Curiosities

Last week I shared a pattern from my latest mini-collection, Curiosities Vol. 1. I'm happy to share that the whole collection is now available on Spoonflower in all 4 colorways!

This collection was inspired by natural curiosities. And if you didn't guess from the name of the collection, I'm hoping to add more patterns over time - next up, the ocean!

Fat Quarter Tea Towels

This week's Handmade Holiday gift idea is a fat-quarter friendly tea towel project.

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Supplies needed: fat quarter of medium- to heavy-weight fabric (see note below regarding fabric selection), ~5" of ribbon or twill tape (scraps will work fine!), thread, scissors, sewing machine, iron, pressing board, a couple of straight pins or Clover clips

Cost: up to ~$15.00 (price will vary greatly based on your fabric choice)

Time: 15-20 minutes, plus the time you spend shopping for fabric, which could be considerable

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A note about fabric selection

For a beautiful, long-lasting tea towel, you will want a fabric with a heavier hand than quilting cotton. I would recommend linen, twill, or canvas. For my tea towels, I'm using Linen Cotton Canvas from Spoonflower. I'm not just pimping Spoonflower because I have designs for sale there...there are a few reasons this works well. First, the Linen Cotton Canvas is a durable choice for tea towels. Second, while a standard fat quarter of fabric is about 18" x 22", fat quarters of this fabric are 18" x 27", which is a great size for a tea towel. Third, Spoonflower introduced a feature earlier this year where you can Fill-a-Yard of fabric with multiple designs, so one yard of fabric can yield 4 different tea towels! This saves you money, and allows you to make unique towels for everyone on your list.

Now to dive in!

If your fabric has any selvedge, trim that away before pressing.

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You'll press 1/2" on all 4 sides, and then fold that over and press again to enclose the raw edges.

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Cut a piece of twill tape (or ribbon) to about 5" long, Tuck this under the pressed edges in one of the top corners, running diagonally across the corner as shown below.

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In order to keep the twill tape from shifting during sewing, you'll want to secure it with a couple of pins or Clover clips.

Since the stitching will be very visible on the front of the towel, I like to sew from the front. Do whatever floats your boat, though! You'll stitch at the 1/2" mark around all 4 sides, pivoting at the corners.

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And that's it! You've made a beautiful tea towel that adds personality to any kitchen.

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If you're interested in purchasing the design shown in the example photos, you can find it here in my Spoonflower shop. If you'd like to learn how to design a tea towel calendar of your own, check out my calendar design class on Skillshare.

Covered Button Earrings

To kick off my Handmade Holiday series, I'm sharing these scrap-friendly covered button earrings.

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Supplies needed: covered button kit, earring posts, E6000 adhesive, scissors, pliers, pencil, small fabric scraps

Cost: ~$10.00 for 3 pair of earrings

Time: 10-15 minutes, plus drying time

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If you've not used a covered button kit before, you'll find that the back of the packaging is very instructive. It also includes a template for cutting your fabric.

Cut out the button pattern from the packaging and trace the circle onto your fabric. You'll need two circles to make a pair of earrings.

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For each earring, you'll need one circle of fabric, one button front, and one button back. You'll also be using the mold and the pusher from the button kit to assemble these.

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Center your fabric circle over the clear plastic mold and place the button front on it, face down. Using the blue pusher, pus the button front down into the mold.

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See how all of the fabric is tucked around the button front? Now you'll place a button back on top of this, and use the pusher to push it in until you feel it click into place.

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You'll need to remove the shank from the back of the button. Using a pair of pliers, squeeze on either side of the shank loop as shown below and squeeze gently. This will release it and it should pull away easily.

The button kit comes in odd quantities. My kit had 7, which is an awkward amount for pairs of earrings. You can always buy two kits and solve this problem, or consider that 7th button as insurance in case you screw one up. At any rate, here are my 6 earrings.

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Place a dot of E6000 adhesive on the button back and push an earring post into the glue.

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Let the glue dry overnight, and you have a lovely gift for someone you love...or to keep for yourself!

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Simple Circle Pouch Tutorial

Earlier this week, I was preparing for a road trip and found myself in need of some pouches to organize bits and bobs that I'd be taking with me. I didn't need anything big and fancy, and didn't want to spend much time on them. I just wanted something sturdy and cute that I could toss in my bag.

I sewed up a couple of these simple circle pouches using my Let's Play House fabric, but this project is also suitable for scraps. Altogether, I used about a fat quarter of fabric for each, including the lining and zipper tab.

To create my circle pattern I used a small plate from my kitchen, which measured a little over 7", so my fabric pieces just needed to be a little larger than that.

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You will need to cut:

 - 2 circles each from exterior fabric, lining fabric, and batting

 - 1 rectangle at 2.5" x 5" from lining fabric (or a suitable size for your circle)

You will also need a zipper that is longer than the width of your circle. For my ~7" circle, I used 9" zippers.

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Set aside one set of circles, and cut one of each fabric/batting exactly in half. These will make the front the pouch. I did this by folding them in half and cutting along the fold.

