Door Draft Blocker

I haven’t posted in a while, so let’s start this set of upcoming posts with a super useful item. A door draft blocker! I needed two for different reasons. First, the block the beer closet from getting dust, pet hair, and other items into the precious beer area. The second is to keep the kitty litter in the cat closet. Sometimes he is messy and gets the litter everywhere! Then we tread on it while walking down the hall, it’s the worst.

 

  1. Measure your doors! The beer door is 30-inches, the cat door is 24-inches and the width of both is 1 1/4-inches

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Cuts!

Length, is obviously just a bit longer than the length of the door. I did 26-inches on the brown, for the cat door and 34-inches on the gray for the beer door.

Width is 15 inches: 1/2 inch on each side for seams, 6 inches on each side for the stuffing and a middle section 2 inches long.

 

3. Seams: I  did the seams two different ways to see which I like better, time will tell.

 

For the gray I did a serger edge on each of the long lengths. Always finish serger seams with some fray check.

 

 

 

 

 

On the brown fabric I did a folded over seam. I ironed a 1/4-inch fold on each long edge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Pin: Fold each side in on the long length. For the folded edge, ensure to keep the edge folded while pinning. I left an approximate 1-inch gap between the fabric.

 

 

 

 

On one of the short edges fold under the end to seal the end, leaving the other end free.

 

 

 

 

 

5. Sew. For the serger edge, sew at the inside edge of the serger thread. On the folded over edge give a little less than a 1/4-inch seam allowance.

 

 

 

 

 

Sew the folded under short edge closed.

 

 

 

 

 

6. Stuff and seal closed. The obvious stuffing material is the acrylic stuffing that you can buy from the store. I stuffed these with old clothes that weren’t going to make it to the thrift store. Always cut off buttons, take out zippers and save those!

 

 

 

 

 

7. Apply to the door.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In use on the beer closet:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In use on the cat closet.

 

   

Table Runner

My foyer table needed a new runner.

As an aside, I recently bought a house so be prepared for a large number of new posts as I fill it with my style.

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The planning stage of my table runner:

  • 5 quilt squares
  • extra fabric for the trim
  • know your dimensions!

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  1. Cut the fabric into 2-1/2 inch squares. There is n picture of this so here is a picture of one of my helpers:

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2. Line up the fabric right sides together but offset by a predetermined distance. I used 1-1/8 inch. This will give it the horizontal effect. Make sure each strip is off by the same amount.

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3. Sew the strips together. Ensure you keep a standard seam with. I used 1/4 inch.

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4. Keep sewing! You will have one long  . . . .long fabric piece.

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5. Iron so that all the seams lay in the same direction.

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6. Cut the fabric piece in half.

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7. Lay the right sides together and fold in half. Use the folded crease as a way to keep your fabric piece square. Line the crease along a line on your cutting board and then cut off the edges perpendicularly.

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8. You may have to square up the top edge again when you are done to ensure a nice rectangle.

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9. Cut batting to suit.

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10. Not shown: sew with the fabric pieces right sides together and batting on one side. Leave a gap in the seam so that you can flip the piece inside out.

11. Flatten the piece and then iron the edges flat.

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12. Create quilting lines: I did one seam along each white piece front and back. It turned out very nice.

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You can see the front and back here with the fabric folded.

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13. Cut your trim fabric in 3 inch wide lengths.

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14. Iron trim fabric in half.

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15. Sew the trim fabric to the edge of the fabric piece. The open edge of the trim should be in line with the outside edge of the piece. I did the long edges first.

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16. Before doing the trim on the short edges finish the long edges by folding the trim over the fabric piece and sewing down the side again.

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17. Next sew the trim on the short edge as done in step 15. Leave 2-3 inches on each side as extra. Also, start sewing just inside the trim for the long edges.

18. Now let’s set up our corners. Cut the fabric at an angle as shown below.

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Fold as shown:

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Flip the fabric piece.

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Fold over the long edge as shown:

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Fold over the short edge as shown:

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Pin your edges down and then do the final run along the short edge.

19. Now cut your thread and dab each end with some fray check.

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Clearly I was really making a cat blanket:

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Rand, the Dragon Reborn, thinks the new blanket is for him . . . .

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All done!

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On the table clutter free:

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The finished product looks AWESOME!

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Wedding Quilt

 

The plan:

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This quilt was planned for a wedding this past August. They both love Game of Thrones and the Elder Scrolls so I went with a medieval theme. The top right is the groom’s crest and bottom left is the bride’s crest. These field is split by a row of purple (a royal color) and wedding rings encircle the center.

Shopping!!!

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First I made the bride’s crest using my typical square patterns. The stars and half moon will be sewn on later.

