Archive of ‘tutorial’ category

10 Inventive Ways to use Zakka-Inspired Gift Bags {tutorial + giveaway}

Today I’m over at Skip to My Lou as part of the Bake Craft Sew & Crochet Along. I am sharing a wonderful zakka-inspired gift bag perfect for holiday gift giving. sewing giveawayIn fact, you won’t want to miss all the handmade gift ideas! I have joined over 100 bloggers to share some amazing homemade gift ideas…….and I get to be part of an amazing sewing giveaway too. More on the giveaway below.

Be sure to check it out. I was inspired to make these humble gift bags by a desire to give teachers money at the holidays. I always want to give teachers money (or gift cards) because they spend so much of their own on classroom supplies but it can feel odd and uncomfortable.  A sweet little gift bag adds just the right amount of handmade to the whole exchange.  It’s also a great way to give money to anyone in an extra special way…your broke Uncle or ramen-eating sister, anyone really! It is my favorite way to take the awkwardness out a gift of cold hard cash.

How-To Make Zakka Inspired Gift Bags

I find little gift bags so handy that I pulled together ten other inventive ways to use them:


Pattern Sale and Free Tutorials

This is your holiday season!  You are going to rock the handmade this year, I’m sure of it.  It is time to bust out the thread and pre-wash that fabric, it is your hour!  I love the way that handmade gifts make the holiday season so much more amazing; about gratitude and the giving of time above all else.  To jumpstart things and spread the sweet hand-making mojo I’m offering my first ever pattern sale and linking up with some of my favorite gift-giving free tutorials. A Happy Stitch Pattern SaleFirst, the pattern sale.  A whopping 30% off every pattern in my Etsy shop.  All my patterns make items that are great gifts or stocking stuffers and they are filled with pictures and clear instructions.Use the pattern code MAKEME in the coupon code box from now until December 24th.  I’m here for you!  Plus, at 30% off that means some will come to just a bit over $2!

A Happy Stitch Free Patterns

Now, let’s make some stuff for free! Clockwise from the left-hand side: A sturdy, industrial-style apron,  pint-sized bow tie for awesome holiday photos; stitch up some fun pillows or mini-quilts with this half-square triangle tute; exchange duck cloth or canvas for the oilcloth in my perfect pool bag; and tuck treasures into an awesome zipper pouch.

I hope this helps to motive the beginning of a handmade holiday frenzy! Be sure and share what you make with me!

How To :: Make an Easy Workout Headband

Oh, this blog is sooo on an August schedule these days! I’m writing blog posts in my head all the time but, so far, I haven’t figured out how to convince little elves to turn all of that internal chatter into an actual conversation here. Boo.

How To- Make an Easy Workout Headband

That must mean it’s time for a kick in the butt.  For this reason, I’m going to teach you how to make the easiest ever workout headband.

As you may have gleaned, I am a runner.  Nothing serious, no super long distances; I’m not keeping track of my personal best time or working toward anything at all, really.  I run a steady ten minute mile and I try to run three or four times a week even if sometimes I only run a mile.  It clears my head and it keeps my happy.  When I am out running it’s my time, just for me, and I think better when I run so I often solve family or work problems.  Maybe this blasé attitude officially makes me a ‘jogger’, who knows? I don’t care.

Anyway, I had been running with the same stank-y headbands when I decided I needed an upgrade.  But, workout headbands can get weirdly pricy.  I saw one for $15! Say what?!  And, the cheap ones sometimes fall off.  So, I grabbed some excess jersey knit and devised this easy headband-making method.


Tutorial :: Make The Perfect Pool Bag {and a giveaway}

Great Tutorial | How to make the Perfect Pool Bag {and a giveaway}

If I were a good blogger I would be talking about Back To School. But, really? Back to School already?  It makes me want to plug my fingers in my ears, close my eyes and hum loudly.  We are just getting to the dog days of summer! Growing up, the month of August felt like a humongous and vast stretch of hot, muggy weather best spent wet and outside with a popsicle dripping down my chin.  I liked it like that.  I want an August like that.

Great Tutorial | How to make the Perfect Pool Bag {and a giveaway}

So, I’m officially resisting the Back to School mindset and to hammer home my point I’m showing you how to make the perfect pool bag.  Perfect because there is space for your towel and smiwsuit as well as enough pockets to store your phone, snacks, flip flops, water bottle and your summer reads, even a place to stash the kid’s wet stuff.  (more…)

Bow Tie Guest Post :: The Outtakes

Super Cute Kids' Bow Tie tutorial with a velcro closure | by  A Happy Stitch for Sew Mama Sew I’m so excited to be sharing a bow tie tutorial for Father’s Day over at Sew Mama Sew today.  The photoshoot for this one was SO MUCH CRAZY FUN!  I just had to share more of the pictures with all of you.  So, go read through the tutorial and then come back and enjoy these amazing cuties!! Bow Tie Tutorial pHoto OuttakesHow lucky am I to have friends who say “We’ll be there” when I ask them to bring their kids and show up by the side of a building in a dress shirt?  Yes, very lucky! Thanks so much for the help everyone!! Bow Tie Tutorial Photo outtakes Super cute Bow Tie Photo Outtakes Super cute Bow Tie Tutorial Photo Outtakes And, you are welcome.  Now try not to smile ALL. DAY. LONG. (takes a bow).

Mother’s Day Slippers :: Guest Post on Sew Mama Sew

Mother's Day Slipper


I’m so excited to have my eco-friendly, upcycled slipper tutorial up on the Sew Mama Sew blog today.  I tried to make an easy, accessible slipper that you can custom make in any size, so they work well for Mother’s Day but also for Father’s Day or just Any-Old-Regular-Day.  Go check it  out!

