How to Create an Easy Double-Weave Spring Vase

July 11th, 2014     

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Hang the basket on the wall to celebrate the season!

Hang the basket on the wall to celebrate the season!

Tina Hilton

Choose a basket with an open weave so you can fill in with beautiful yarn.

Choose a basket with an open weave so you can fill in with beautiful yarn.

Tina Hilton

Weaving is simple and relaxing.

Weaving is simple and relaxing.

Tina Hilton

Hang the basket on the wall to celebrate the season!

Hang the basket on the wall to celebrate the season!

Photo: Tina Hilton

There is nothing prettier than a simple yet elegant handwoven basket, except maybe one that has been overwoven with hand-dyed and hand-spun yarn! An open-weave basket is a perfect medium for weaving those precious lengths of handcrafted yarn you have been saving for just the right project. Insert a vase, and you now have a wonderful way to display the first blooms of spring!

  Choose a basket with an open weave so you can fill in with beautiful yarn.

Supplies

  • Open-weave basket (I used a locally handwoven garlic basket by Alyssa Rudolph, but any store-bought basket will do the trick!)
  • Lengths of yarn in two different colors and textures (I used yarn from a local fiber artist, Nancy Hoffman, who made it from her flock of sweet Ramboulliet sheep. The yarn used to weave horizontally [weft] was machine-spun and hand-dyed for a smooth foundation. The yarn woven vertically [warp] was a hand-spun and hand-dyed yarn with a lot of textural interest. Most commercially available yarn would also provide a lovely effect.)
  • Large-eye tapestry needle for weaving in the yarn
  • Scissors
  • Glass vase or receptacle for flowers

Step by Step

Cut off a length of yarn you will be using for horizontal weaving. To determine the length needed, wrap the yarn around the basket from top to bottom along the areas you will be weaving in, and add a couple of feet for the final embellishment. Leave the surplus yarn length at the top of the basket.

Thread a needle with the yarn you will be weaving in horizontally.

Beginning at the top of the basket on the side, weave the yarn over and under the vertical basket spokes until you reach the base.

  Weaving is simple and relaxing.

Weave in the surplus yarn at the bottom and cut.

  The first layer is complete!

Cut off a length of yarn to use for the vertical weaving. To determine the length needed, wrap the yarn from top to bottom around the basket along the areas you will be weaving in, and add several feet for the final embellishment. Leave half the surplus yarn length at the top of the basket.

Thread a needle with the yarn you will be weaving in vertically.

Starting at the top of the basket on the side, weave the yarn over and under the horizontal basket reeds until you reach the top where you began.

  Weave yarn over and over.

  The contrast of the smooth reed and the soft yarn is pleasing.

The rest of your surplus yarn will now be at the top of the basket.

  Make sure your yarns begin and end at the same place on the basket.

There should be three lengths of yarn at the top of the basket: one strand from the horizontal weaving and two strands from the vertical. Braid those strands together and wrap the braid around the top of the basket and secure.

  The braided yarn trim completes the look.

  A small glass bottle makes a perfect vase.

Finishing
Insert the vase, fill with water and flowers, and enjoy!

posted in: yarn, vase, basket, hand woven

Make Beach Glass Earrings

July 23rd, 2014     

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With just a few pieces of beach glass and a Dremel tool, you can whip up a pair of earthy, summery earrings.

With just a few pieces of beach glass and a Dremel tool, you can whip up a pair of earthy, summery earrings.

Jennifer Worick

I picked four pieces of brown glass that are roughly the same size.

I picked four pieces of brown glass that are roughly the same size.

Jennifer Worick

You need to use a diamond bit for your Dremel; it is designed to work on glass.

You need to use a diamond bit for your Dremel; it is designed to work on glass.

Jennifer Worick

With just a few pieces of beach glass and a Dremel tool, you can whip up a pair of earthy, summery earrings.

With just a few pieces of beach glass and a Dremel tool, you can whip up a pair of earthy, summery earrings.

