Tag Archives: scraps

Twelve Posts of Christmas– Easy Wreaths

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Who doesn’t like free? This easy wreath project is something that you can do in one hour (okay, maybe two hours) from start to finish, and you don’t have to buy anything.*There is no pattern. Just use what you have on-hand, from old t-shirts, to holey socks, to scrap fabric remnants. I chose reds and greens in varying shades because I thought I had enough of them. If you try this project, I would love to see what you come up with. I encourage you not to run out and buy fabric for this, though. Being creative with what you have and making it Christmas-y will be half the fun.

What you need: one wire hanger, and a pile of fabric. Odd and bits are fine. 20131207-133314.jpg
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Your pile of fabric will become strips There is no formula, really. I cut strips about an inch wide and any where from 4-6 inches long. Some of my pieces were a little longer or shorter because that was the fabric I had and I wanted to use it all up. I also learned that the thicker the fabric the thinner the strip. It was no problem. I just ended up cutting some strips in half to make knotting them a little easier. 20131207-141129.jpg

Stretch your hanger until it becomes a circle. It does not need to be perfect, just round. 20131207-134116.jpg

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For this wreath, I left the hook on, however you could snip the two sides beneath the hook and entwine the wire ends together. I left it on to use as its own hanging implement. You’ll see.

And now, take your strips and start tying knots.

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Yes, this step is a bit tedious. The good thing is that you really can’t screw up. I didn’t have enough scraps so I had to go back and cut more, but those were easily blended into the wreath because you can push your knots aside and insert new knots.

When you are done, I think you’ll be impressed with you own project. I embellished with a wire ribbon bow, but if I were a little less lazy, I would have raided my stash of ornaments.

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To hang, simply twist the hook 90 degrees to the back, and you can hang this over the door. If that doesn’t work for you, you can leave the hook as it was and bend it down into a loop. Use your glue of choice to cover the loop with fabric so it doesn’t look so much like a hanger. Now you can hang this from those over the door hooks or from a ribbon. You can also just snip the hook off, just remember where it is because that will be a sharp piece of wire. The fabric should hide the snipped wire. You can hang with a nice piece of ribbon through the wreath.

To see another cute idea using a wire hanger, click on this link.

As always, feel free to share this project. You know, post on Pinterest, Facebook, etc. Just click on links below or copy and paste this page.

*I am assuming you have or can easily acquire a wire hanger.

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For many years, my go-to baby gift was a set of totally over-priced (but thoroughly adorable) baby socks and a crinkly, rattle-type thing. Recently, though, I wanted to make more personal gifts. And I was on this scrap fabric kick so I wanted a project that I could make with scraps. I bought plain baby onesies double-sided fusing to make cute designs.
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See, totally cute, right?! Except…the onesies seemed kind of a short-lived gift, especially when baby goo squirted out the back of a diaper–the sad fate of the chubby penguins above. I always had making a baby mobile at the back of my mind, but the project seemed too ambitious. However, a few weeks ago, my very special friends announced they were pregnant. (Aside: all my friends are special, but these friends got pregnant at the right time…when I had already experimented with the fusible webbing for a while–and after the baby goo incident.)

So, I committed to making a mobile for their baby. I had plenty of time…more than seven months, so I could take my time. I searched the Internet, craft, and hardware stores for the right piece. Specifically, I was looking for a four-way connector to cross two sticks or wires. I didn’t want to purchase the whole thing, I wanted to salvage materials from home or nature and use scraps to make the decorative pieces. Unfortunately, nothing existed for mere craft mortals. I have no idea if there is some secret resource out there for all things connectors, but I did not come across it. For a crazy second, I considered buying a kit and just using what pieces I needed. But that was wasteful and all I really needed was the thing on which to hang all my craftiness.

I abandoned the idea of ever finding a connector piece, or even for making a cross–at least for this mobile. My next choice was going with a circle. Heck. I could make a circle.

“From what?” you ask. Well, the most obvious option was using a hanger. You know, one of those annoying wire ones from the dry cleaners. My husband laughed at me. He figured that using the hanger would make the project look like a grade school project. I accepted the challenge.

With tin snips, I cut off both sides just where the hanger started to swoop up. I then entwined the two ends together and once the connection was secure, I pushed and pulled the hanger into a circle. Granted, it was not a pretty circle and no matter how hard I tried, I could not get the ends I had cut to not poke out dangerously. I eventually got the circle look more like a circle, but no matter how much I tried, I could not get the pokey ends to not stick out. Since I knew I would be covering the hanger, I was not too worried about it.

I then cut many, many strips of a plain cotton fabric that the week before lined the interior of my throw pillows. My plan was to wind the fabric around until I could no longer feel the pointy tips. I think it ended up being about three layers. I distressed the edges for that shabby baby effect. I used glue to make the fabric stick.

