RSS Feed

Tag Archives: Sewing

Sew Red

Posted on

Sew RedI had the pleasure to review a brand new sewing and quilting book, Sew Red, that just hit shelves this month! It’s the 2nd in a 4 book Stitch Red series dedicated to raising awareness in the prevention of heart disease – the #1 killer of women in the US.

Thirty renowned designers are included in this beautiful book, including Ty Pennington, Amy Butler, Kaffe Fassett, Tula Pink and Suede, to name a few.  Each project consists of easy to follow instructions, information about the designer, as well as their own experience with heart disease and/or heart healthy tips.

Here is an excerpt from the Press Release:

Reno, Nev. (February 13, 2013) – Sew Red, authored by Laura Zander, owner of leading online fabric and yarn retailer Jimmy Beans Wool, and with a foreword by designer and veteran journalist Deborah Norville, is the first sewing and quilting book to put a stylish twist on raising public awareness about heart disease in women. The book, published by Sixth&Spring Books, was just released to coincide with American Heart Month.

Part of the nationwide Stitch Red campaign to fight heart disease in women, Sew Red (Sixth&Spring, 2013) is a follow-up to the highly acclaimed Knit Red (Sixth&Spring, 2012), and offers the same level of excitement and inspiration, with projects from such fabric design, sewing, and quilting luminaries as Ty Pennington, Amy Butler, Tula Pink, Brett Bara, Anna Maria Horner, and Kaffe Fassett. From couture dresses to wearable skirts and tops, from fashionable accessories and home decor items to fresh, modern takes on traditional quilting designs, the red, heart health–inspired collection of projects in Sew Red will delight sewers of all tastes.

I love this book!  After looking over all the wonderful projects in Sew Red, I had to sew something!  I chose to make the Sonoma Purse, on page 109.  This purse is made from just three fat quarters!  I have a huge stash of fabric, but none were complete fat quarters.  So using what I had on hand, my purse was made with four different, very colorful fabrics.

The instructions for this purse pattern was easy to follow.  I have made a lot of purses in the past but this was the first purse I made with pleats and a gusset!  Love the look!

(The projects in this book would make awesome Christmas gifts!  Get started now, you’ll be ready for Christmas before Fall! 😉  Or, if you don’t sew, Sew Red would make a great gift for someone else.)

purse and book

My HEART HAPPY purse! Very colorful!

pocket instructions

All the projects needing patterns are in a pocket in the back of the book.

Sew Red is not only a project inspiring book, it comes with heart healthy recipes too!  Fabric, Fun, Food and Facts for healthy living.  Gotta love that!


Key Fob Tutorial

Posted on

key fob rowsI’m sure you all have seen key fobs.  They are those cool wrist straps you attach your keys to.  Do you know how easy and inexpensive they are to make?

I will show you in just a sec…

I buy the webbing and key fob hardware from sellers on Etsy.  That is the only place I have ever seen supplies.  (Which is perfectly ok ‘cuz I love Etsy!)  The fabric used is simple cotton/quilter’s fabric.  You could use ribbon as well, but I prefer fabric.

FYI – they make fabulous Christmas gifts for teachers, school faculty and bus drivers.  You can use them as stocking stuffers, gift exchanges or even an attach one to a bow on top of a present.  (I have made the ones below to sell at a Christmas open house a friend is having.)

webbing cutting2

Cut the webbing 10 inches

10 inch strip

Cuts strips of cotton fabric 2 inches wide by 10 inches long

iron in half

Fold in half and press with an iron lightly to make a crease.

folding edges

Unfold and bring both side to the center crease. Iron flat.

stitch witch

Stitch Witchery

stitch witch 2

Tear or cut Stitch Witchery the length of webbing.

ironing fabric to strap

Place fabric strip (folded side down) on top of Stitch Witchery and iron.

sewing fabric

Sew a straight line down each side of the fabric about 1/8 inch in for the side of the fabric.  I used clear thread so I didn’t have to keep switching thread color.

fray check

Fold the key fob in half and sew the short end together. This doesn’t need to be all the way across, just enough to hold it together.
I use Fray Check on the ends of the webbing and the fabric and about 1/4 inch down the sides of the key fob. Not a necessary step, but it prevents the material from fraying.