Photo: Jennifer Worick

I used to crave souvenirs from trading posts, truck stops, and gift shops when I was on vacation. These days, I’d much rather pick up a natural item than an ill-advised T-shirt or tchotchke. When my wanderings take me to the beach, I sort of lose my mind, filling my pockets with rocks, shells, and the rare piece of beach glass. Over the years, the beach glass has accumulated, and I have bowls of it sprinkled throughout my home. I thought I’d take a few choice pieces and create a swingy pair of earrings. They were so quick that I’m thinking that my friends and family are going to be tricked out in glassy baubles in short order.

  I picked four pieces of brown glass that are roughly the same size.

You’ll need:

  • Safety glasses
  • Old kitchen sponge
  • Shallow metal pan
  • Water
  • Four pieces of small beach glass
  • Dremel tool with 1/16-inch diamond drill bit
  • Chain-nose pliers
  • Six 7mm sterling silver jump rings
  • Two 5mm jump rings
  • Two ear wires
  • Clear nail polish (optional)

Step 1: Put on your safety glasses. Place a thick sponge, rough side up, in a shallow pan half filled with water. Get ready to drill holes in some beach glass. Start by placing your Dremel tool with the diamond bit at a 90-degree angle to the glass. It’s best to position the hole near the edge of the glass so that you can attach a jump ring. Only the bit should be in the water; keep the rest of the Dremel well above and away from the water line.

  You need to use a diamond bit for your Dremel; it is designed to work on glass.
  Place your glass on a sponge in a shallow pan of water to do your drilling, and make sure the Dremel is positioned at 90 degrees to the glass.

Start with a low setting and let the drill do the work (in other words, don’t push down). You’ll know when you’ve completed your hole as it will “give” when it breaks through to the other side.

  The drilled hole is the perfect size for a jump ring. Just make sure to drill pretty close to the edge so you can get a jump ring in there.

posted in: Jewelry, earrings, wearable, beachy, beach glass, dangles


How to Make a Coffee-Table-Worthy Scrapbook

July 23rd, 2014     

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Transform any three-ring binder into a stylish scrapbook.

Transform any three-ring binder into a stylish scrapbook.

Photo: Sloan Howard

Scrapbooking is hot, but nothing makes it sizzle more than combining paper arts with fabric. For all of your precious memories, you can design a totally unique, totally stylish scrapbook cover. Select a fabric for the cover that complements your décor or special event, and then shirr it with a specialty thread that shrinks when you steam it. Add coordinating pages embellished with fabric collage, vintage lace or trim, novelty buttons, sewing-room finds, and machine stitches. You can transform any three-ring binder into a stylish scrapbook for your home or to give as a gift. Believe me, you wouldn’t dream of hiding this one on a shelf.

What You’ll Need
Three-ring binder
Pattern paper
Fabric
Chizimi thread (ManchesterSewing.com)
Sewing machine
Optional ribbon or button closure
Iron

Step 1: Make a pattern
Lay your open binder flat on a piece of paper, and trace around it. Or measure the binder, and draw a rectangle to size. Add 1⁄4 inch to each side so the cover will fit when the binder is folded shut. Add 1⁄4-inch seam allowances on all four sides.


Step 2: Cut and stitch a rectangle
Cut a fabric rectangle 20 percent larger than your pattern in both directions. Stitch a grid pattern with the lines no more than 3/4-inch apart. We used a straight stitch, but experiment with a serpentine stitch on scraps to see which effect you prefer.

  Thread your machine with Chizimi thread, and stitch a grid pattern on your fabric.

Step 3: Steam your stitching
With your stitched fabric face down on your ironing board, hover over the wrong side with your steam iron, steaming it generously. This causes the thread to shrink, and that creates the puckered texture.

  A burst of steam will shrink the threads and cause the fabric to pucker.


Step 4: Use your pattern

Using your pattern, cut one cover out of the puckered fabric. Then cut two flap pieces using the cover pattern. Cut one book lining the size of your cover pattern minus 2 to 3 inches on each side. If your fabric needs support, cut and fuse a nonwoven interfacing to the wrong sides of all the pieces.

