy as you’d like.

This tutorial will focus on creating the set with a sewing machine, but you could also hand sew the items.  If you don’t sew, you could use felt fabric glue to glue the pieces together.  When making felt foods please keep the age of the child you’re making the project for in mind.  Children who still put things in their mouth should never be given small objects as these would pose a choking hazard.

When making felt food you can use whatever type of felt you desire.  Craft felt is easy to work with, cheap and easily obtainable but it will not wear as well as wool felt.  Craft felt may get pilly over time, but you can wash it with warm soapy water and use a lint shaver to get rid of pills.  If the item doesn’t contain a pipe cleaner or glue, you could even run it through the washing machine.

Wool felt will wear better and last longer.  If you’re creating something that you’d like to pass down from child to child, wool felt is best.  If you plan to use wool felt, you may want to first practice on craft felt so you don’t waste money on the more expensive stuff.  I typically use eco-fi felt which is made of recycled plastic bottles.

Let’s get started!  You will need the following to create your Felt Eggs:

  • White felt for the eggs and yellow felt for the yolks
  • A small bit of polyfil to stuff the yolks
  • Scissors
  • Coordinating thread (monofilament thread is nice because it’s clear and will blend with any color)
  • Sewing machine or hand sewing needle
  • The egg and yolk template included in the PDF.  Do not scale the file to fit, print as actual size.
  • The tutorial.  Print the tutorial actual size, do not scale or fit to page:  Felt Eggs Tutorial.

To make the full set, follow along with us this month as we’ll do a new piece each week.  The bacon tutorial can be found here.  And the pancakes here.  And finish up with the orange slices.

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Sew for You: Flirty Skirt

While I sew often for my children and gifts, I don’t sew a lot for myself.  I’ve had this pretty, flirty fabric in my stash for a while now and haven’t been able to part with it because I love it so much.  Naturally, I decided that I needed to make something out of this one for myself.

Skirts can be super easy to make.  With this one I just measured my hips (and butt).  Took the larger of the two measurements and add just a few inches because I wanted a more flowy skirt than a fitted one.  I made the elastic for the casing a few inches smaller than my hip measurement.  You could also taper the skirt from the hip out for a flowy bottom but fitted waist/hip and add a zipper instead of elastic.  I added a fun little patchwork border to the bottom of this one to create just a bit of length and variety.

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Cloth Pad Tutorial: Exposed Core, Overcast Edge

MamaClothThreeWaysThis is the first tutorial in a series of three.  I’ll be showing you how to sew cloth pads with overcast edges three ways:  exposed core, exposed contoured core, hidden contoured core.

We will start with the exposed core pad, the first pad pictured on the left hand side of the screen.

What You’ll Need

  • The ClothPadBodypdf  (print actual size, not fit to page) Approx. 7.25″ wide and 9.75″ long. You can always adjust them to your personal needs. Just don’t sell the pattern.
  • TheClothPadCorepdf   (print actual size, not fit to page) Approx 2.8″ wide and 9″ long.  You can always adjust them to your personal needs. Just don’t sell the pattern.
  • Fabric for the pad body top:  flannel, jersey, or any other cotton or absorbent material.
  • Fabric for the pad body bottom:  anti-pill or blizzard fleece.  These thicker fleece types naturally repel liquids and make a good water-resistant bottom while providing a non-slip surface against your underwear.
  • Fabric for the pad core.  You want absorbent fabrics for your core.  These could include cotton flannel, cotton birdseye, cotton terry cloth, bamboo, hemp, etc.  Basically any thirsty fabric will work. Just remember that if you use microfiber or zorb, be sure to sandwich them between fabrics that are safe to be against the skin.
    For the pads shown, I have used three layers of bamboo fleece.  Bamboo and hemp are good choices if you want a thinner pad as they are thin, but absorbent. 2-3 layers of bamboo or hemp will give you a medium flow absorbency, use more for heavy, postpartum, or overnight.
    If you use flannel, 6 layers would be a good medium/heavy flow.  You would want to add more for heavier absorbencies.
  • Sewing machine and notions (thread, needles, scissors, presser feet, etc)
  • Snaps – metal or plastic. Plastic will be more durable, but metal may be easier to get. I have used KAM snaps here. They are really fantastic quality and the pliers are easy to use.  I use a size 20 socket and stud, with size 16 snaps.
    Plastic snap pliers can all be found at JoAnn Fabric.  I have seen metal snap pliers at Wal-Mart.
    If you can’t find snaps, dry cleaners or alteration shops can often apply them. Or you can use velcro or a diaper pin if you have to.

If you have a serger, obviously you can do all this on the serger as well.

Learn more about cloth pads here.

Clicking on the first picture below will make the photos larger so you can scroll through them as you go.  Or you can download and print the PDF:  ExposedCoreOvercastEdgePadPDF.  It is free, I just ask that you don’t sell the pattern. Happy Sewing!

