Category Archives: sewing

Weekend Roundup- Free Patterns 2/23/14

I’ve been meaning to do this for a while, but I wanted to start regularly posting a collection of free patterns (both quilting & sewing) that I’ve found during the week.  Some will be new, some will be older, but hopefully you’ll enjoy them all!

Bailey’s Crossroads from Swim, Bike, Quilt (my fellow Northern Virginia friends will understand this reference!)

Beach Ball Baby Quilt Tutorial from Moda Bake Shop (Cute quilt using 2 1/2″ strips!)

Reusable Swiffer Cover pattern from Berlin’s Whimsy (She suggests using terry cloth, but I’d use towels purchased at a resale shop, or old towels from around the house)

Double Tulip Pincushion (paper pieced) from Samelia’s Mum (because paper piecing is fun & we all have little scraps!)

I hope you enjoy!  And if you make any of these projects, I’d love to see them!

Tuesday Tip! Keep Your Rulers from Shifting

Has this ever happened to you?  You’re going along, cutting all your fabric pieces & then suddenly your ruler has shifted & you realized you’ve made a crooked cut like this?


I’ve tried the sandpaper dots on the backs of rulers, but I don’t like them on “regular rulers” as I feel their opaqueness prevents me from accuracy.

I’ve tried the plastic dots, but I felt they lifted the ruler too high & sometimes the ruler would shift.

I’ve tried the plastic sheets you place to the back, but they were difficult for me to afix them (think of a bad duct tape experience….)

So when I found this technique!  I couldn’t believe how wonderfully simple it was!

Take a 2″x2″ or so piece of non-adhesive plastic shelving liner:

shifting 2

And place it under your ruler:

shifting 3 final
I love this because:
1. Since it’s not permanent, it doesn’t interfere with any markings on the ruler
2. I can use 1 for several rulers instead of buying enough for every ruler

Tuesday Tip! How to Keep from Losing your Tools at Classes

I’m very excited to bring back the Tuesday Tip!

Have you ever been to a class or sew-in or retreat & at when cleaning up to go home, you can’t find your rotary cutter or scissors?

This happens to me all the time!  Somehow it made it’s way to the community cutting table or even someone else’s sewing station!

I used to put my initials on the cutter with “permanent” marker, before I learned it would eventually rub off the plastic handle.

Now I use a beaded fob on the end to avoid any confusion.  I received mine as a retreat gift, but I’ve seen cute ones at LQS’s.  If you can’t find a fob, or if you need one right now for the class you’re going to in 10 minutes, you can take a scrap piece of fabric & knot that around the end!

Happy Sewing!

Sewing for Baby- Burp Clothes

This week I decided to get started on baby sewing since I realized I’m already in my 5th month & if you do lose energy in the 3rd trimester, I don’t have a lot of time on my side.

I always knew I wanted to sew things for our baby, even before baby was a remote reality.  I pinned the super cute tutorials on Pinterest & couldn’t wait to buy the perfect “non-baby” baby fabric.  (Side note, I’m not a fan of baby fabric.  Mostly it makes me want to gag at it’s cuteseyness & light pastel fabric.)  But amazingly enough with all the fabric I own, I didn’t have the “right” fabric that I pictured in my mind, so I knew I’d have to go shopping.

Now let me back up a little more & tell you my current feelings on shopping & stuff.

I hate it.

Maybe I should explain that.  I’m sick of stuff.  I’m sick of buying stuff & I’m sick of being around stuff.  And it isn’t just because we moved across the country & I had to pack every.last.thing.we.own.  It’s more than that, it’s a gradual life change I’ve wanted to make since waiting up in suburbia one day in a ridiculously large house & wondering how the heck did we get here?  We’ve always lived in modest homes & we were happy.  Yes there were things we wish we had, but we knew we were fine without those things since we had this habit of moving every 2 years.  Then we had the chance to move to Omaha & possibly live in the same house for 20 years & the houses are  I’m not kidding.  After living in the DC metro area where we couldn’t even get an 800 sq. ft. condo for less than $300k, we fell in love with the space we could suddenly afford & bought a large house.  A really large house.  It was a little overwhelming to furnish it since literally, what we brought with us didn’t fill 1/3 of the space, but it was fun shopping in the beginning.  We kept thinking about all the entertaining we’d do & how wonderful the space would be….then I realized we’d have to clean it.  Then we realized how much junk we’d accumulate around the house that we’d have to get rid of before we could even clean!  We entertained twice.  And that was in the first year- we lived there for four years folks.