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After these are laid out on the sewing room floor, I have to gather them up and label them to be stored for later.

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The same was done to the groom’s crest.

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The rings were a special problem. Here is how I did them. First sew two squares together diagonally, then cut the excess. For the purple squares, I just ironed them in half to get a good line.

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Then I took one of the “excess fabric” triangles that I just cut off and placed it on the gold side. I folded the fabric in half and ironed a line.

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I then flipped the free triangle and put a seam on the far side of the line.

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Iron it! Then line all the squares out. I had to do it twice for both rings, the diamond was sew on later.

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One side all sewn together ready for it’s accents.

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The half moon.

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The stars

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The other side all sewn together.

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The finished product on the recipient’s bed!

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Wedding Coozies

I am at the time in my life where all my friends are getting married and making babies. I’m at the tail end of weddings and engagement parties for the year. For 3 different couples I made these ‘his’ and ‘hers’ and ‘hers’ cozies for the engagement parties or welcome dinners.

Supplies:

  1. Black Quilt Fabric
  2. White Quilt Fabric
  3. Satin Fabric (I bought searching through the remnant bin, 1/2 off!)
  4. Lace Ribbon
  5. White Elastic
  6. Flowers
  7. Typical sewing supplies

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First determine dimensions. I cut the back side of each out of white and black; rectangles of 4-1/2 by 9-1/2 inches. The bride front was two white rectangles at 2-3/4 by 9-1/2. Then a skirt was cut at 3 -1/2 by 11.  The groom front were two panels, 4-1/2 by 5 and 4-1/2 by 5-1/2.

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To make the groom front I pinned the two panels together as shown below with a piece of white fabric as the “undershirt” – do not sew.

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For the bride front I first gave the skirt a hem on three sides by folding the edge over twice and sewing. Then I pinned the skirt between the two white panels giving it ruffles and make sure to keep it at least a half inch from the edge. These were sewn together with a 1/4 inch seam.              wpid-20150803_211146.jpg

For each the bride and groom the front was sewn to the back, right sides together. Be sure to pin in the skirt as shown below so it does not get caught up in the hem, and sew with a 1/4 inch seam leaving a 2-inch gap on one short side to be able to reverse the coozie.

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After the coozie is reversed, put the two elastic bands folded in half into the open section and pin. Then give it a hem around all 4 side, reinforce the elastic bands with another pass over that section. For the groom sew down the front along where it should still be pinned, the groom was done with black thread, it was the only time I had to switch thread. The final move is to sew buttons on the opposite side of the elastic.

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The veil was made with one zig-zag seam with the top of the ribbon folded over by a half inch. Then an elastic band was inserted in the loop, and sewn closed. Flowers were sewn along the front of the band. I also put a matching flower on the groom’s coozie in the pocket area.

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Final products shown on a bottle before flowers were sewn on.

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Final products shown on cans.

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Two of three couples that were recipients shown below. They loved it and that was the real purpose of making these!

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Fabric Coasters

I’ve been wanting to make coasters for some time now since the wooden coasters I got in Ecuador are falling apart.  You may think: “Can’t you just sew two pieces of fabric together and call it a day?” Well, no because then you still have condensation seepage through the fabric or heat transfer from a hot cup. I can do better than that.

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First I started with some 4 by 4 squares I had left over from various quilts or other projects. I had a few other small scraps of fabric that I cut into 4 by 4 squares. The fabric color choice was to have a set of multi colored coasters to use while gaming; each person in our group has their own game colors they use everytime. The colors are typically red, yellow, orange, blue, green, purple, and black depending on the game. I didn’t have any black scraps ready so I used dark blue. My typical color is blue which is prevalent in every game, Kyle is always orange but will settle for yellow. The coasters will prevent our game pieces or cards from getting wet when we have drinks while we game! The owls are just cute extra fabric I wanted to use up.

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Next I needed some insulation. I used left over fabric batting. Remember – Never throw anything out! These were small and oddly shaped pieces that I was able to cut into 4 by 4 squares.

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Batting still doesn’t account for the condensation issue. I need plastic! I’ve made these before with painters plastic and I prefer to use that. However my stash was out and right now I’m not buying new supplies unless needed. Instead I can upcycle some plastic bags!

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I tried my rotary cutter first and it worked! Shown below are the bags cut into 4 by 4 inch squares.

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Time to make sandwiches! Put the two fabric squares right sides together. Then lay a plastic square, insulation square, then plastic square on top and pin.

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Next sew the square around leaving a gap along one edge for flipping. Then cut off the extra trimmings and thread.

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Next flip your squares so that the fabric is on the outside.

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Pin the mouth shut.