DIY – Reusable Cotton Rounds

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Ahhh, the scrap fabric bin. What to do with it all?

I try to use as many reusable products as I can.  I have always hated the way cotton balls feel so I was happy to find a reusable alternative in fabric cotton rounds.

Cotton rounds are a great way to use up fabric scraps and have many, many uses.  Some of the things we use them for are:  makeup removal, applying astringent or alcohol to the skin, nail polish removal, applying diaper rash cream, cleaning little noses, drying off baby’s bottom after using a wipe.  And the list goes on.

These little guys are super simple to make and are a great beginner’s project when learning to sew.  You’ll need two pieces of scrap fabric for each round.  I prefer flannel cotton for most uses, but almost any soft cotton will work.  Polyester fleece is excellent at removing eye makeup so I like to put that on one side for my makeup removing scrubbies.  Please note that if you use these for removing nail polish, they are definitely going to get stained and stay that way.  But they’re so cheap to make, it doesn’t really matter!  Use the ugly ones for nail polish, keep the pretty ones for other uses.

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The Tools

What you’ll need:
Scrap Fabric – (flannel, fleece, jersey, hemp, etc)
Scissors
Pins
Sewing Machine
Thread
Compass to draw a circle or a round object to trace one

You should be able to finish off a set in 15 minutes or less. It is entirely normal to get some fraying around the edges after the first couple of washes.  Just clip any loose strings.

Come back and show off what you made!

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Using your compass, draw a circle that is about 3″. To get a 3″ circle, set your compass on 1.5″. If you want a larger or smaller scrubbie, just divide that number in half and that’s what you’ll set your compass on. You can find a compass at the Dollar Tree, Walmart, or any office supply store.

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If you don’t have a compass, no worries. Just find a cup or bowl with an opening roughly the size of the scrubbie you’d like and trace it.

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Place your two pieces of scrap fabric with wrong sides touching other. You want the right sides of both fabrics facing out.

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Pin your circle to your stacked pieces of fabric.

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Cut around your paper circle so that you get a round fabric stack.

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Take out the pin and set your paper circle aside. Pin around the outer edge of your fabric so that the two pieces stay together. If you’re not a pinner, just put one pin in the middle so the fabric doesn’t slide.

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Choose your thread. You can do a matching color or a contrasting color. You could even do one color to match the bottom in the bobbin and a color to match the top for your spool. Variegated thread is also a pretty option.

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If you have an overcast foot for your machine, use it. The overcast foot is on the left hand side in the photo. If you don’t have one a regular foot will work fine.

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If your machine has mock serge stitches (overcast stitches), use one of those. I prefer stitch 7 on my machine, but stitch 8 works well too.
If your machine does not have a mock serge stitch, choose the regular zig zag stitch (stitch 4 in the picture).

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No matter what stitch you choose, you’ll want it to be a tight stitch to keep the edges from fraying too much. I typically set the length to 1-1.5 and the width to 3.5-4. Experiment on a scrap piece of fabric to see what you prefer.

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Butt the fabric up to the edge. You can always adjust this as you start to sew. This is where having an overcast foot comes in handy-the little bar on the foot is an easy marker for where you want the edge of your fabric to sit. You want the fabric to sit so that the stitch landing on the left hand side sinks into the fabric and the stitch landing on the right drops just over the fabric.

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Sink your first stitch or two and then use your back-stitch button. If you’re using a mock serge, you’ll likely just get a reinforcement stitch. With a zig zag, your machine should actually back-stitch.

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Start sewing. You can go as slowly as you need to get the hang of going around the curves. Remove pins as you go being careful not to sew over them as they can damage your machine’s needle.

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Keep sewing…

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As your sewing, stop to make sure your fabric hasn’t shifted and that your stitches are sinking into the back fabric as well. If you’ve missed the back, it’s okay! Just pull your work off the machine, repin, and start again where the fabric slipped.

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When you’re sewing around and about to reach the beginning stitches, grab your loose threads under your fingers so they stay straight and don’t get tangled in your stitches.

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Sew over your beginning stitches for just a bit to help reinforce them.

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Use your back-stitch button once more.

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Lift your presser foot.

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If you’re using an overcast foot, gently pull the scrubbie to the back of the machine and then to the side so you can pull your stitches off the overcast bar. Cut your threads.

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If you’ve used a regular foot, just pull that baby to the side and cut your threads.

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Clip your threads close to the scrubbie, being careful not to clip into your stitches.

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Good job! You just finished your first scrubbie.

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As nice and neat on the back as on the front.

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You can check your stitches to make sure both sides were caught. If they weren’t, run it back through the machine once.

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Now, go back through your scraps and make more!

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You can even make up several to add to little gift baskets. A pamper me basket or cosmetic bag full of goodies makes for a nice, but inexpensive gift idea.
All those little goodies are from Avon and they are great stocking stuffers.

Ah! I happen to love that fall view outside my sewing desk window.

Ah! I happen to love that fall view outside my sewing desk window.