  Interfacing will lend your fabric support and durability.


Step 5: Fold the flaps
Fold the flap pieces in half vertically with right sides out, and press the fold to a sharp crease.


Step 6: Align your layers
Fold each flap piece in half with wrong sides facing each other and side edges even. Lay the cover piece face up, and position a folded flap piece on either side with raw edges even. Center the lining wrong-side up, on top of the cover and flaps.


Step 7: Stitch and turn
Stitch the layers together, using a 1/4-inch seam allowance. Clip the corners and turn the cover right-side out through the opening. Press.

  Stitch the pieces of the cover together around the outer edges.


Embellishment Tips:

  • Appliqué fabric right to your pages using decorative thread and decorative machine stitches. Set your machine to produce long stitches so they don’t tear your paper.
  • Use monofilament thread to make invisible stitches to couch on a trim.
  • Try a narrow zigzag stitch over the straight edge of a vintage lace to edge a page.
  • Sew buttons through the paper with silk ribbon, and knot it in front.
  • Check out scrapbooking gems at your local crafts store: a die cutter for rounding your paper corners, medallions, adhesive-backed ribbons, and many other delights.
  • Look for special buttons, heat-applied crystals and studs, interesting trims, and threads.
  Specialty paper and trims add interest to your pages.

Photos by: Sloan Howard


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posted in: scrapbook

How to Make Button-Embellished Cards

July 23rd, 2014     

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A set of cute ribbon and button–embellished cards in blues and yellows.

A set of cute ribbon and button–embellished cards in blues and yellows.

Kayte Terry

A selection of some ribbons and buttons I used. Pick a color story that you really love.

A selection of some ribbons and buttons I used. Pick a color story that you really love.

Kayte Terry

Poke holes in the card to make a guide for sewing on the buttons.

Poke holes in the card to make a guide for sewing on the buttons.

Kayte Terry

A set of cute ribbon and button–embellished cards in blues and yellows.

A set of cute ribbon and button–embellished cards in blues and yellows.

Photo: Kayte Terry

When is the last time you got a nice handwritten note from a friend? Can’t remember? Well, it seems that the art of letter writing is almost lost to us. Sure, e-mails are easier, but a handwritten note is something really special. Let me tell you, the only thing better than a handwritten note is a handmade and handwritten note. When I was about 14, I had a really great pen pal. We were both artistically inclined and would turn our letters and envelopes into mini works of art. One envelope she sent was encrusted with sewn-on buttons. It was one of my favorites and I still have it to this very day. These cards are definitely inspired by her.

A couple of things to keep in mind when sewing on paper: Make sure to change out your sewing needle before you go back to sewing on fabric, and I think that leather needles sew better on paper.

And one more thing: If you are going to mail these cards, remember that the buttons make them a bit heavier and you might need more postage.

What you’ll need to make two cards:

  • Cardstock in two contrasting colors
  • X-Acto knife, cutting mat, and ruler
  • Decorative-edge scissors and fabric scissors
  • Assorted buttons
  • Scraps of ribbon
  • Glue stick or spray adhesive
  • Sewing machine
  • Needle and thread
  • Envelopes
  Here are your two blank cards.

1. Lay out a sheet of cardstock on the cutting mat. Fold the cardstock in half lengthwise, and press the folded edge flat with the side of a ruler. Using a ruler, cut the sheet in half to make two cards that are 4-1/4 inches x 5-1/2 inches.

  I used pinking shears to make these decorative edges. You also could use a scallop or even just cut them straight with an X-Acto knife.

posted in: buttons

How to Make an Eco-Friendly Snack Bag

August 8th, 2014     

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These reusable snack bags are definitely Cheerio worthy.  Make some of these cute bags and save a Ziplock!

These reusable snack bags are definitely Cheerio worthy.  Make some of these cute bags and save a Ziplock!

Jen Stern

Cut the cotton fabric and the ripstop nylon the same size for each bag, but feel free to customize the size to fit your snack storage needs.

Cut the cotton fabric and the ripstop nylon the same size for each bag, but feel free to customize the size to fit your snack storage needs.

