Sunday, September 30, 2012

Funeral Pall

In the spring of 2012 I had the opportunity to take a 6 hour class from Diane Hire, an improvisational quilter. I learned techniques in her class, but I did not apply them until our sewing group was commissioned by our pastor to make a funeral pall. Here’s a photo of a pall from a church supply company. cokesbury pall

Our initial thought was that we wanted to create a piece of art that would incorporate not only Christian symbolism, but also give the congregation an opportunity to be a part of the finished work. To that end, we asked people to give us fabrics in golds, oranges, and yellows for the cross, and whites and off-whites for the background. The variety of fabrics we received was amazing. We received, tablecloths, pillowcases, T-shirts, ties, hand made lace, upholstery fabric, bridal fabric, and more. We tried to capture the individuality of each submitted fabric.

A plan was created and the group began to sew blocks. The blocks were 4.5” squares and were intentionally created to be wonky. most of the blocks contain at least ten different fabrics. It was labor intensive. Last week the blocks were completed and we laid them out on the floor. We spent a lot of time arranging and re-arranging until the design pleased us.

photo (11)

completed view

At this point, the group project becomes an individual project as the quilt is assembled and quilted. I’ll keep you posted.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Fabric Luggage Tags Tutorial

Here’s a way to use up scraps of fabric to make something every traveler will appreciate.
What you will need:
  • Two pieces fabric for front and back of tag 4 1/2” x 2 1/2”
  • Fabric for strap 2”x 14” (or you could use a ribbon)
  • Timtex or other heavy weight stabilizer 3 1/2” x 5 1/4”
  • Clear plastic vinyl 2 1/4” x 4” (Fabric stores sell this, but I cut up a vinyl blanket bag)
  • Cardstock for name/address 2” x 3 1/2”
  • Sewing machine foot for sewing on plastic

For my machine, I used a Teflon foot. Your sewing machine dealer will have a recommendation for your machine.  My regular sewing foot was not cooperative.
Make the strap by folding the 2”x14” strip of fabric in half lengthwise. Press a crease and open, then fold in both side edges to meet in the center and fold again. Stitch close to the edge on both sides.  (You could use a 14” length of ribbon.

press in half lengthwise
 press to center
stitch strap2

Attach your specialty sewing foot to your machine and stitch the plastic around the two sides and the bottom.

sew on vinyl

Remove the specialty sewing foot and attach fold the strap in half and stitch to the right side of the fabric at the top of your tag. The open edge of the pocket will be below. So you don’t sew over the strap when stitching front and back sides together, tuck the end of the strap into the vinyl pocket.

stitch on strap

With right sides together, stitch around the two sides and the top, leaving the bottom open

sew three sides

Turn right side out and use a chopstick or other tool to get your corners sharp
Insert the piece of heavy weight stabilizer into the tag through the open bottom and tuck in the back and front of the pocket to close and conceal.

insert stabilizer

Topstitch all the way around your tag about 1/8” from the edge. (Pull strap out of pocket before topstitching the top)

top stitch

Personalize the cardstock and insert it into the open pocket. Here; the ones I made this morning.


Other uses:
  • Gift tags for packages
  • Place cards for holiday gatherings
  • Place cards for wedding reception tables.
What’s not to love about this easy project!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Four More Projects for Handmade Holidays

This past weekend the youth at our church had a lock-in. Part of the event was making some items to sell at a Christmas bazaar.  I had four projects planned, coasters, luggage tags, gift pockets, and decorative gift bags. Many of them had never operated a sewing machine before, and I was excited to see them learning.

sewing instruction
sewing coasters
youth painting pockets

Here are some of the finished products

some finished products

coasters and gift pockets

Monday, September 3, 2012

Handmade Holidays—e-reader covers

Here’s a project that’s simple and adaptable to a variety of fabrics and techniques.

e-readers and clutches
The pattern is sized to fit the Nook and Kindle e-readers. The pattern could be easily adapted to make an iPad or smart phone cover. I used this tutorial which I found to be an excellent guide. For the two top bags I used fusible fleece and did not do any additional quilting. I also adapted the pattern to add an interior pocket in case the user wants to carry it as a clutch.

The one at the top used a piece of fabric a friend gave me. She purchased at a screen print factory in Hawaii in the 60’s. The fabric was luscious. It will be a gift for a woman who is taking a round the world cruise in January. I had never made a yo-yo before, but the bag told me it wanted it (see below).

The second one is made from a recycled  pair of jeans and a scrap of batik fabric I just loved.

The bottom one is made from a piece of hand stamped batik from Mali. I purchased it at a French Connections, fantastic fabric and art store in Pittsboro, NC.  I quilted it using a pieced scrap of wool batting and a metallic thread. I made an extra one to keep for myself and use as a clutch handbag.

For the closures I used a new to me product, fusible Velcro. Lazy Girl Designs has a product review here. I echo everything she says, the product is fantastic. The only down side is that it takes 90 seconds of heat application with an iron at the hottest setting to fuse to the fabric. I recommend using  press cloth to avoid scorching the fabric. Ask me how I know…the yo-yo. When accidents happen, embellish, embellish, embellish.