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At this point, I decided to make the hanging implement. I used tulle because I had a lot of it. I took four long pieces of tulle and wound and knotted them at four opposite points on the circle.

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NOTE: I later decided to hang a little owl from the center…and had to go back and fix things. So, if you want to hang a critter from the middle, it would be easier if your hung an extra length of tulle or your ribbon of choice from the center now.

Take all the lengths and gather them about one foot above the circle. I tied a knot. Don’t bother trying to tie a bow because it will be impossible to get all the lengths to me the same. Since I was using tulle, I knew I could get a big poofy puff at the end.

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To do that, I folded back all the ends and tied them with a piece of twine. I then cut off the ends that were beneath the twine and covered the twine with a thick piece of tulle, which was glued down.

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Now that my structure was in shape, it was time for the fun (and time consuming) part of making my little owls. Clearly, any little bug or animal design would work. I went with owls. And I wanted to make them two sided and poofy, with feet and ears sandwiched in the middle. This was just the way my little owls developed.

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Above are pictures of the materials for constructing my owls. The fronts were made up of a big circle for the body, a smaller oval for the belly, two pointy ovals for wings, and a triangle piece for a nose. (See the photos below). The back had a big circle for the body, and a tail. In addition to these pieces, I used a polyester batting for stuffing, double-sides fusible webbing, tulle for hanging the owls and the mobile, and fabric paint for the eyes. You can use regular glue, too, but the fusible stuff dries a lot more quickly.

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I fashioned some ears and feet.

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My owls were constructed by taking one of the circles and sticking on the pieces on the front and then taking the other circle and sticking the little tail on the back. At this point, the front and back are not attached. If you have ears and feet, you can now attach them to one of the sides, on the inside.

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Since I wanted to make these owls poofy, at some point I needed to stuff these little guys. At first I tried to stuff them like little dumplings, i.e. stick a clump of stuffing in the center of my owl and sandwich it in, but that made it tricky to add enough stuffing. After a different methods, I found that what worked best was to fuse the edges a portion at a time, until I had a gap (usually between the ears) to shove stuffing into. This made for lil’ fat owls. I could then finish with my tulle ribbon between the ears. I stuffed the ends of the tulle into the gap between the ears and fused them to seal the tulle inside. By leaving this step for last, I could wrap the ribbon around the circle hanger and not have to worry about tying it on.

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Then repeat several more times until you have enough little fellows to be happy with your mobile. I did nine owls of varying sizes, fabric combos and styles.

The final touch was to add eyes. I decided to use fabric paint for the eyes mostly because the idea of cutting out all those little circles made my head spin. The fabric paint was a lot easier.

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And now it’s ready to lull a baby to sleep.

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Tank top up cycle

So I had this ratty old tank with a hole in it that I had been hanging onto for who knows what reason. It was just so soft and I thought a use would eventually come to me.
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See…the hole is pretty obvious. I was finally inspired to cut it up when I saw this great head band idea on Pinterest. This I could totally do. Here is my version of this project.

1) Cut a long strip about 1 1/2 ” thick. Make sure to use the seam here as a natural end for the headband.

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2) Measure the strip so that it will go around your head, but so the ends just meet. The jersey material is stretchy so don’t worry you’ll go too small. Cut the strip into three strips only up to seam. Do not cut through stitching of seam.

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3) braid length of strip making sure it doesn’t get all twisty. Secure end with something if you are not going to sew right away.

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4) place ends together and fold the braided end into the seam so there is a nice, smooth finish.

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I was so proud of myself. These were easy and now I didn’t have to get those elastic headbands from the store. You can get creative, too and make them a little fancier. I took one strip, about 1/4 inch thick and cut that into three really thin strips (like, thin enough to thread beads). Cutting the ends at an angle helps to thread the beads. 20130421-211117.jpg20130421-211719.jpg
I originally intended to do this braided thing where the beads always end up on the outside but my tank fabric was not structured enough for this. So I just threaded several beads per strand and then randomly spaced them out. 20130421-211727.jpgIt turned out really cute.

Of course, this project doesn’t use up all the tank. Even if you made a dozen headbands, you would still have scraps left over. I had the seams from the neck and arm holes and small strips I had cut of from the length.

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I didn’t want to throw them away. So I started making flower pins.

The seams were perfect for a rosette because they are already folded for you! It made a very contemporary, compact flower.
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The strips I ruffled by using a running stitch and then pulling taught until I got the ruffle I wanted. 20130421-211210.jpg20130421-211154.jpg<I then sewed the ruffle around until I got a the desired effect. 20130421-211159.jpgTotally adorable. 20130420-131123.jpg20130420-141521.jpg20130420-141528.jpg

I also made a third type of florette. A simple string of five circles, folded in half and connected with a running stitch.