Jen Stern

Use a rotary cutter and ruler to make quick work of cutting out the fabric accurately.

Use a rotary cutter and ruler to make quick work of cutting out the fabric accurately.

Jen Stern

These reusable snack bags are definitely Cheerio worthy.  Make some of these cute bags and save a Ziplock!

These reusable snack bags are definitely Cheerio worthy.  Make some of these cute bags and save a Ziplock!

Photo: Jen Stern

In truth, my sister has been pestering me to come up with a reusable snack bag for a while now.  September is right around the corner, and I decided it was time to whip up some. My little nephews will be able to tote their snacks to school in earth-friendly style. When my girls saw me making these little bags, they put in an order for some as well. Good thing they are so quick to make! Let me show you how.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 – 6 x 12 piece fun cotton print
  • 1 – 6 x 12 piece water resistant ripstop nylon  (Safe to store dry foods in.)
  • 1 – 4 1/2 piece of sew-in Velcro (1/2″ wide)
  • All purpose sewing thread to match your fabric

Fold the cotton fabric, right sides together and sew the side seams using a 1/4″ seam allowance.

sew side seams    

Fold ripstop nylon in half, right sides together, and sew side seams using a 3/8″ seam allowance.  If you’ve ever made a small lined bag, you may have noticed that the lining can be too big to fit inside neatly (even though you cut the lining the exact size as the bag).   Using a slightly larger seam allowance on the lining of the bag allows it to fit into the bag.

sew ripstop nylon    

Turn the cotton print to the right side and give it a good press with the iron. Use a point turner to get the bottom corners nice and crisp.

press cotton fabric    

posted in: eco friendly, reusable, velcro, snack bag, cotton print, water resistant nylon


How to Make a Sewn Necklace

August 8th, 2014     

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For more contrast, mix and match a variety of jewels.

For more contrast, mix and match a variety of jewels.

Photo: Jack Deutsch

In the fall ’08 issue of SewStylish, we showed you how to make a necklace using organza, ribbon, and sew-on jewels. While looking at the inspirational catalog from Neiman Marcus today, I came across this necklace by Ranjana Khan. The necklace retails for $1,200, and is very similar to this project I made for less than $20. The project was originally called the “Bijoux Necklace,” but I still like to refer to it as the joke name we had around the office while we were working on the issue: “Nikki’s Disco Dickie.”

My original inspiration for this project was a necklace by Burberry from their fall ’08 collections. Chunky jewels have been a runway staple the past few seasons, embellishing everything from shoes and headbands to hemlines and jewelry. Get the look quickly with organza (don’t worry; it’s easy to sew) and faux jewels. A ribbon makes the necklace adjustable for a chocker length or longer. You can also enlarge or reduce the size of the template to any dimensions you like.

What You’ll Need:
1/4 yard of organza
3/4 yard of 5/8-inch-wide velvet ribbon
Assorted sew-on jewels
Scissors
Sewing machine
Hand-sewing needle
Thread
Template

Sew the organza pieces together   Pin the organza pieces together, sew around the edges and trim the seam allowance.

1. Print out the template available here. Cut two organza pieces using the template. With right sides together, pin them, and sew around the edges with a 1/4-inch seam allowance. Leave a 1-inch hole at both ends for the ribbon. Trim the seam allowances to 1/8 inch.

Turn and press the organza   Turn and press the organza piece.

2. Turn the necklace right side out. Press the edges flat.

Insert the ribbon   Insert the ribbon.

3. Turn the raw edges at each end under and press. Cut the ribbon in half, and insert one ribbon 1/2 inch into each hole of the necklace. Topstitch each ribbon in place along the organza edge.  

Arrange and sew the jewels in place   Arrange and attach the jewels.

4. Arrange the jewels on the organza. Hand-sew each one in place. You may find it easier to glue them in place first with fabric glue so they won’t shift during stitching.

