Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Sew a Pretty and Practical Pincushion

Round Pincushion

We all know it's true - you can never have too many pincushions. It's not unusual to have one by the sewing machine, one by the couch, one on your bedside table and one in your travel bag; we sewing fanatics are always in need of a place to stick loose pins. This round pincushion was designed by Jean Etheridge and can be created in any color scheme to match your personal style and surroundings.

You can always use fiber filling to stuff your pincushions, but personally, we prefer a more densely weighted cushion. As an alternative, try using crushed walnut shells or sand for stuffing. You can find crushed walnut shells as bird litter at your local pet store; it is also sold at some specialty sewing and quilt shops. If you do use crushed shells or sand, we recommend an inner lining be included in the construction to prevent the shells from possibly working their way through the outer pincushion cover.

• Small amount of fabric for two 5-inch circles
• Two buttons (large-holed to fit the large needle)
• Pearl cotton (#5)
• Polyester fiberfill
• Doll sculpture needle
• Optional charm (We bought ours in a multipack from the jewelry section of our local craft store)

1. Cut two circles of fabric about 5 inches in diameter.

2. With right sides together, sew around the circle, leaving about a 2-inch opening for turning (fig. 1).

3. Turn the circle right side out. Stuff until quite firm.

4. Stitch 2-inch opening closed by hand.

5. To form pie-shaped wedges, cut a very long strand of pearl cotton and knot one end with a substantial knot. Using a long, sturdy needle (one meant for doll sculpture works well), start at the bottom of the pincushion and push the needle all the way through the center of the stuffed circle form. Then pull the thread from the top around the side and back to the center point on the bottom. Go back up through the middle, down the other side, and up through the same point. Pull the pearl cotton snugly each time (fig. 2).

6. Continue until you have six pie-shaped sections. Knot thread at bottom.

7. Use one long pearl cotton thread to sew the top and bottom button to the center of the pincushion using the long needle. Start at the bottom, go through the holes of the button, up through the pincushion and through one hole of the top button. Then sew down through the other hole of the top button and down through the hole of the bottom button (fig. 3). Repeat several times and then secure the thread on the bottom.

8. Attach a sewing charm to the top button or the center of the pincushion.

Sew On, Sew Well, Sew Beautiful,
Cyndi and Amelia

Monday, August 12, 2013

Make Your Own Trendy Placemat Purse

Toni added black beads to the contrast black stitching to give this tote a touch of sparkle.

Textile tote bags are always in style, and, with a little sewing innovation, they are very easy to make! The delightful tote pictured here was designed by Toni Duggar using a purchased placemat, purse handles, a zigzag stitch and some great trims. Follow the tutorial below to make your own tote to match an outfit, or just to whip up something whimsical with fun trims. Either way, you'll be the envy of all your friends who don't sew, or, better yet, use this tote as a great starter project to teach someone how to sew.

What you'll need:
• Purchased placemat
• Purchased purse handle
• 1 yard of 1-inch silk satin ribbon for handle ties
• Quilting thread to match placemat
• Universal Size 90 or 100 Jeans needle
• Beads, fringe, buttons and trims that you like (optional)
• Permanent fusible web tape, such as Steam-A-Seam II™ fusible web tape, for applying trims (optional)

1. Adorn placemat with threads, beads or any embellishment you like. NOTE: If you plan to add fringe or beaded edging around the top, add this on the final step after construction is complete.

2. Stitch four 9-inch ribbon ties, or four 2-inch grosgrain ribbon loops to each end according to the width and style of your purchased handle (photo 1). 

Photo 1

3. Fold placemat in half and butt side edges together. Using quilting thread, secure with a zigzag stitch, stopping about 1-2 inches from bottom. Stitch a thread bar tack at top and bottom of zigzag (photo 2).

Photo 2

4. Turn purse inside out and stitch across each corner where zigzag stitching ends (this will give the bottom corners of the purse a squared or boxed finish) (photo 3).

Photo 3

5. Add top edging by stitching (use bobbin thread that will match inside of purse), or attach securely with fabric glue, or permanent fusible web tape (test your fringe with the iron first).

6. Place purse handles on purse.

Visit our online store to discover more purse patterns and other fun projects!

Sew On, Sew Well, Sew Beautiful,
Cyndi and Amelia