Archive of ‘tutorial’ category

DIY :: Make a Linen and Pom-Pom Infinity Scarf

I don’t want to boss you around or anything but you are gonna want to put down whatever you are doing and make a linen and pom-pom infinity scarf. Or, maybe make a dozen…just to be sure you are ready for the holidays.  Why linen and pom-poms? Because, dude, they are amazingly fun together!

I was inspired to pull together this scarf when I saw a friend of mine wearing something similar and I couldn’t stop staring at it (most of my friends are used to this odd habit by now).  I was smitten with my friend’s scarf and had to figure out how to create one for myself. The combination of neutral fabrics with the playful fun of pom-poms was just so perfect.  I really strive to wear what I sew and this scarf has that perfect quality of being super wearable basic without being a boring basic. I have already worn in a handful of times. It was also so easy to make that I knew I needed to pull together a quick tutorial.  I’m happy to show you how I did it!

I’m also really happy to get a chance to teach how to make them at Urban Sewciety in a few weeks.  So, local friends be sure to join the class so we can ogle over them together.


1 and 1/4 yard one color linen, pre-washed

1 and 1/4 yard different colored linen, pre-washed (or 2 1/4 yard of the same color if you prefer a single color)

4 and 1/2 yards of mini-sized pom-pom trim, such as this. Large-sized pom-poms will get too heavy and droopy so stitch with the minis.


2 pieces 18″ by 37″ of each color linen

Cut your 4  and 1/2 yard length of pom-pom trim in half.

(If you are making a single-colored scarf, simply cut 2 pieces 18″ by 74″ and skip step 1 in the Sewing section.)


  1. Take the two pieces of same colored linen and pin the short, 18″, ends together and sew with a 3/8″ seam allowance. This creates one long strip of fabric.  Repeat with other colored linen pieces. In my example, I used olive and black linen and I will refer to them that way to make these instructions easier to understand.

2. Press open seams. Pin pom-pom trim in place along the edge of the olive linen. Pin pom-poms facing inward.

3. Put your ZIPPER FOOT on your sewing machine. Sew the pom-poms in place, using the zipper foot will help you secure the pom-poms in place WITHOUT sewing over any of the pom-poms.  Those mini pom-poms are pesky, though, and make it too easy to accidentally stitch over. Just go slow and take your time!

4. Pin the black linen, right sides together, with the pom-pommed olive linen piece.

Note: Be sure to pin such that you will be able to see the stitch you created when you stitched the pom-pom trim.  This will greatly help you sew later on.

5. Sew along both long sides, still using the zipper foot, by sewing over the pom-pom stitch line, this ensure you don’t sew over any of your itty-bitty pom-poms.  DO NOT, however, sew the first 1/2″ and the last 1/2″ of the length, leave those un-sewn.

6. Pull the whole thing right sides out. You can press in place if you would like.

7. Along the short end, press back the black linen piece ( the linen without pom-poms) to get it out of your way.  Place, right sides together, the short end of the olive linen pieces with pom-pom trim.  You will want to use your standard sewing foot for this stitch so go ahead and remove your zipper foot. Pin in place and stitch, only though the olive linen, with a 3/8″ seam allowance.

8. Press the seam and tuck it inside of the scarf.  Press a fold toward the wrong side on the black linen, so it fully covers the seam opening.

9. Pin together, only pinning the black linen to itself to prepare it for a slip-stitch closure.

10. Prepare your hand-sewing needle and thread and fold the pinned black linen to be sure your olive linen side is out of the way.  Close up the opening with a basic ladder stitch (there is a good tutorial on the stitch here).

You are done!

Men’s Boxer Shorts [Free Pattern + Juxaposey llama Fabric]

Hi all! We are all back from our spring break, feeling fresh and revived.  It’s the perfect time for me to release my first free pattern. Eek! This whole thing started because I felt I was neglecting my husband, sewing-wise. Here is the deal, sewing for men can be difficult. It’s certainly harder than choosing what I want for myself or even my kids.  Plus, unless you are sewing for one of those Florida dudes in need of an endless supply of breezy, patterned shirts it’s also a little dull.  But…you know what isn’t dull? Boxer Shorts! Full of fun patterns and colors and easy to construct, men’s boxer shorts are basically the wild and crazy guy of a dude’s chest of drawers. So guys! Guess what? It’s time to bust out some awesome fabric and get cranking out boxer shorts!  I picked llamas and a fun print from Betz White’s new Juxtaposey line. In fact, Betz really is the inspiration for this whole project.  When she asked me to make something in her new line I knew it had to be boxer’s short for my dude. (more…)

Fabric Buckets as Easter Baskets

For Easter baskets this year I decided to make the boys reusable fabric buckets using my standby tutorial here. I love the idea that the buckets themselves are also a gift and a reusable one at that. We will still give them gobs of chocolate of course but the beautiful fabric bucket balances it out a bit, right?  It also might be true that I fell in love with this new fabric collection  from Maker Maker and was looking for a good excuse to make something out if it. Just maybe. (more…)

Sewing with Sweater Knit Fabric

When I first started sewing I was terrified to sew with fabrics other than basic quilting cotton.  But the truth is, sewing garments in woven cotton fabric is really limiting, especially since most of us wear knit fabric for day to day wear.  My love of sewing garments….really my whole mission to make my own clothing, increased triple-fold when I conquered my fears of sewing with a variety of textiles. As soon as you can sew rayons, jersey knits, sweater knits, silks and cotton lawn with confidence, you can make just about anything!   I realized yesterday while I was writing about the cardigan for my mom that sewing with sweater knit fabric is one of those substrates that can be intimidating.