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Sew around the outside edge. (For a wedding present I made some for a friend and I added a 2-inch square seam and it really popped. I’ve also done some with a spiral square seam pattern and that also looks really good. I imagine you can do all sorts of seam patterns to add extra zest to the coasters and to make them lie flatter.)

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Finally a finished product! The coasters work on hot and cold beverages.

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Note: Since there is plastic inside, do not use these as mini oven mitts. They are machine washable, but I’d let them air dry.

More Babies!

I’m at the age where all of my friends are making BABIES!!!! I made another quilt and a second set of hats.

The design is unisex because it was still too early to know the sex, but I have too many project to wait. I’ve had these two color schemes sitting around for just the right project and I think it fits the couple’s style very well. I didn’t except to use the color schemes together but there is no clashing as each is on a different side of the quit.

To finish the quilts I used the tying method with matching colors on the plain pattern side.  I hid the stitches on the gold side that they wouldn’t clash.

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As always Blue was a good boy to model the hats. (He got a treat afterwards.) The first was orange/blue reverse and it was sent along with the quilt. I used the ‘S’ size so the baby will have to wait until next summer to use it. If he/she is anything like the parents the hat will be welcomed for sun protection.

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The second hat is below. I sent this to another friend whose child is under one just because I hadn’t sent her anything in a while. I love to do nice things for people unexpectantly.

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Please ignore my messy sewing room.

Reusable “Paper” Towels

Paper towels are wasteful. They’re made of paper, not entirely absorbent and you seem to always have them on your shopping list. In an effort to be more green I’ve made reusable “paper” towels from older towels that were past their prime. I’ve been using them in the kitchen for a week now and it makes me feel much better. The main concern from the boyfriend was that we could no longer use a paper towel to grease our cast iron pan and that the towels would leave lint. However, I’ve been using these towels to grease the pan and since they’re older they have virtually no fuzz to leave behind.

You may be thinking, what’s the difference between these and normal kitchen towels? Well these are on the counter and easy to grab just one, they are intended for messes and other things you would use a paper towel for instead of a kitchen towel, and they are smaller – intended to be used once.

Supplies:

  • two old towels
  • a few fabric squares or fabric left overs
  • typical sewing supplies

Step 1: Cut off the edges of the towel.

Step 2: Cut the towel into roughly 10-12 inch squares. They absolutely do not have to be uniform.

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Step 3: Using the scraps or fabric squares, cut 2-1/2 inch wide strips.

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Step 4: Iron the strips in half.

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Step 5: Fold in both edges of the strip so that you are folding each half in half, right sides out. Iron.

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You will need a lot of strips of fabric.

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Step 6: Sew the strips around the edge of the towels, folding corners when needed and adding new strips when you run out.

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Here is a nice pile of finished towels. I originally was going to attach snaps to each towel so that you can roll the towels onto a paper towel holder and pull off a single sheet as you need it. My super smart boyfriend pointed out that the snaps might scratch our pots. I was head strong and started to sew on a few snaps. I then realized how tedious snaps could be and how many I’d need to create a whole roll. So I then pretended like his concerns were valid so that I wouldn’t have to sew on snaps. To be fair, the snaps were metal and I’m sure would have messed up a few pans (if used on pans.)

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I then rolled up the towels and stuck them on our paper towel roll, the towels stay just fine.

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Another view of the roll.

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We pile the “paper” towels in the corner of the kitchen as we use them along with our hand towels and other kitchen fabric to be washed when we do laundry. The impact for using reusable towels is minimal on our lives. Having an easy to “tear off” paper towel substitute definitely makes the difference over using the typical kitchen towel for ease in the kitchen.

Bucket Hat

This pattern by oliver + s was wonderful and easy. I made two hats, one for my niece and one for my nephew all in about an hour and a half. Pinning takes the longest time. I picked up the fish fabric at a local quilt store and paired with fabric I already had for the reversible option. I used quilt squares in the set up shown below. Since these hats were made with an established pattern, I won’t be doing a DIY post this time.

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My dog Blue modeled the hats so that I could show the mothers what I made! I won’t see my niece for a few months, but hopefully the nephew likes his hat.

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Winnie the Poo Baby Quilt

My best friend from college is having a baby! As soon as I heard the news my next question was “What is the theme of the nursery?” and she answered with yellow, green, and Winnie the Poo. This quilt was made back in the fall and finally shipped in December. I started planning as soon as I could.

