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Picture Books to Give to Kids of Sewing Lovers

It’s no secret that I’m sewing obsessed and probably no surprise that I’d love for my daughter to grow up the same. I also love to read and am so excited that my biscuit loves our reading time too (in her own little reading corner in her own little room). I’ve started collecting picture books for her that have to do with sewing to combine the two loves. One awesome thing about picture books is that they entertain kids for many, many years – from being read to to reading themselves. Maybe you have a munchkin of your own and want ideas for books to get from the library or maybe you’re looking for gift ideas for the kiddos of your friends and family. These are all books about sewing that I’ve found and would recommend! (Want even more ideas for kids of textile lovers? Check out my list of …

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Handmade Gift Ideas for Sewists

For those of us that are sewing obsessed, it’s pretty easy for family, friends, and significant others to know that something sewing themed is the way to go for a holiday gift. But sometimes a little more guidance than that is necessary – you don’t want to end up being gifted a shade of fabric you’ll never wear or a pattern that’s just not your style, even if it comes with the best intentions. I’ve put together a selection of sewing themed gift ideas that you’ll love no matter what your style is! All the images will take you to handmade versions on Etsy (affiliate links) so you can support makers just like yourself! Tailor’s ham: Tailor’s hams are an essential tool for every garment sewist. I seem to collect them (how can I pass up pretty vintage hams at the thrift store!?!) and am always happy to add another …

Bicycle Tube Straps

It always makes me cringe a little when I fix a flat tire on my bike and throw away the tube. I have this feeling that there simply must be something crafty I can do with the tubes. So, I’ve been saving the tubes for a while. So far my favorite thing to do with them is to make straps. They’re great for straps because they’re strong but have a little bit of give so you can make them quite snug. I’ve used them to hold all sorts of things in place, from keeping craft boxes closed to keeping the brake cable from rattling on my bike. Start by cutting off the valve. Then cut along a seam for the length of the tube so that it opens flat. Then measure how long you want the strap to be. Remember that the strap will hold tightest if it’s stretched a …

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Corks and Chalk Message Board Tutorial

I like things to be organized, and what better way to organize than in a fun, pretty, and DIY manner! I originally made this cork and chalk message board for my cousin – since she got married in a vineyard I themed her wedding gifts around cork. But I definitely have plans to replicate it for myself since I love the way it turned out! To make the cork and chalk message board, you need: cutting board TSP (use a phosphate free version as it’s better for the environment) primer paint paintbrush non-sanded grout (to make the paint into chalkboard) painter’s tape hot glue gun corks supplies for hanging picture wire (discussed below) I found a fancy cutting board at a thrift store that was already divided into two sections, but any cutting board or slab of wood will do. Start by washing the cutting board really well. You need a …

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Cabochon Keychain Wedding Favors Tutorial

I’ve always liked party favors and since a wedding is just one giant party (at least ours was!), giving out wedding favors was a given. However, I wanted the favors to be something lasting (I love getting candies but I eat them before the wedding is even over!) and I wanted them to be connected to our wedding and to be used again in the future. (It’s super fun getting sunglasses with the couple’s name on them to wear at the wedding reception, but they don’t really get worn after that, right?) So I decided to make a whole bunch of cabochon keychains using art from our wedding invitations. To make your own cabochon keychains, you will need cabochons and cabochon backs (I ordered the cabochon and backs on Etsy), mod podge, a strong craft glue that dries clear (I love Aileen’s original tacky glue), print-outs of your design, scissors, …

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Painted Initials on Cork Mat

For my cousin’s wedding, I made a whole stack of projects themed on cork (since it was at a winery) and the color blue (her and her husband’s favorite color). After sewing a recycled sweaters blanket, and making a chalk and cork message board, I wanted to add another little something that was personalized for Lindsey & Max. While at the thrift store, I found a whole stack of large cork coasters and decided that I would paint their initials onto one of the coasters as a finishing touch. Lindsey had admitted to me that she knew they would be very short on decorative items to hang on their walls when they moved in together after the wedding, so I thought something like this painted cork mat would be a fun, personal little piece of art that would fit nicely into their house and hopefully make them think of their wedding (and …

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Handmade Scarves for Christmas Presents

I’m feeling guilty. You see, every year I spend a lot of time and energy making Christmas gifts (and often at the last minute!). It’s important to me to be able to show my love for my friends and family through the gift of handmade goods. But this year, I’m not going to. I don’t plan on making one more thing. Before last week, I had already planned on being selfish this December, thinking I would sew myself a jacket instead of making many Christmas gifts. And I was already feeling guilty about it. And now I’m engaged (eep!) and so the little free time I have this month for sewing just disappeared with the fact that I need to start planning my wedding (not that I’m complaining or anything). Fortunately, a couple of people on my list will be getting handmade scarves. I put together a couple of fun …