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Fabric Coasters

These are fun and surprisingly sturdy. I made some for Christmas last year for each of my family and I am pretty sure they loved them. The trick to getting nice, thick coasters is using thick fabric, like upholstery fabric and a thick double-sides fusing like this awesome product, Bosal Craf-Tex. This particular product actually makes coaster sized, pre-cut, packages, but the store I was at only had the placemat packages, which actually turned out to be far more economical. This product is washable and very malleable. These are the materials I used, plus an iron, which I forgot to include and the sewing machine, which was in the other room.
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Also, I didn’t mention needle and thread or glue to finish gap.

Here is my tutorial.

1) Decide how many coasters you want to make. Multiply this number by two and cut out that number of fabric squares. I have a square tool that I purchased a while ago that is 4 1/2″. This tool also makes it easy to draw where I want to sew, leaving a 1/2″ seam. My fusible interfacing should be the same size as my inner square. Cut out one fusible interfacing for each coaster. The fusible interfacing ends up being around 3 1/2″, though you may need to trim it up later. You really don’t need fancy tools.  I bought that plastic square thing because I was making A LOT of these for Christmas.  If you don’t have one or want one, the solution is simple: make a square template of 4-5 inches from cardboard.  then, using 1/2 inch seams as a default, make another square template one inch smaller around than your first template.

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2) Coordinate your squares by choosing a front and back to each coaster and then flip each fabric so that the good sides are facing in towards each other and the bad sides are out.

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3) Sew around three edges completely.
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4) on the fourth edge, sew from the outer edge in on both sides leaving about a one inch gap. Remember to double back on edges and on each side on the gap so that the fabric doesn’t come apart as you turn over or stuff with your fusible interface.
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5) Trim edges, EXCEPT the edge with the gap. Leave that untrimmed to make stitching it up a little easier.

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6) Turn coaster pretty side out and use some thing fine-tipped (but not too sharp) to poke out nice crisp corners.  Turning the coasters right-side out is actually the most frustrating part of this project. Sometimes the gap I have left is just big enough for my finger, but I have worked the most stubborn fabrics through impossible small openings.  Be patient and don’t ruin all your hard work by tearing it apart.
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7) Once you are  satisfied that your corners are poked out, you are ready to stuff.  Now …  you are probably wondering how to get your three inch+ square into a one inch gap. Just roll up the fusible interfacing and stick it in. Manipulate it to lay flat inside.
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8) Once in position, with everything tucked inside, get your iron out and set to medium. Fold in the edges in the gap so that they sandwich the fusible interfacing, that way you get a crisp edge. I ironed directly on the outer fabric for several seconds on each side.
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9) Almost done! Stitch up the gap. Use your favorite stitch, or even glue and clamp together.

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10) Then, put to use right away or find a ribbon to tie up your fun little stack of coasters to give as a gift.

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The Fabric Flower

The styles and looks of flowers is only limited by your imagination and the materials at hand. It is not limited by talent or skills. These are easy to make, and no matter what you find on the internet, you will soon see that your fabric flowers will look unique. Here is one example using strips of scraps: the rose.

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In this first example, I used some of the smallest of my scraps, those measuring about an inch, but at least three inches in length. I like to sew these together because glue would be too messy with this style, but, seriously, no actual sewing skills required! While you could just go round and round and sew your rows of strips to themselves, I like to use a sturdy fabric as a “base.” This is so I have more control of the “petals” and the shape. It also adds re-inforcement and makes applying the pins and clips easier. It doesn’t matter what this base fabric looks like, you shouldn’t be able to see it at the end with this style flower.

So here is a step by step:

1) Gather your scraps! Any scrap at least one inch wide and three inches long. If you have wider strips, you can create fuller roses.

2) Begin sewing the ends together to form a strip. The longer the strip, the bigger the flower you will create. Also, if you feel your strip is wide enough, you can fold the strip in half and sew along the open bottom to create a long tube.

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3) Cut out a circle of sturdy fabric for your base

4) Begin by creating the center. As you make more and more of these…because I promise you will get addicted…you will develop your own style for the center. And don’t worry, if you create a gap you don’t love, you can always stick something sparkly in there to fill it in. I like to stick my fabric flat on the base, just south of the center and affix with a couple of stitches, then I fold the strip over and start the first petals over the fabric that has been stitched down so there is no gap.

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5) Go round and round. Create “ruffles” by pleating.

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6) When your flower has reached its desired size, stop winding and make sure everything is secure. Then cut out another circle of sturdy, coordinating fabric. This circle should be at least a quarter inch bigger than the base circle. I usually like to sew my pin and clip attachment separately to this circle before applying to the flower. I have seen many people simply glue these on. What ever works for you. Take your new circle and glue it on! I like to apply glue to the everything but the outer quarter inch of my finishing circle. That way I can stitch around the outside. I like to stick around the outside because many times the bottom isn’t completely flat, and stitching helps it hold together better. Plus sometimes you want to manipulate a petal here or there and stitching allows you to do that.

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