Around year three we were sick of it & wanted less.  Less house, less stuff, less all of it.  But no mater how hard we tried to get rid of stuff, we never seemed to give away enough.  It was still there lurking everywhere we turned.  Then we found out we were moving & now things were serious.  No more wishy washyness.  No more keeping it because we liked it.  Nope, going back to DC meant a *much* smaller place & things had to go!

Then we found out about the baby!  And yes it was very exciting once I could keep a meal down & didn’t need 20 hours of sleep (although the cats really enjoyed that), but then we started to get the marketing.  All the stuff you “need”.  All the themed pretty things that I remember my sisters having & never using.  And we said no.  We did our research & came up with a small list of needed items & I fact checked these with my sisters with what they really used.  We’re keeping it minimalist here with the kiddo because it’s expensive, a waste of resources & most of all- it won’t fit in our new home!  Seriously!  We thought we had decluttered, but we still had too much stuff when we moved into the new place.

So what does this have to do with burp clothes?  Well suddenly actually buying cute fabric made my head spin when I already have so much in my studio I can’t think!  So I pulled all my flannel scraps & pieced some burp clothes like they were a patchwork quilt.  No they’re not the pretty burp clothes I’d pinned, but seriously folks.  They’re burp clothes.  Why should I spend premium money on something that’s going to get spit up on when I already have a decent substitute?  We get something we need that’s actually thicker than what you can buy (don’t get me started on that rant!), I get fabric moved out of my studio & we get to put a little more money towards things like car seats.  It’s a win-win for everyone!

So here they are in their glorious scrappiness!
handmade burp clothes

Details:9″x18″ rectangles sewn right sides together with an opening to turn & flip.  Edge stitched around to close the opening & add stability.  Easy peasy.

Tuesday Tip- Seam Ripping!

Ever have those days where you feel you’re ripping out stitching twice as much as you’re actually stitching?I hate those days.

But since those days are inevitable (sadly), here’s a tip for successful ripping.

Lay your piecing out in front of you with the stitching facing you & put your seam ripper under a stitch to snip it apart.  Repeat cross every 3 or so stitches & use your seam ripper to help pull those small threads up.

Your seam ripper should look something like this: (I apologize for the sideways photo.  I’ve uploaded this several times & no matter what the actual orientation is, Blogger thinks it should be this way.  Yeesh.)


What I don’t recommend doing is holding your two pieces of fabric apart to rip the seams.  Like this: (And yet Blogger doesn’t mess with this pic’s orientation.  I give up.)

Now I’m not saying this is the “wrong” way to rip out, just be aware that by pulling those two pieces of fabric apart to get at the seam, you have the potential to stretch the fabric, especially if it’s been cut on the bias- for example a triangle unit.

I hope that little tip helps & I hope you don’t have to rip out this week as well!

See you next Tuesday!

Coupon Holder

This is our previous coupon holder:

Wait, it gets better:

Kinda pathetic, right?

I’ve been meaning to make a new one for ages, it just always got bumped down on the “to do” list.  That & I never found a pattern I was in love with.  There was always something wrong with it- too short, not enough pockets, pockets in the wrong places, difficult to use, tedious directions (this is just a coupon holder after all- I’m not making an award winning quilt here)- point is- there was always an excuse & it just never got done.  (Kinda similar to the story about the shoemaker whose family doesn’t have any shoes….)

Until recently when I had a coupon explosion & realized a new holder was now an immediate need.

