Archives for posts with tag: sewing

Lace scarf

I pulled out a bin of fabric today to look for something completely different, but came across a piece of lace. It had a tag on it that read “Piece of fabric, 50 cents”.  It doesn’t seem particularly old, but old enough the background has turned a darker shade while the flowers are still white.

A forgotten find. Add now it has been stitched up to be a decorative scarf.


needlepoint pillow

When I first started needlepoint, I would buy those cheap little kits at the craft store. I enjoyed working them up, they went quickly, but I never did anything with them when they were done. They live in a bin with other swatches and small finished projects.

Today I dug one of them out, and then in a further “use it up” idea, I backed it with the other half of the purple patchwork square left over from making the lavender sachet. It’s a tiny pillow, purely decorative in nature, but it means this early needlepoint project is finally seeing the light of day after probably 20+ years of being completed.



Years ago when I first started quilting, I saved all my long scraps and once I had enough of one type of color, would sew them onto muslin squares. The idea was to eventually make these into a new quilt. I have 7 or 8 of them and last year started repurposing them into other items.

The purple square is now a sachet stuffed with lavender. Lavender is said to help in relaxation and also to repel insects, so it can hang by the bed or in a closet. Sometimes it pays to admit that half-finished projects may never get completed…but there is often a new way to use the work you have already done.

pillow case

I’ve made pillowcases before, but this was the easiest set of all.

While I was sorting through a small room in the basement where a lot of extra stuff gets stored and often forgotten, I found a box of old sheets. They were for a twin-size bed which we do not have, and most of them went into the donation pile. I saved a couple because I liked the print on them and thought I could use them for something.

It turns out this size sheet is the perfect width across for 2 pillow cases. The top hem is already in place as part of it, so once the length is cut, the seams just need to be sewn up. You end up with a pair of cases with the top opening already neatly done for you.  You don’t even need a pattern for this, just lay an existing pillowcase on top of the fabric to cut the correct length.


Tattered quilt 1

I rescued this little quilt from the vintage table at a used fabric sale this past summer. I didn’t even unfold it, just felt it needed to come home with me. The label says “Tattered Quilt”, and I thought I might be able to stabilize it and preserve the charming fabrics. Plus, at $1, it almost jumped into my hands.

Tattered quilt 2

However…I have since unfolded it several times, and it is beyond tattered. There is a large tear right down the center, and smaller ones along two of the other pieces of disintegrating sashing. The binding has been cut off and a new one partly sewn on. There is a large patch across a part of it and some of the original fabrics are tissue-paper thin and already torn beyond any salvageable point.

Each time I take it out, I get overwhelmed by everything that would need to be done to make it a whole quilt again as it is.  I am debating whether it is worth the attempt to preserve it as it is, with the possibility that I will not be able to and thus keep it unusable, or doing the unthinkable (to me) and cutting it up to make new blocks from the parts of it that are still strong enough so it can be used and enjoyed. Would cutting it be destroying it, or giving it new life?

For now, it has been folded up again, and put back on the shelf.



I tried to grow catnip. I did. I put it in a pot since I didn’t want it to take over, and I was not sure how the neighborhood cats would react to it, but it did not survive this summer. I do much better with things I can put right into the ground.  Because I was unable to harvest my own, I had to stop at the local pet supply store and purchase some in order to finish off the crocheted cat toys. Here’s the thing about buying catnip, it seems to come in two sizes–single serving and giant bag.

Since I found myself with quite a bit of extra catnip, I sewed up a few catnip pouches and filled them up.  I was planning to use some scrap fabric, but I have a panel of these printed cat squares and have never used them. I have really been trying to break the habit of holding on to fabric I like, rather than actually sew with it. These will get beaten up by the kitties, yes, but I’ll get to see and enjoy them until they have kicked and licked them to death. Besides, there are still 24 of the little squares left I did not use.  >^..^<


The sewing machine was out today so I could hem a pair of pants for my Father-in-Law. It was a quick job, so I decided to look through my bin of Christmas fabric and start a little something. At the bottom of the bin there was a packet of die-cut fabric shapes; trees, candy canes, and stars. There had been stockings in there originally, but those were made into a garland for the mantle a few years ago.