But, it doesn’t have to be! In the spirit of encouraging others to stitch up a more adventurous wardrobe I decided to share my simple tricks for sewing with sweater knit fabric. Let’s make it easy and not at all intimidating, shall we? (more…)

DIY :: Quick and Easy PussyHat

DIY :: Quick and Easy Pussyhats (Using thrift store sweaters!) | Melissa Quaal from a happy stitch

This weekend I picked up about a half dozen pink tops and sweaters at the thrift store and turned them into 21 pussyhats.  I’m attending a local Women’s March on Saturday and wanted to wear the eponymous pink hat and knew several of my friends also would. I’m not much of a knitter but figured I could sew a quick and easy pussyhat with old sweaters. If you don’t know about pussyhats, they are the playful, pink “kitten-eared” hats marchers are wearing in the upcoming marches happening in D.C. and 200 other sister cities on Saturday, January 21st. You can read more about the idea behind the effort here. I know!  Saturday is tomorrow! But if you are dying to wear a pussyhat, there is still time!  These are so easy to make!  There is definitely still time! Here is my DIY for quick and easy pussyhats. (more…)

Paint-Dipped Plant Stool

Yellow Dipped Step Stool REscue Mission | a happy stitch project

It has been nearly a year since we moved, can you believe it?! Last year at this time, everything was chaos with boxes all over & I had a minor panic attack.  For real. Not saying that as an expression. I really thought buying a new house had been a huge mistake and nothing was ever going to be put away or organized and it just wasn’t worth it.  Someone casually mentioned that it takes a year to really settle into a house and my panic spiraled deeper. I need it all settled RIGHT NOW (like all of it settled immediately), NOT in a YEAR!  It seemed helpless to try at all.  I finally confessed my agitated mental state to a girlfriend and she suggested I make one area peaceful; she called it ‘making a sanctuary’.

The only spot I could find for this little patch of peace was the tiny landing at the turn of the stairs.  It’s so small it felt pathetic and sad and I thought it almost didn’t count.  I laid down a rug from my travels in India and filled it with plants.  Every time I passed through the landing I was reminded that one day the whole house might actually come together, too.  It worked. I could take a deep breath and calm down. Because of this, I have an odd amount of affection for our landing…just a tiny bit of real estate but boy do I love it.  The landing is a place I want to fill with plants and color and keep it my lovely sanctuary.  So, when my neighbors tossed out an old-beat up stool I snatched it up, repaired it, painted and polyurethaned it for the landing. (more…)

Ice Painted Tee Shirts

Tee Shirts for Boys _Ice Painted | a project by a happy stitch

A few weeks ago the boys and I tried out ice painting and made some really fantastic ice painted tee shirts.  At first glance, they look a bit like tie-dyed tees but they are so much more painter-ly (that a word?) when you look closer.  Awesomer, too.  Way awesomer.  Making t-shirts has become something of a summer tradition around here.  Last year we tried tie-dying and sun printing dyes and loved it. There seem to be these unplanned, looser, low-key moments in summer that allow for messy projects. It’s one of my favorite things about summer with the boys at this age.  I got the idea to try ice painting from a Sweet Paul Magazine video on Facebook, which I unfortunately can’t find anymore. Sorry.

The good news is that I took lots of pictures of what we did and remember it all so I can share our tee shirt making with you. (more…)

Kindergarten Chair Pockets Take 2

You know that thing that happens when the world finds out that you sew? You are flooded with requests to sew things.  Bless them, right? Everyone means well. Remember those kindergarten chair pockets I made for my son’s class last year? Well, you can probably guess where this is going…at least a little bit.  About halfway into this school year J’s first grade teacher approached me about sewing chair pockets for his classroom, just like the ones from last year (link includes my tutorial on how to make them, btw).  chair pockets perfect for kindergarten classrooms | a happy stitch

Much as I loved making chair pockets for his classroom last year, it is time-consuming, monotonous and costly (it takes A LOT of fabric).  Plus, it seemed inequitable to me.  If classrooms need chair pockets is it fair that the only classrooms who get them have my kid in them? Not really.  So, I suggested that the school identify how many classrooms need chair pockets and write a grant to cover the cost of store-bought chair pockets.  J’s teacher came back and suggested that the ones I make are sturdier than the mass-produced kind.  I was terribly flattered.   I agreed I could make them and quoted her a price per classroom (at 25 chair pockets per classroom) that paid for my time and supplies.  She submitted the grant and it was only after the grant was accepted that I found out that nearly the entire school needed chair pockets, 300 to be exact. Turns out every first grade and kindergarten classroom except for two needed chair pockets….one of those two classroom has special chairs and the other has the pockets I made last year.  Ha! I was totally overwhelmed.  (more…)

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