Use pliers to pinch the key fob hardware shut. Make sure you wrap a towel or some sort of material around the pliers or around the end of the key fob to prevent scratches or dents.

key fob finished sample

The finished product.

key fobs circle

All of these, and then some, were made for around $25.00.  😀

DIY Table Runner Ideas

Posted on

I have been searching for a Fall DIY table runner to make.  There are oodles of great ideas out there.  I haven’t decided on what I’m going to make yet, but here are some of my favorites.  While all of these would be great for Fall, many could be used year round.

Being a girl who loves tools, my favorite is the ruler runner.  😉  What’s yours?

Pinned Image

via Country Living

Pinned Image

via Crochet Today

Lacy Table Runner

via Better Homes and Gardens

Pinned Image


via Just Sew Sassy

Pinned Image

via Carter and Cook Event Company Blog

french runner graphic

via The Shabby Creek Cottage

Pinned Image

via Indulgy

Pinned Image

via Pinterest (specific source unknown – please let me know if you find it)

via Diary of a Quilter

DIY Fabric Remnants Ideas

Posted on

Updated.  Originally Posted 6/2/2011

I am a fabric freak.  The fabric store is my favorite place to be!  Love it, love it.  It makes me happy!!  One birthday, my best friend went to every fabric store in our area looking for discontinued fabric or fabric books they were going to throw away.  She presented me with boxes and boxes full of material.  Oh my gosh!  I have a whole closet full of containers filled with fabric.  (Filled with possibilities!)

The pictures below are things I have made at one time or another. Most of these projects take very little fabric, a Fat Quarter or less.

So start sewing!  Remnant fabric pieces can be used for so many projects.  And these projects make fabulous gift ideas…  Purses, Key Fobs, Cell Phone/Gadget Holder, Tissue Holders, Doll Quilt Blanket, Crayon Roll-up, Valances, Runners, Place Mats, Fabric Coasters, Memo Board, Pillows, just to name a few.  The possibilities are endless.  It will keep me up at night just thinking about them! ha!  Hold on to your fabric.  You never know when a piece of fabric will inspire you to get creative!

I don’t sew with a pattern, I wing it as I go.  There are tons of free patterns on-line, though.  Sew on!

DIY Fabric Remnants Ideas

Hip Bag and KeyFob

DIY Fabric Remnants Ideas

Tote Purse

DIY Fabric Remnants Ideas

Cell Phone/Gadget Pouch

DIY Fabric Remnants Ideas


DIY Fabric Remnants Ideas

Patchwork Pillow

DIY Fabric Remnants Ideas

Doll Blanket and Pillow

DIY Fabric Remnants Ideas

Business Card/Mini Wallet

DIY Zippered Pillow Covers

Posted on

It’s amazing what a day can do!  I don’t know about you, but when the weather is grey, I feel blue.  Yesterday was one of those days.  But today…  Wow!  The sun was shining with temperatures in the low 70’s!  It was gorgeous!  And I actually got in my car and went places!  I stopped at Habitat Restore (sadly, found nothing today), popped in Lowes to pick up wood for my fireplace redo next week, and on my home I found a new thrift/antique/consignment store called Treasures Express.  WooHoo!!

Next on my plate was to finish another project I had left undone.  My BFF picked up some fabric for her home, but it didn’t work for her.  Lucky me!  I was with her when she bought it and I LOVED it, so I did not mind taking if off her hands.  It’s bright and happy!  I made pillows.

My sectional came with three big red pillows.  Not digging red at the moment.  They had to go.  I make a lot of pillows.  A couple of years ago, a friend and I had a pillow business, and to make our lives easier, we got plexiglass cut (from Lowes) to use as a template.  I used this square plexiglass to cut my fabric pieces.  It works fantastic!  Just use a fabric rotary cutter, using the edges of the plexiglass as a guide.

The advantage to using plexiglass as a template is you can see where the pattern is, knowing what the pillow will look like before you cut.

With right sides together, using 1/2 inch seam allowance, sew the bottom edge of the pillow using the longest stitch your machine allows. You can also baste by hand. Iron the seams open.