I tried layering the straight edged stars over some scrap batting cut with pinking shears to create a white border, but when they were all sewn, the batting was a little uneven. This is, I’m sure, due to the fact that my eyeballing it is not as precise as a die-cutter. In the end I trimmed all the sides with pinking shears and am much happier with the result. It felt like they still needed something so the button tin came out and that finished them up.

The strings added to hang them were left on the long side as these might become package ties rather than ornaments. They can always be made shorter if I need to. Longer is a bit more difficult.


Saturday night was Halloween. Our neighborhood has so many kids come through for trick or treats. We gave out over 150 pieces of candy!  After the rush was over, I went to a costume party as a bat. I made the costume from a long-sleeve black shirt and a couple of black umbrellas that were disassembled and sewn along the arms and sides of the shirt. It gets topped off with a cat-ear headband with the points of the ears squished down to be more round and bat-like and some black grease-paint on the nose.


It was a long night, so Sunday called for something that a tired brain could accomplish. These tealight snowmen will become ornaments or magnets. The LED tealights came in packs of two at the dollar store. The “flame” got a coat of orange paint to become the carrot nose, and the rest of the face is drawn on with a permanent marker. The strips of fabric used for the scarf were from the scrap bag. I really didn’t feel like setting up the ironing board for such a small project, then I remembered a friend had given me one of those hair-straightening irons. Running the crumpled strips through it pressed them quite nicely. I will be using this trick again for small ironing projects.


When I was young, my mom has one of those tomato pincushions with an attached strawberry for the needles. I’ve made the tomato pincushions before, and now want to have a go at the strawberry.  It is usually filled with emery, not something that I have on hand. However, my favorite quilt show is coming to the Philadelphia area this weekend, and in the past, vendors in the marketplace have offered either emery or ground walnut shells to use for this. I’m hoping someone will carry it this year too. I will be going to the opening day on Thursday, and while I have tried to put myself on a fabric hiatus until I can use up some of my stash, I do like to pick up one or two things that are difficult to find. I also like drooling over the long-arm quilting machines.,(Seriously, If I ever strike it rich, one of these will be mine.) It is probably heresy in the quilter crowd, but I like this show better than the AQS show. There seems to be more variety in the quilts on display, and in the merchant marketplace too.

To prep for this, I made a quick version of the strawberry needle holder using fiberfill. I did this to give me an idea of the size, and also how hard it would be to sew the top closed and attach the leafy top with something sand-like as the filling. This little berry is a bit larger than I would want it to be, so I know I need to size it down.  I also learned that I will need to sew the top closed over some sort of baking sheet or dish since I think there is no way the emery will not try to escape. And maybe not fill it as full as I did with the fiberfill.

I hand-sewed all of this, but if I am using emery or crushed shells, I will sew the side seam on the machine to make sure it is good and tight. I may also resort to a dab of hot glue across the gathered top to really seal it.

Tea towel

According to Facebook, September 12 is International Crochet Day. To celebrate, I decided to do some sewing. 🙂

I have a thing for tea towels. I love finding them at thrift shops. I have so many I can’t fit them all in my kitchen drawer. In the morning, I saw that there was going to be an estate sale just blocks from my house, and one of the photos showed a basket full of old tea towels…and I did not go.

To reward myself for exercising such control, I decided to try making a couple of them. I had picked up two yards of dark green linen at the used fabric sale in August for this reason. And it was two yards for $1…I might have had to buy it even if I did not have a project in mind.

I figured that while I had the sewing machine and ironing board out, I would make two of them, just to see how it went.  There is still plenty of fabric left for more. I grabbed a couple of my own towels to see what size they should be and discovered that almost every one of mine is a different size. You know you aren’t going to get the size wrong when there doesn’t seem to be a standard. After some cutting, Ironing, pinning and sewing, I had two towels. They looked bare. In a perfect world, I would have immediately sat down and done some embroidery one them. Instead, I pulled out a box of old trims that was given to me by a friend when she was cleaning out her grandmother’s house. The trims were all crumpled together in the box, but I picked a few I liked, played around for a bit, and made some selections.

I might have usually picked something more fun, but I liked the way the white daisies and cream lace popped against the dark green background. When I sew up the rest of the fabric, I will do it with more of a plan and embroider something on them, or I may find myself browsing the fun trims the next time I’m at Joann’s Fabrics.