Finished Necklace    


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posted in: Jewelry, necklace, sewstylish feature, ribbon, scissors, sewstylish technique, sewing machine, organza

How to Make a Reusable Sandwich Wrap

August 21st, 2014     

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Dress up your sandwich in style with this supercute reusable sandwich wrap by Betz White, author of Sewing Green. Win a copy of Sewing Green by leaving a comment here.

Dress up your sandwich in style with this supercute reusable sandwich wrap by Betz White, author of Sewing Green.Win a copy of Sewing Green by leaving a comment here.

Make lunch, not trash! These fun, functional sandwich wraps give you a reusable alternative to plastic baggies, plus they are a snap to make. After each use, they can be wiped clean with a damp cloth or tossed in with the rest of the laundry.

Check outSewing Green for my Lunch Tote and Water Bottle Sling projects. Click here for sneak peeks inside the book! You can also keep up with me and Sewing Green on my blog here.

What you’ll need:

  • 1/3 yard of 45-inch-wide woven polyurethane laminated fabric (PUL; see note below)
  • 1-inch length of 3/4-inch-wide Velcro tape
  • Thread in a coordinating color
  • Fabric shears
  • Ruler

Note: PUL refers to any fabric that has been laminated with polyurethane on one side to make it waterproof. These fabrics are often found at websites that sell fabric cuts for making diaper covers (such as www.diapercuts.com) as well as some larger chain fabric stores. One 20-inch x 21-inch “diaper cut” is enough to make one sandwich wrap.

1. Cut the pieces.

  Using the templates provided, cut one main wrap and two flaps from PUL.

2. Hem the edges.

  Beginning with the main wrap, with the wrong (coated) side facing up, fold 1/4 inch on one of the short, angled edges to the wrong side, and topstitch the fold 3/16 inch from the edge.
  Then fold the five other short edges 1/4 inch to the wrong side, and topstitch the fold 3/16 inch from the edge, leaving the two remaining long sides unhemmed.


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posted in: Betz White, Sewing Green, reusable sandwich wrap


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How to Embroider Your Own Book Covers for Back-to-School

August 22nd, 2014     

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These adorable book covers are fun to embroider and require just two quick trips through the serger to put together!

These adorable book covers are fun to embroider and require just two quick trips through the serger to put together!

Photo: jen stern

When I was in school, we would cut up brown paper bags to make book covers, but now they have these cool ones made out of knit fabric that just stretch around the cover. I wish I had realized how easy they were to make-before Anna and I spent the day running around looking for some that would fit her books and her selective sense of style! This is a great project to add a little embroidery to, so let me show you a cool technique for embroidering on knits when you know the fabric will be permanently stretched after the project is complete.

This fabric cover is cut a little less wide than the book cover; it will have to stretch to fit. If you embroider on the fabric and then try to stretch it, the embroidery might be distorted, or worse, the fabric might pucker…yuck! We are going to stretch the fabric BEFORE we embroider, so it will look great once it’s covering the book!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A book to cover
  • A big enough piece of stretch fabric to cover the book
  • Embroidery designs of your choice
  • Embroidery threads
  • Soft tear-away stabilizer
  • 505 temporary adhesive spray
  • All-purpose thread

I started out trying to come up with a simple math problem to help you calculate how big to cut out your fabric-it was quickly becoming more complicated than it needed to be. So, I decided to simply trace the book I wanted to cover and make some adjustments when I added fabric for the flaps and that worked out great! Depending on how stretchy your fabric is, you may want to add even less fabric when we get to that step.

  Trace around the book while it’s lying open and flat against your fabric.