Laying the zipper face down on the back side of your material, center the zipper with the seam.

Pin the zipper in place.

Using a zipper foot, sew along both sides of the zipper. I used clear thread for the basting and on the zipper. This way, your stitch won’t show. It’s helpful when you have a multi colored fabric.  And  it’s easy to rip out.

When you get to the end of the zipper, keep the needle in your fabric, lift the foot and unzip the zipper a couple of inches. This will allow you to finish stitching to the end of the zipper without landing on the metal zipper.  (And hearing that horrible needle breaking sound! 😉

Turn your fabric over and use your seam ripper to rip out the baste stitch.

Keep the zipper open a few inches before stitching the other 3 sides. Otherwise you won’t be able to unzip the pillow to turn it right side out!  Use 1/2 in seam allowance again.

Snip the corners before turning right side out.

Ta-Da! Finished! Two more to go. I normally to an envelope back for pillows, but trust me, the zipper was sooo easy!

All three finished! Aren’t they happy pillows? 🙂

Curtains Made Easy

Posted on

Sewing was my first “hobby”.  I started sewing when I was pregnant with my daughter.  I couldn’t find a bumper pad and crib skirt I liked, so I made them.  Did I know what I was doing?  Not exactly.  But I just went for it.  What’s the worst that could have happened?

Drapes are the one thing that can really add warmth and style to a room.  If you have ever shopped for them, you will know that the patterns and fabric are not great, prices are expensive and most of the time you can only find 84 inch curtains.  (That makes me crazy!  All my window need 96 inch curtains.)  What’s a girl to do?  DIY!!!!!!!

It’s easy.   And fabric shopping is fun.  A great fabric store is the happiest place on Earth, beside Lowes and Home Depot!  The fabric I used in the pictures below was only $5.00 a yard.  It was reduced because of a printing flaw, but you would never find it.  (It was bought at my favorite fabric store, Tony’s Fabrics.)  With that price, it cost $15.00 per panel!  Woohoo! 

All that is required to make drapes or curtains the “Laurie way” is a sewing machine, being able to sew a straight line, (so no drinking while sewing!) a ruler and an iron and ironing board.  I don’t do rules, by the way.  You will probably hear me say that a lot.  That means there are no patterns used.  They are not lined because these curtains are decorative, the fabric is heavy and it’s white on the back side.  If you were going to close the curtains, they would need lining to protect the fabric from the sun.  That’s for another day.

These drapes are for my BFF’s dining room. The fabric is gorgeous! And happy.


It’s always good to know which side is up.  That applies to more than just fabric.  Ha!  I didn’t cut the salvage off the edge.  I used it as a guide for the first part of the side hem.  It’s about an inch in case your fabric doesn’t have this type of salvage on the side.   Then iron it.  This is the most important part.  You’ll be ironing more than you will be sewing.

The side hem is folded over again, then ironed.  It’s time-consuming, but it makes the seam flat and easier to sew.  Then sew your straight line close to the edge of the seam.

Do the next side of the fabric the same way.  I attached a safety-pin to the top of the fabric so I would know which end was up.

The top hem is folded over twice, just like the sides.  This time though, turn over the first fold 2 1/2 inches, then fold over again 3 inches.

3 inch hem top hem. 

My sewing machine does not have guides for a 3 inch hem so I measured from the needle where I wanted the stitch to be than used blue tape as my edge guide.

In case I haven’t said it before… Ironing is very IMPORTANT.  But it’s boring.  My daughter caught me with a phone to my ear, multi-tasking.  That’s what mom’s do. ; )

The bottom hem was done the same way as the top hem, except I sat on the floor with the curtains hanging and pinned the seam to the right length.  I ironed them while they were still hanging to make sure they were exactly the length I wanted.  Then I took them off the rod and sewed the bottom seam.

Here’s another example of easy to make curtains.  These curtains are in my house. These were super easy to make. I bought a set of white curtains from Ikeas and added “designer” fabric to the top. 