Take one of each half-circle and pin with the top edge of your zipper in the following order, bottom to top:

 - Lining fabric, right side up

 - Zipper, right side up

 - Exterior fabric, wrong side up

 - Batting

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Sew through all layers using a zipper foot. If you don't have a zipper foot, use 1/4" seam allowance and sew carefully!

Flip the fabric/batting away from the zipper and press. Top stitch through all layers 1/4" from the zipper.

Flip the unsewn edge of your zipper up, and repeat the steps above for your remaining half-circles.

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Take the rectangle of lining fabric, and press it in half, long edges together.

Unfold the rectangle, and iron the long edges in to the middle line you just creased.

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Fold along the crease and press again, making sure the long, raw edges are tucked in. Sew along the open edge with 1/8" seam allowance. Set aside.

Open the zipper slightly, and pin the opening closed. Baste the opening, across the zipper teeth, close to the edge of your circle. Go slowly - be careful not to break your needle on the zipper teeth.

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Now fold the zipper tab in half, and place at the opening you just basted. I put mine inside the circle by about 1". Leave the raw edges to hang with the ends of your zipper (we'll cut the excess away later), and baste in place.

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Take your fabric circles, and layer as follows, bottom to top:

 - Lining fabric, wrong side up

 - Batting

 - Exterior fabric, right side up

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Make sure the zipper on your pouch front is open and layer it with your fabric circles. The pouch front should be lining side up. Pin in place all around the circle.

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Using 1/4" seam allowance, sew around the entire circle through all the layers. Take care as you sew over the zipper teeth. (Can you tell I've broken a few needles in my time?)

Using sharp scissors, trim through the excess zipper tape. I also trimmed the raw edges of the pouch with pinking shears to prevent fraying.

Flip the pouch right side out and press. Topstitch through all layers using 1/4" seam allowance and a long stitch.

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Now your pouch is ready to be filled with whatever goodies you'd like!

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Let's Play House!

The wait is finally over! I'm delighted to share that my first line of fabric for Robert Kaufman - Let's Play House -  is now available in stores and online.

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I'll be visiting Silk Road Textiles in the Cincinnati area on 9/12 to share my fabrics and have some fun giveaways, and I will be hosting a workshop for the Let's Play House Pillow on 10/14 at Sew to Speak in Columbus. if you're local to Ohio or will be passing through, I'd love to see you!

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Summer is for Sno-Cones!

...and bomb pops, and twin Popsicles, and push pops, and now I'm just making myself hungry!

Last month, a friend and I were talking about tasty treats for summer time and decided we needed some fabric featuring our favorite cool desserts for summer. I came home and set about sketching, and before you know it we had our wish!

Ice Ice Baby is now available on Spoonflower, and was also the inspiration for July's coloring page!

No-waste Flying Geese

My to-do list currently includes making a pile of flying geese. I hate wasting fabric, and traditional piecing of flying geese has always seemed so wasteful to me. Flying geese are traditionally made by paper piecing, or by sewing two squares to a rectangle at a 45 degree angle and cutting away the excess. Wasteful either way, no?

I found a no-waste method for making flying geese, which was very appealing to me, so I decided to give it a try. With the no-waste method, you work with squares alone, and the only waste is the itty bitty dog ears that can’t be avoided when sewing HSTs.

To make 4 flying geese, you will need one large square of your main fabric (this will be the central triangle in each unit) and four smaller squares of your complementary fabric.

To determine what size squares you will need to know the finished size of your flying geese, for example 3″ x 6″. For the large square, cut a square that is 1.25″ larger than the finished width of the flying geese (7.25″). For the smaller squares, cut squares that are 7/8″ larger than the finished height of your flying geese (3 7/8″).

Draw a diagonal line on the wrong side of each small square, just as you would for a half square triangle. Align two of the small squares with opposing corners of your large square, like so:

The small squares will overlap slightly, and that’s ok…they should. Now sew on either side of the diagonal line using a .25″ allowance.

Using a rotary cutter and ruler, cut the unit in half along the diagonal line.

Press the fabric open, and you’ll have two units that look like this:

Place one small square in the remaining corner of your main fabric, and make sure that the diagonal line you’ve drawn on the small square runs up from the corner to meet the center point of the smaller squares you just sewed like this:

Sew on either side of the diagonal line using a .25″ allowance, and cut the unit along the diagonal line. Repeat the process with the other unit.

Press the fabric open, and you will have four flying geese! Pat yourself on the back and enjoy the satisfaction of not wasting fabric!

Hideaway - my latest fabric collection!

It's cold and snowy here in Ohio, but I got a little taste of spring today with the arrival of my latest fabric strike-offs! I'm excited to share my newest collection, Hideaway, available now in my Spoonflower shop!

This collection was inspired by my recent trip to Mexico, and I tried to capture what I loved about the bright colors, beautiful flowers, and carefree spirit.

The collection is available in three colorways, and offers large scale, ditzy, and blender prints in a combination of organic and geometric forms. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed designing it!