One of my favorite Winnie the Poo stories is the ‘Little Black Rain Cloud’ episode where Poo pretends to be a rain cloud in order to steal some honey from a tree.  The basic concept is a semi-pixelated tree with a cross stitch Winnie. The second image below shows the type of squares I will need. When picking out fabric I found the most wonderful Winnie the Poo print of the little black raincloud episode, the main colors were yellow and gray. Instead of having a brown tree I decided to match the fabric and found the right shade of gray.

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A few of the images below show how I made the triangular blocks.

  1. Place the two colors right side together and fold in half point to point.
  2. Iron to make a sewing guide.
  3. Sew just to one side of the crease.
  4. Cut about 1/4 from the seam on the opposite side of the crease.
  5. Iron flat.

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To make the other squares the process is similar; iron the fabric to create guides and sew to the opposite side of the crease. Then, cut off excess fabric and iron flat.

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A few different blocks are shown below. A lot more planning went into the squares than usual as I wanted all the Winnie the Poo fabric to lay the same way, upright in reference to the tree.

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After all the squares were made it was time to layout the design and see where I made mistakes! Once again, all the Winnie the Poo fabric was to lay upright. The main issue I found was that I didn’t cut enough solid blocks of green, gray and white. I missed about 3-7 blocks of each color. This is an easy fix as all I had to do was cut more.

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Here are some images of the quilt top laid out. I think these photos do a great job of illustrating the small size of my workroom.

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What is missing? Winnie the Poo!  I choose where I wanted Winnie to be placed which was over three vertical squares. The squares were sewn together which left me with the hard part, the cross stitch.

1. I found the image on the internet and printed it out. I then traced over all the solid lines on a separate paper.

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2. I traced over my original with a dark permanent marker so that the lines would be visible.

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3. In order to keep the cross-stitch bold and bright, I affixes a solid white piece of fabric behind the three verticle squares. This was to stiffen up the fabric and add a white background so that when cross stitching I had more meat to hold onto.

Now, how do I get this image onto fabric?

4. Initially I held the image behind the fabric and then tried to hold it up to the window to be able to trace. But I’m smarter than that. I have lights! The first image shows the headlamp on my leg so I could trace the image onto the fabric. The second image shows what I was able to see using this method. The light had to be moved around a few times. The third image shows the tracing complete.

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Then begins the arduous journey that is cross stitch.

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Back to the sewing! I always sew columns first. Here they are completed and laid out in order:

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Half way done and then complete!

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Almost done . . . . The front is laid on the batting which is laid on the back. I used the Winnie the Poo print on the back.  Since this was a baby quilt I used 3 layers of batting. Then pin it everywhere!

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Blue is helping me cut the binding. I decided to go with gray across the top and bottom since most of those blocks were green and green down the sides since the gray trunk ran down the middle of the quilt. It turned out to provide great contrast. Iron the binding!

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Always make sure to have wine in hand when pinning, it makes the process go smoother. Here, I’m having a Chardonnay as it was still quite warm outside.

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Me with the final product! I really like how it turned out. This is easily my best quilt to date and the one of which I’m most proud. The soon-to-be parents LOVED the quilt when it arrived and said “we might share it with the baby too.”

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Glasses Case DIY

I do actually need glasses, but not to function, just to keep the headaches at bay.  After getting new glasses I wanted a way to hold them at work when I needed to put my safety glasses on. This is a DIY fabric glasses case tutorial.

What is the number one rule of DIY? Never throw anything away. Here I use an old felt/fleece blanket as the inner layer and a fabric square to create the outer design.

1. Cut a 7 by 7 square from the fleece and fabric square.

2. Cut a 2inch by 5 inch (approx) section from the fabric square for a strap.

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Step 3. Sew the strap right sides together lengthwide.

Step 4. Sew the fabric square on three sides giving approx 1/4 inch seam.

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Step 5. Invert both the fabric square and the strap, iron flat.

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Step 6. Fold the free end inward by 1/2 inch and sew the the free edge giving approx 1/4 inch seam.  Start the seam about 1/4 inch from the edge, and end it the same way.

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Step 7. Fold the square so that the fleece is inwards. Fold inwards both ends of the strap so that the free edges to not show. Then place the strap on the upper end of the fabric square “hotdog” as shown below so the ends are at least 1/2 inch into the square. The upper end will be the sewn edge in step 6.

Step 8. Sew along the two free ends (two edge without a seam), sewing the strap into the square as you go.

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Step 9. Always use seam sealer when you are done!

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The finished product:

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Lessons learned: I would probably have used a rectangle about 7 inches by 8-1/2 inches because my glasses fit in this case, but there is no excess room at all. I would rather have my glasses have 1/2 inch or so of free fabric at the end for better protection.

I’ve attached this glasses case to my badge at work and have used it for the exact purpose describe above. When I get on the work site I need safety glasses on and normal glasses safe.