So I dug through patterns & found a this from Legacy Patterns that I won at a door prize at a quilting retreat.

The overall directions seemed a little tedious, but that day I didn’t care- it had to basic elements I wanted, so there- decision made.

I grabbed two fat quarters I liked (I love the turquoise/orange combo) & set out to make this.

It was surprisingly easier than I anticipated & maybe took me 2 hours?

Overall I love it!  There are plenty of pockets for loyalty & gift cards, & the long pocket for coupons is perfect.

Between the quilts I give away & the quilts for customers, it’s nice to make something usable for us for a change.

Random Monday

– J & I went to Michigan this weekend & we passed the Oscar Mayer Weinermobile on the way…
– I learned there are actually roads in Detroit called “Ford Road” & “Pontiac Trail.”  This is something a Southerner has to see to believe…
– I was reminded again of the fact that Michigan drivers drive fast.  Highway driving was wonderful this weekend!
– Big cities (well, cities larger than Omaha) have wonderful stores like Ikea & REI.  Btw, Ikea cinnamon rolls are amazing….
– In prepping for this trip last week was pure insanity.  Thank God I have a dear husband who doesn’t mind running out to Walmart at 10pm on the night before we have to drive 12 hours to buy me more Velcro so I can finish a walker bag for his grandmother….
– Here is said walker bag:

– I also managed to finish & mail a baby quilt for J’s cousin last week.  Pics to come….
– I also finished another grommet bag…
– I also taught the quilted table runner class.  The students pieces are beautiful!  Pics to come also….
– Needless to say, just sitting & sipping my coffee this morning felt like heaven….
– On the road, we listened to Quiet (the book about introverts) & Bossypants by Tina Fey.  Both were great & we need to finish them as well.  We paused & talked too much about the books so 24 hours in the car wasn’t nearly enough time to finish 12 hours of audio…
– Now we’re home & settling back into the routine.  I love the fresh start feeling I get the first days back from a trip…..
– One of my first goals is to tackle my studio.  It’s in serious need of some cleaning.  Or at least just straightening….

Upcoming Classes

I just updated the Classes page with the July schedule!

Check out the details on these great projects!

Baby Blocks.  This is a Marci Baker pattern & much easier than it looks- it’s all strip pieced!

Mr. Crab (mini quilt).  Isn’t he adorable?

Quilted Grommet Bag.  This came together so fast & I made the whole thing from scraps!

I hope you join us for these great upcoming classes!

Sewing, Knitting & Quilting

It’s been another random week here at Casa de Craft.

I made another bag I’m really happy with:

(fancy pocket inside)
These bags are addictive. I want to make more!!! I’m getting all sorts of ideas. It doesn’t help that Saturday evening I got some great inspiration for bags as well.
Of course I’ve done some knitting. This is my Ravelympics sweater all blocked. I sorta didn’t do a gauge swatch. I sorta forgot I was working with alpaca which grows like a 2 year old. So it didn’t exactly turn out like I had imagined it would. Not incredibly in love with it, but I have to keep reminding myself it was just supposed to be a nice comfy cardigan to wear.
See that quilt in the background?
Here’s a close up:
Anything wrong?
Yeah, I’m missing one lousy lime green square. I really don’t want to go buy another fat quarter to fill this in, but I think I’ll break down & do it. Amazingly enough I don’t have any lime green batik scraps around the studio.
Maybe I’ll just buy some more pink as well as make it larger. That’s an idea……

Spring Bag

I made a bag.

A nice, bright, spring bag.

I quite proud of this bag.

I actually Sewed it. Notice this is sewing with a capital S. This is not homemade, this is the good stuff.

I had to assemble a paper pattern. I even made a lining (from the 2 corresponding fabrics I bought!)

I researched french seams to make the bag more durable. I took my time ironing the bag, so it wouldn’t look wonky. I even very slowly stitched all around my seams to “set” everything & make it look even more professional.

This was a success. I will proudly carry this bag around in public. I think I’m going to make another bag.