posted in: embroidery


Start Scrapbooking

Scrapbooking is a very traditional hobby. You might have elderly relatives who still keep things in scrapbooks and you may even be fortunate enough to have the scrapbooks started by generations that have gone by. We simply love to keep paper cuttings, family photographs and the snippets of materials that remind us of pleasant memories. It’s a beautiful hobby to take up too, not just as means of spending time creatively, but also as a means of storing things that your children, grand children and even the generations after them can treasure.
But times are changing. We simply don’t ‘develop’ our photos in the traditional way anymore. Most of us use digital cameras and the first time we see our photos is now often on a computer screen rather than on ‘proper photo paper.’ While it may seem ridiculous, it is not so. With the arrival of digital cameras, we’re taking more photos than ever before and in the digital age, we can share our photos faster than ever before.
Do not assume that the computerisation of photography means the end of scrapbooking. Absolutely not, as it happens, Scrapbooking software enables us to now enjoy digital scrapbooking as a modern day take on this very traditional hobby. It offers the flexibility that traditional scrapbooking might never have been able to offer.
Good scrapbooking software comes with an array of templates, many of them customisable. So you can make your digital scrapbook look and feel exactly as you like. You can customise the text with special effects and generally make your scrapbook look exactly as you like much more quickly and at a low cost than you would have been able to do with traditional scrapbook. Bear in mind as well that once you have bought your scrapbooking software, you don’t need to spend money on arts and crafts materials to add up. So in the long term, this modern way of making scrapbooks can actually be more time effective and cost effective as well.
It’s a productive hobby for the children in the family to take part in this process of making a scrapbook. With so many customisable themes available, there are some to appeal to the entire family and all can get involved!
Digital scrapbooks make beautiful and thoughtful gifts as well. Arrange the photographs of their near and dear ones in a way customised just for them and send it. It’s a thought out gift that will mean so much to them in years to come.
Think of digital scrapbooking as creating computerised photo albums. You can share them quickly and easily with friends and family all over the world as well, or simply store them digitally for weeks, months or even years until you want to share them with others.
We’re taking so many more photos than ever before thanks to camera phones, ever cheaper digital cameras and all manner of mobile devices with cameras. It would be a terrible shame not to make something special of all those digital memories, wouldn’t it?

Digital Scrapbooking

Scrapbooking really is an age old hobby! It’s largely thought of as quite a traditional pastime; but is this traditional form at risk of falling victim to the digitalisation of photography? With so many tiny, mobile devices including phones and MP3 players now coming equipped with cameras, as well as digital camera prices falling, we’re taking more photographs than ever before. However, we’re nowhere near as likely to go into a photography development shop with a traditional roll of film these days. In fact, the first time we cast our eyes on our snaps is now more likely to be at our computer screens. However, digital scrapbooking now means that people are turning to their computers to replace the traditional art of scrapbooking with a modern day digital version. But just what are the perks of each?
Real Scrapbooks Have ‘That Feeling.’
Ok, so you have probably heard that real scrapbooks have that feeling and that nothing quite compares with holding one in your hand, right? Indeed, nothing digital can really compete with that. But the perks of digital scrapbooking are serious contenders for compensating to some extent!
No Sticky Fingers With Digital Scrapbooking!
Forget sticking your fingers together with the pot of paper glue you sifted through your child’s pencil case for! You don’t have to mess around with fiddly bits of paper, glitter and all manner of other craft materials to get the look you want. Digital scrapbooking software is often a one click process when it comes to installing a customised template! Plus, if you decide you don’t like the theme you have just added, with a click you can change it. With traditional scrapbooking it would be one heck of a job to completely undo it and transform it.
Multiple Copies of Digital Scrapbooks
You can create copies of digital scrapbooks in a way you simply cannot do with the traditional ones. Want to send your digital scrapbook to twenty people? Fine – send it! Want to send a real traditional one to twenty people? Well that could be an expensive photography copying job, could soon add up in arts and crafts materials and will take you a heck of a long time as well.
Simple Storage
No risk of getting the corners of the scrapbook all ruined somewhere in the bottom of a drawer or getting your newly made scrapbook crushed by some one sitting on it. You can store it on your computer, on a tiny little memory stick or even in an email account. Either way, you can be assured that when you come to show it off years from now, that it will be in perfect condition!
So with all these perks, just to name a few, digital scrapbooking really is an incredible alternative to the “real thing,” as we progressively move towards the complete digitalisation of photography. Modern technological advancements do not have to mean the end of traditional hobbies of this type. It simply means we have to adapt them and digital scrapbooking is a perfect example of that.

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