How to Sew a Picnic Set

It may be turning into crisp fall weather in the rest of the northern hemisphere, but here in San Francisco we’re getting our little bit of Indian summer sunshine. We’re covered with fog during summer months, but right now we have a lovely dose of warm weather, perfect for picnics! To celebrate the warm weather, I sewed a picnic set of tablecloth, placemat, and napkins. If your weather is already turning, this tablecloth is a great size for a kitchen table and the placemat and napkins can be used for any dining table. The image above shows the suggested dimensions for how to sew a tablecloth, placemat, or napkin. For the tablecloth, cut it into the largest square that you can cut. Fabrics differ in widths, usually ranging from 45″-60″, sometimes larger for upholstery fabrics. Measure the width of the fabric from selvedge to selvedge and then cut that length …

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Batch of Baby Booties

There are a lot of babies being born to people I know these days. While I like to make something involved for the babies of the people most important to me (like knitting a baby sweater for my step-sister), I like to have a selection of small handmade gifts on hand  for more casual acquaintances. I love gifting handmade because of the love given that is clearly a part of the gift. In January I made a giant batch of baby shoes from Simplicity 2278 (see that post for more details on the pattern) and I just replenished that stash. I decided to use all View B because I enjoyed sewing it the most the last time around, and using all the same pattern made it easier to streamline the sewing process. I dug through my bag of scraps and put together slippers with scraps from my Robson Trench Coat, Mad …

Easiest Homemade Dog Treats

 For valentines day, what about making your beloved canine a special treat? I make these treats for my mom’s dogs every Christmas and they go nuts for them. (They love them so much that I simply could not get a picture of them patiently waiting for the treats.) They are about as easy to make as possible, but healthy and delicious (well, from the dog’s point of view).

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How Do I Love Thee Embroidery Pattern

I’m so very excited to announce the release of an embroidery pattern! It’s a love letter, stitched onto notebook paper. The pattern was inspired by one of my favorite movies, Who Framed Roger Rabbit. It’s from a love letter that Roger Rabbit writes to Jessica Rabbit and reads “How do i love thee? Let me count the ways. One one-thousand, two one-thousand, three one-thousand, four one-thousand, five one-thousand, six one-thousand, seven one-thousand, eight one-thousand, nine one-thousand….”

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Baby Shoes Galore!

I got a little carried away this weekend cutting and sewing baby shoes! I decided to participate in the stashbusting sewalong and baby shoes seemed like a good way to use scraps, January’s stashbusting theme. I sat down on Saturday with my friend Beth to catch up on Season 7 of Doctor Who and while we were watching I went through my scrap bin and just kept cutting and cutting and cutting.

Wrapping Paper Ribbon

I love wrapping Christmas/Hanukkah presents. When I was young it was the task that mom gave me to help her prepare for the holidays. I got great at cutting paper to the right size, getting crisp corners, getting odd shapes to package nicely. However, once I had the packages wrapped, mom would take them back to add on the bow. That was her domain and she made big, elaborate, showpiece bows.

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Sweaters Blanket Tutorial

This is one of my favorite projects. I have one of these blankets in my living room, my mom has one in her television room, and I gave one to my cousin for her wedding this summer. It’s certainly a bit more involved than the last several days of tutorial projects that I have shared, but it makes for such a lovely finished project and is so easy to customize for anyone on your gift list (or yourself!). You will need: 4 sweaters (see info below about selection) Backing fabric (I recommend a curtain panel. The amount of fabric you need will depend upon your finished size of the blanket) Thread Fabric scissors A sewing machine Sweater selection – Here’s where you can really make the project fit your unique aesthetic by the sweaters that you select. I’ve sewn blankets made from sweaters of just about every fiber content and …

Wool Leaf Potholders Tutorial and Template

Want another gift to nicely complement the tree ring coasters from yesterday’s tutorial? How about some potholders in the shape of leaves made out of green felt? Again, you can make them in muted tones for a subtle and earthy aesthetic or go to town with bright colors and play up the kitsch! You Need: Wool Leaf Potholder Template Green (lots) and brown (a little) wool felt* Green thread Sewing machine *You can buy wool felt at the fabric store (make sure that it is wool felt, not craft felt as craft felt is synthetic and will melt when hot). I recommend buying 100% wool clothes at the thrift store to use for your felt. Cut the garment into pieces by cutting off all the seams and then wash and dry the wool on hot. I used a pair of brown trousers and a green jacket. In Short: Cut the Template …

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Wine Cork Coasters Tutorial

I love to make my holiday presents. While I have grand intentions of having everything done before the month of December, I’m honestly usually just getting started (and a little frantic) right about now. For those of you like me, I’m publishing a week of tutorials for easy, fun, gift-able craft projects that you can make in time for Christmas! (Although you’ll be pressed to get them done in time for Hanukkah since it’s so darn early this year!)