Posts tagged ‘gifts’

Quick pot holders/hot pads how to

There are fancier, prettier pot holder patterns out there. But probably not any easier ones. These are made with material that makes them safe enough to use to pull something out of the oven, and heat-insulated enough to protect your countertops from hot pots and pans. You can crank several of these out in an hour, and they make great gifts. Plus, they are the perfect project to use up your fabric remnants.

Easy, practical

Items you will need: Sewing machine, fabric, insul-bright, quilt batting.

First, decide how large you want your potholders to be. It depends on what you want to use them for. I’ve made some that are about 5 inches square, with the intent to use them to protect countertops from hot plates. I have also made them 9 inches square to use to pull things out of the oven.

Cut your fabric, insul-bright (special fabric that is heat resistant), and quilt batting to the same size, between 5-10 inches square.

For each pot holder, you will need 2 squares of fabric, 1 square of insul-bright and 1 square of  batting. (I used warm and natural all cotton batting)

Put one of the fabric squares, right side down, in front of you. Layer one batting square on top, followed by one insul-bright square. Sew around all edges. When finished, lay second fabric square right side up, and place new layered square on top, fabric side down. Sew around all edges, leaving about 1.5 inches to turn the project right side out. Turn right side out, sew closed. Add additional quilting to the outside – either a second square around the perimeter, an X, lines – whatever your heart desires.

And you’re done!

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February 19, 2010 at 6:23 pm 5 comments

Softies gone wild

For those not acquainted, a softie is a homemade stuffed animal that can be made a variety of ways. Whether made with cotton fabric, felt, felting, knitting or crochet, they are adorable, quirky creatures that can be made in as little as a few hours. They also make perfect gifts for little kids or even grown up kids.

I’m not one to follow patterns much (or recipes), so most of mine have been inspired by others seen online or just dreamed up one day.

Several have been made so far, though I find felt to be one of the easiest materials to work with. After I made a few, my husband requested a penguin softie. He has something of a thing for penguins, and I couldn’t even begin to tell you the origin of this. As a result, he has numerous penguin stuffed animals, tshirts, a sweat shirt and artwork. These were so fun to make, and quick too.

For each, the technique was relatively the same. I first cut out two generic body shapes from felt. I freehand drew the shapes, keeping in mind that once sewn, the dimensions would shrink. This means you need to make the head much larger than you want the final version to appear.

Then, I cut out a contrasting color to use for the body. I sewed this on the top piece of body felt. From there, I cut out beaks and chose buttons for eyes, attaching these. On the black penguin, I also cut out a bowtie out of red felt and sewed on. Once you have completed the body as desired, face right sides together and sew all but about two inches on the bottom of the penguin. Use this space to flip the penguin body right side out. Stuff

A gift for Matt

with fiber fill, sew closed. For the black penguin, I sewed little yellow feet out of felt and stuffed them, and sewed them to the edge of the body. For the blue penguin, I cross-stitched feet and then sewed to the bottom. I also stitched a little scarf.

My favorite thing about softie projects is that anything goes. You can use a pattern, but don’t have to. And even better – it’s one of the cheapest crafts you can make.

Keep checking back for many more examples to come!

February 1, 2010 at 1:51 am Leave a comment

Quilting for lazy people

A recurring theme throughout all of my creative endeavors is ease and projects that can be completed in a weekend or less. For hobbies, I have a short attention span. I love to start something on a Saturday and have something to show for it by the end of a weekend. Naturally, this makes quilting a strange fit.

Enter strip quilting. Strip quilting is ideal for beginning quilters and people like me, who enjoy fabric collecting more than the actual sewing. It’s a great way to show off beautiful fabrics, and to have a beautiful blanket finished by Sunday night.

My first strip quilting project was a sweet blanket for my cousin’s 2nd birthday. It was so much fun wandering the aisles of JoAnn’s, picking out adorable pink, green, yellow and brown fabrics for an equally adorable little girl.

Finished quilt

The quilt was a hit

For this quilt, I used 1/2 yards of 12 different fabrics, and 1.5 yards of a large floral fabric for the backing. I first chose the apple and pear Alexander Henry fabric, and chose coordinating colors from it. The 1/2 yards of 12 fabrics were cut into 4 inch by 8 inch strips, sewn with a quarter inch seam allowance. The quilt is 7 lengths of fabric long (about 5o inches long after seam allowances) by 15 strips wide (about 54 inches after seam allowances). The backing is made up of the solid fabric flanked by two extra strips.

If, like me, you are not the world’s most precise cutter, you can stagger your seams. I did this by cutting the first piece of my finished strips (7 4X8 pieces of fabric sewn together) in half, on half of the strips I made. Then, I sewed the cut half onto the last piece in these strips. This way, all strips were still the same length but the seams are staggered throughout.

The great part about strip quilting is you can improvise based on how much you have of each fabric. It is fat quarter friendly, and you can make it any size.

I hand-tied this quilt with thin satin ribbon. All in all, it took about 1 hour of fabric cutting, 3 hours of sewing the front, 1 hour of sewing the back, and 2 hours to back, tie and finish.

More examples of strip quilting to come soon.

January 30, 2010 at 6:13 pm Leave a comment


About me

My name is Mallory Murray and I have a love of all things oldfashioned. I'm a modern day feminist who also adores Martha Stewart. Read on for my sewing, crochet, cooking, gardening, quilting and crafting projects. I am the chief officer of marketing and design at Northwest Missouri State University, so expect the occasional random post about marketing/universities/design. I dream of a hobby farm with baby doll sheep, a sheep dog, a small flock of chickens, and other animals to be announced. I'm also a Pitt State grad, football lover, HGTV addict and obsessed with the color aqua.

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