Bonus Room Redo

Posted on

My BFF has seen me redo room after room after room.  I know she has silently thought I was (I am) a bit crazy.  She has patiently indulged me when I ask her to come over to rearrange furniture or re-accessorize my walls.  But now we are redoing her house.  And NOW she is seeing and experiencing for herself how easy it is to change things up, and how good it feel to redo something yourself and see the end result look amazing.  In short, she is a redo fanatic.  She’s just like me! ha!  Her dining room is next!

The room went from a light tan to a happy blue/gray.  The wall color we used is called Ocean City Blue #718 by Benjamin Moore.  It’s lovely!

Ocean City Blue by Benjamin Moore

The BEFORE. Sad Couch. Unhappy Cushions. Plain Walls.

Boring walls.

Here’s the room AFTER! Happy couch and cushions!  Beautiful walls!  I recovered the back cushions and pillows in the groovy fabric BFF picked out. It changed the look of the couch! The curtains are from Ikea. I added a panel of fabric on the side to give it a “custom” look.  BFF recovered her kid’s desk chairs in a coordinating strip fabric.

The leftover fabric was added to the curtains.

I ripped out the seam on the side of the curtain to add a narrow panel of fabric.  The fabric is 45 inches wide.  I cut 20 inch wide panels to add to the side of the curtain.  I needed to added a couple of back tabs to match the tabs that were already on the Ikea curtains.  Another way to add a “custom” look to ready-made curtains is to add fabric to the top 1/3 or the bottom 1/3 of the curtain.

Oh Brother!

Posted on

Happy Friday y’all!  It’s been a busy week.  I haven’t done much in my own house, but I’ve been busy!

clipped images,construction,cropped images,cropped pictures,hardhats,helmets,icons,PNG,protective gears,safety,safety gear,text,transparent background,under construction,warningsMy brother has been here visiting for week so far.  What does that mean?  Well… what it DOESN’T mean is taking it easy and relaxing.  It doesn’t mean showing him around town. (He’s been here plenty of times already.)  And it certainly doesn’t mean sleeping in or not having a schedule. 

With my brother here, it means fixed screened porches, patched holes in the ceiling and adjusted doors.  For my BFF it means removing a sink and toilet and tilling her bathroom floor, fixing her front porch and laying down slate tile.  It means fixing floors and cracked walls and repairing drywall.  For my friend/neighbor it means replacing broken windows, repairing under the counter lights, fixing a door that won’t shut and hanging a chandelier.  Did I mention he can build a house?  And oh yeah, he can’t sit still?  For me, it means I’m exhausted trying to keep up!    But its been fun!

My BFF has big plans for her house and I’m excited to help her with them.  My brother has made all those projects less daunting and easier on her.  Together we have ripped down wallpaper and painted her powder bathroom in between the tiling process.  Her bonus/playroom has been caulked and patched up by my Bro and I am working on recovering couch cushions and sewing curtains.  Painting that room will be next. 

It’s been great having my brother here.  I would like him to just move here and make my redecorating/DIY life easier.  Ha!  My BFF and I have joked that we should go into business together.  He could repair and fix rooms/houses and us girls can paint, sew, do whatever to make them pretty.  We could call the company “Two chicks and a Bro”, or “A Bro, a Sis, and a BFF”, Two Cuties and him”…, I could go on and on!  : )    

I do have pictures, but I will post them when all the projects are done.  They look awesome, thanks to my favorite (and only) brother!

Scrap Fabric Map

Posted on

Being a sewer, I have oodles and oodles of fabric scraps.  I don’t have the heart to throw them out.  But I have a BTDT (Been There Done That) disorder and I’m always looking for something new to try.  (One friend said I have A.D.D., but that’s just mean!  ha!)  I’ve made pillows and bedding, drapes and valances, purses, keyfobs, doll clothes… the list goes on.  So I went on a mission to find something else to do with all the fabric I have.

Ta Da!!!!  I’m so excited about this project.  I found it accidentally on Pinterest (of course).  I wasn’t even looking for it, but there it was.  I was going to look for more fabric projects, and probably will later, but I think this is so cool and clever I had to share it with you now.

See Kate Sew is a lovely blog I just stumbled upon.  Here is her blog site and the project I LOVE!

