Monday, March 30, 2009

How To Replace a Backpack Zipper

This is my son's favorite backpack, so even though it is wearing out, I decided to replace the zipper. First, measure the length needed and buy one as close to it as possible. I used one I already had on hand. Sometimes you can find a heavy duty one at the store. On another backpack, I used two zippers and had them meet in the middle. Next, pick out all the stitches to remove the old zipper. Notice how the original one was positioned. You will want to put the new one in the same way. Just pin in the new one and stitch, using a zipper foot. This simple repair can save a lot of money!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

My Top 10 Favorite Magazines

My Favorite Magazines (in no particular order):

Real Simple-
ODE- For Intelligent Optimists-
Utne Reader- Best of the Independent Press-
Body & Soul-
Guideposts- True Stories of Hope & Inspiration-
Nutrition Action Health Letter- Center for Science in the Public Interest-
Sierra- Explore, Enjoy, and Protect the Planet-
Threads- For People Who Love To Sew-
Family Fun-
Sew News- Creating For You And Your Home-

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Binding- How To Bind a Quilt

My favorite binding method:

Cut bias strips (45 degrees diagonally across the fabric), 3" wide and as long as required. Seam as needed. Fold in half lengthwise (wrong sides together) and press. Place the binding on the back with raw edges even. Stitch. Flip around to the front and stitch close to the edge. At each corner simply make a small tuck and continue sewing around the quilt. This is a sample I use for classes. You can see the steps illustrated. The white side is the back and the print side is the front. I have a booklet "Flip Quilt, Table Runner, Coasters Instruction 309" in the pattern section of my shop at that provides more instructions.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

How To Make A Quilt-Step 3

Spread the backing fabric wrong side up, then the flannel on top. I start by laying the roll at one corner and unroll it to the opposite corner. Cut the strip. Iron the seams flat, then open. Pin the strip in place- right side up. Add a 3" wide strip (not pieced), right sides together, and sew through the 2 strips, backing and flannel. Press open. Continue until the whole surface is covered. To see a similar finished quilt, go to Next installment: binding.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Making a Quilt-step 2

After cutting 6" wide strips of varying lengths, lay them out in a pleasing order- stacking like values together.
I had 2 dark reds and 3 sand prints. Then I just start sewing them together with 3/8" seam allowance.
Sometimes I'll rearrange them to add interest. I aim for a visually pleasing quilt, not an exact repeating pattern. Roll the strip up and don't press it yet! Next time- sewing it all together!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Making A Quilt

About a year ago (or it seems like it!), I cut out the back and flannel. I like using flannel on the inside because I find it really easy to control and it is warm, but not too warm. Since then, I have been collecting other fabrics and now I think I am finally ready to get going. To see a finished quilt similar to the one I'm making now, check out I like this style of sewing because I don't use a pattern or have a plan! I gather the fabrics, cut them into 6" wide strips in varying lengths (to make it interesting). I'll update you on my next step soon!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Pants To Purse

I just added another instructional booklet to my online shop! It is 6 pages of photos and directions for designing and sewing your own bag from any pair of pants. Easy and fun, you will never look at pants the same way again!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

How to turn a sweater into a purse

I just added an instruction booklet "Sweater to Purse Instruction #109" to my shop at . It contains clear, easy directions to make your own purses from sweaters you felt (on purpose or by accident!). Do some spring cleaning in your closet and end up with great new bags! Coming soon: Pants to Purse Instruction Booklet.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Project Progress: knitting fabric strips

In a previous post, I had started knitting with fabric scraps left over from a skirt alteration. Well, here is what I ended up with.
A blue trivet sized knitted square. The brown trivet is from a tweed skirt and was quite a bit harder to knit with. Even the blue cotton guaze felt like I was fighting with it. What I learned from my experiment: use very lightweight material (a fine t-shirt knit perhaps) and it takes a lot of fabric strips to knit. So maybe 10 or more t-shirts would yeild 1 purse. That experiment is for another time!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

How To Repair Crocs

My daughter loves her Crocs, but the buttons holding the strap on keep falling off. Here is how I fix them quickly. Remove any remaining part of the original button. Buy a jeans button at a fabric store. They usually come in packs and might be on display with snaps and other notions nearby. Try to find a button the same diameter and shank size as the Croc one. I used a Dungaree Button, 5/8", no-sew, by Dritz. You simply hold the button in place and push the back on(looks like a thumb tack). Good as new!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Irish What?

Iwanted to make something for St. Patrick's Day, so I pulled out my green fabric and trims and just started playing around until I came up with this cute little creature. I couldn't think of a name. An Irish....what? He is a distant relative of the Leprechaun. Not as well known, but certainly as charming! Check them out at

Knit Skirt

I liked the colors so much that when I altered it (took in width and length), I wanted to do something with the scraps. I cut them into 1" strips and now I am knitting the strips. I'll let you know what happens next week.