Here is the little secret about them: I originally made these as sewing slippers.  See, I always sew without my shoes on so I have the best control of the machine but my little feets and toes get cold.  Last year, my sister bought me a pair of beautiful wool slippers but after only five months I had already worn a hole in them! So, I developed a pattern I could use to make a new pair again and again.  By using an old wool sweater I don’t have to feel guilty and wasteful.

So…pretty glamourous life, huh?  Wearing holes in slippers.  Please don’t hold it against me.

Easy Adjustable Apron with a lovely Twill Tape tie

This post originally appeared on Crafterhours but I thought I would bring it home as well…easy adjustable apron with twill tape tie

I was in need, recently, of an apron I could spill on, wipe my hands on and wash like a beast without worrying it would fall apart.  So I grabbed some heavy duty fabric, twill tape and made myself an easy apron pattern.

I use twill tape for lots of things but I am fond of using it to make apron strings because it’s pretty in that hip, industrial-kitchen way.  The twill tape in the project is from The Twill Tape Guy and I was so excited because they offer 100% cotton colored twill tape.  It’s hard to find good cotton twill tape, period.  I’ve ended up with flimsy, cheap-o, plastic-y stuff so many times and it doesn’t tie well or wash well. Argh!  To find the good stuff in amazing colors is like hitting the jackpot.  I used their seafoam green.  Ooh-la-la.

Here is how to sew an easy & adjustable apron for yourself.

Gather the following supplies:
+ one yard of sturdy cotton fabric such as canvas
+ 3.5 yards of 3/4″ thick twill tape
+ one spool of thread matching your fabric
+ pattern making supplies: long piece of paper, pencil, a long ruler or yard stick.
+ standard sewing supplies: a sewing machine, sewing shears,  and measuring tape.

First, we’ll make a pattern.  This is a simple pattern so don’t be intimidated if you’ve never made a pattern before.  It’s simple and you can do it!

1. Take your big piece of paper and your ruler.  Begin by drawing a rectangle that is 32″ long by 12″ wide.  Along one of the 32″ lines write FOLD LINE.  This is what we will refer to as the bottom of your pattern.

Apron Pattern Step 1

2. Move to the line on the left side of the rectangle.  Mark a point 14″ from there along the bottom (your fold line) of the pattern and draw a vertical line out from that mark dissecting your rectangle. This line designates your hip line. Look at you rocking the pattern-making!

Apron Pattern Hip Line

3. Move back to the left-hand side of your rectangle and mark a point 6 1/4″ along the vertical line.  Use that mark to draw a straight line parallel to your bottom line (the fold line). This is your neck line.  It should look like this:

Apron Pattern Neck Line Step 3

4. Our final pattern making step is a little more creative.  At the left-hand side of your pattern make a mark an inch or two down the line you have just drawn and connect from that mark, drawing a sloping curve to the just an inch away from the top of the rectangle to the hip line.  To state it more simply: draw a sloping curve from point A to point B as seen in the drawing below. Just free-hand draw it…a little slope connecting your neck line to your hip line.

Apron Pattern Connecting Neck to Hip

5. Wahoo! All the drawing is done and your pattern is drawn.  Next you will be cutting out your piece of paper along the hem, neck, slope and side lines as illustrated in this image. Cut on all the visible lines you see below and ignore any extra lines on your paper.

Apron Pattern Final 2

It’s time to cut your fabric! Prepare your fabric by folding it in half such that the selvedges meet.  Place the fold line of your pattern on the folded edge of your fabric and cut.

Making the Apron:

1. Begin by opening up and unfolding your fabric.  It should have the standard apron shape we know and love.  We will start with hemming the neck and bottom hem of the apron.  Fold them both over by 1/2″ and then another 1/2″ and stitch those lines.

2. Repeat the same style of hem with both sides of the apron from the hip line to the bottom hem.  Fold over half an inch and the another half inch and stitch.

3. Creating a casing for the twill tape by folding the sloping curve area over one half an inch and then another one inch.  Folding the curve can be a little tricky so be sure to press after each fold and pin the final fold in place.

Adjustable apron pressing curve

4. Stitch along the edge of the double fold creating a curved tube. Repeat on the other side of the apron.  This will create two sloping casings that will be used to work the twill tape through to create the neck and side ties.

5. Attach a safety pin to one end of your 3.5 yards of twill tape.  Insert the safety pin into fabric beginning at the bottom (the hip area) of the casing of one of your curves.  Feeling as you go, use your fingers to wind the safety pin throughout the whole casing to the neck.

Apron pattern, inserting the twill tape

 6. Once you reach the end of that casing, insert the safety pin into the neck casing on the other side of the apron.

Apron Pattern adding twill tape7.  Wind the twill tape all the way through the final casing and out at the hip area.  Now you should be able to loop this sucker around your neck and tie it across your hips!  It’s an apron!

If you want to finish the ends of the twill tape to keep them from unraveling in the wash you can do one of two things.  First, you can simply tie the ends of the twill tape in a strong knot.  Or you can fold the ends over twice and stitch them closed.

Viola! Done. You even have your own pattern so you could make a dozen aprons!  Unless, of course, you feel compelled to cook with abandon.  In fact, you should probably make some Rice Crispy treats soon. After all your hard work, you deserve it.

apron pattern final product

p.s. If you NEED pockets on your apron, you could easily add some pockets or other detail to make the apron the workhorse of all aprons.  It’s so easy and versatile.

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