Pinned Image

Scroll to Top

Handmade Christmas Gift #2 – Crochet Pillow

Posted on

I have been crocheting for years, mostly making afghan and scarfs.  But now I’m completely addicted to making crochet flowers!  If you are new to crochet, it is an easy thing to learn.  There are many books and websites are out there with very simple instruction on how to do the basic stitches.  Once you learn a few stitches, you can make just about anything.  And you’ll get hooked! (yes, pun intended!) Ha!

The pillow I made was easy.  All I used was three crochet flowers, some buttons and scrap material.  I tried to sew the flowers on the pillow with my sewing machine, but I didn’t like the look of the stitches showing.  So I hand sewed them on.  Buttons were used for the flower center.  The petals were cut with a wavy rotary cutter free hand (no pattern).  I did sew the bottom of the flowers to the pillow and used a dab of fabric glue on the tip of the leaf.  (Prevents your leaves from flapping around.)  The pillow has an envelope back.

Big flower pattern from
Small flower pattern from

Fold the leaf in half and sew half way up from the bottom close to the fold

Envelope pillow back… no need for zippers!

Wavy blade rotary cutter

Easy to make Bedskirt

Posted on


Today I made a bedskirt for my daughter’s bed.  And I cheated a bit.  Because I always redo rooms, I have learned to do things more simply, requiring less time.  It still looks awesome and no one knows I took a short cut.  Well, until now anyway! ha!

My daughter’s bed sits on the floor.  Not my choice, but she thinks it looks cool.  To make the bedskirt to cover the box spring, I measured the height and added about 3 inches.  For my daughter’s bed, I cut four 11 inch pieces from the material.  I sewed the together in a long strip and hemmed 1 inch.

Then… DUCT TAPE!  Yes, I duct taped it to the top of the boxspring.  Just gather the material slightly if you want a ruffled look and tape it down.  I do this all the time.  (Of course if I’m making one for a friend or customer, I will do it the “professional” way.)  But for us always changing our mind girls, Duct Tape is the answer.

Fun fabric my daughter and I picked out for her room

Iron 1 inch seam and sew hem

Stitch Witchery will work if you don’t have a sewing machine

Slightly gather fabric and duct tape to box spring

Add an extra single strip of tape to each side of the bed added security

Finished bedskirt. My daughter thinks it’s cool and groovy!


Pottery Barn Pillows

Posted on

I love Pottery Barn!  But I don’t always love the prices.  I was browsing around the store recently and saw these beautiful napkins.  They were $6.50 each.  Kinda pricey to wipe your hands on (if you ask me), but cheapo for pillows.  Inspiration hit!  I have been looking for pillows for my sofa but not diggin anything I’ve seen.  I picked up four napkins, costing under $30.00.  I had plenty of fabric at home to use for the backs, so there was no additional cost.

To make the pillows, first iron the napkins.  Determine the size pillow cover you want and cut the fabric accordingly, adding 1/2 inch seam allowance all the way around.  (I made two 20 inch and two 18 inch pillows.)  For the envelope style back, cut two pieces of coordinating fabric 1/2 the length of the pillow plus 6 inches.  Fold the seam of both back pieces 1 1/2 inches and iron then fold again two inches, iron and sew the edge of the seam.  With right sides together, sew 1/2 inch seam on all four sides, turn right side out and iron.  Voila!

Potter Barn napkins $6.50 each

I made two 20 inch pillows and two 18 inch pillows

Depending on size of your pillow, cut the seam off…

or rip seam out for more material

1 1/2 inch seam, then fold over two inches and sew the edge of the seam

Envelope back

Window Treatment Ideas

Posted on


Have you ever model home hopped?  Just walked in and take a look around?  I love it!  It’s a great place to get design ideas.  When I first started looking at model homes, I use to tell the sales person I was house hunting.  But now, instead of leading them to believe they have a live one, I’m honest and tell them I’m just looking for decorating ideas.  I’m left alone to browse and they aren’t trying to make a sale.  A win-win, for me anyways. ; )

I have a thing for window treatments.  I adore them!  I’m always looking for something new to sew.  Most of the window treatments are pretty easy to duplicate even if you don’t have a sewing machine.  (Stitch Witch is a wonderful thing!)  Valances in particular are quite easy to make, especially the ones attached to a board.

So go ahead, check out model homes.  It’s fun and inspiring with oodles of ideas.


Handmade Drapes… Almost!

Posted on

Drapes and curtains can be hard to find… especially if you are looking for a length longer than 84 inches.  The limited styles, textures and patterns offered out there leaves much to be desired.  But making your own drapes can be very pricy as well.  The cost and yardage it takes to make a single drape can make your head spin, then multiply that by 2, 4 or more panels, well you just better sit down!

So, here’s my “almost” handmade way to get custom, original looking drapes.  I found fabric at my favorite fabric shop that I loved.  It’s a discount fabric store… even better!!  (I repainted the whole kitchen and sunroom based on the colors in the fabric.)  Though the fabric was priced well, making drapes floor to ceiling in that pattern would have been too much (in looks and in cost).  IKEA baby!  I purchased white panels that come in a package of TWO for $19.99. (That’s unheard of!).  I cut the top of the white panels to remove the tabs and added my lovely material to the top third of the drape.  If you use your favorite fabric on the bottom of your drape, the tabs of the IKEA curtains are already there… even easier.  In my case, I needed to sew an open-ended seam at the top to slide it on the curtain rod. You can also use curtain rings with clips to hang your drapes as well.  Voila!

Fabric Remnants Ideas

Posted on


I am a fabric freak.  The fabric store is right up there with Lowes for me!  Love it, love it.  It makes me happy!!  One birthday, my best friend went to every fabric store in our area looking for discontinued fabric or fabric books they were going to throw away.  She presented me with boxes and boxes full of material.  Oh my gosh!  I have a whole closet full of containers filled with fabric.  (Filled with possibilities!)

So start sewing!  Remnant fabric pieces can be used for so many projects.  And these projects make fabulous gift ideas…  Purses, Key Fobs, Cell Phone/Gadget Holder, Tissue Holders, Doll Quilt Blanket, Crayon Roll-up, Valances, Runners, Place Mats, Fabric Coasters, Memo Board, Pillows, just to name a few.  The possibilities are endless.  It will keep me up at night just thinking about them! ha!  So hold on to your fabric.  You never know when a fabric idea will inspire you to get creative!


My Inspiration

Posted on

I am often asked how I got so “creative” or “talented” or how did I know how to do something.  My parents in particular just shake their heads at the things I do or create.  But the funny things is, I get it from them.

Growing up, my Mom was always painting or wall papering or rearranging rooms.  And she was good at it!  We never knew what the house would look like when we came home from school.  She could have our bedroom (I have a twin) painted, wallpapered and looking like a show piece WHILE we were at school.  In a day!  Anytime she would clean our room, all our stuff would be displayed just perfectly.  It was a happy and loving feeling seeing our room done by Mom.  And now my husband gets the joy of never knowing where he will sit when he comes home from work.  Or what color the walls would be.  (Sorry dear… as you can see, it’s Mom’s fault I’m like this! ha!)

My dad could build anything.  He built us a playhouse when we were little that had windows that actually opened and closed!  It was a life-size dollhouse!  He built furniture we had in our room.  He had every tool you could need to get something done.  He could fix anything and wasn’t afraid to try if he hadn’t done it before.  He just knew everything.  (And still does)  Drawing was another talent of his.  I remember him drawing a picture of our church for the front cover of the church bulletin.  He helped with every school project that required creativity and tools.  And now my garage looks like a workshop because I love tools!

My Grandma P. was very talented at sewing.  When she passed away, I received her sewing machine and that’s when my sewing began.  What she didn’t teach me I bought books and learned myself.  My grandma F. taught me to crochet.  We all had afghans made by her and every new member of the family was sure to get one.  She passed while I was pregnant with my daughter, so I inherited her yarn and needles and made her one myself.

I have an awesome group of very talented and creative friend who enjoy the same things I do.  And I have a very loving and supportive husband that cheers me on and enables me to do what I want with the house and garage!  As long as I’m not taking down walls, he’s with me all the way. : )

So my inspiration comes from my family and friends.  They instilled the desire to be creative and try new things.  They shouldn’t look at me in awe when I do something.  They should look at me and see themselves.

%d bloggers like this: