Tag Archives: sew

Mini Mouse

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Above is the beady little face only a cat can love–especially when stuffed with catnip! These little guys are a bit labor intensive for the small package, but just wait until your cat goes bonkers over them. You’ll be so proud of yourself.

What you’ll need: fabric, twine or yarn for the tail, stuffing, and catnip. I hand stitched these but there is no reason you can’t use the machine for the first few steps, especially if you plan on making many of them.

This project is perfect for an old t-shirt. If you’ve been into making t-shirt yarn lately and have a bunch of sleeves and chests left over without any idea of what to do with them, here is a great use because these mice use up small snippets of fabric. And the t-shirt is nice because it is stretchy and you can make fat little mice.

Start off by cutting two half circles for the body and two small circles for the ears.
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Place the two pieces together. If your fabric has a good side and a bad side, put both bad sides together. Decide which end will be the “head” and cut a slit until about half way down. I only showed one side in the photo above, but you really should cut them together so they are even.

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I’m sorry, I skipped like three steps in the next photo. It’s just that you get really involved in the “production” of them and forget to take pictures. But the next photo reflects what the mouse looks like after attaching the ears and sewing on the tail.

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I will try and explain as well as possible, though. Take one of your little ears (circle) and roll it like a waffle cone so it’s a little wider on top. Take the rolled ear and stick the end through the slit and fold back the half circle so that you are holding the ear inside the fabric. At this point you should see only a small end of your rolled eat and have a seam to sew up along that slit you previously cut into the half circle. Now you have to do the same thing on the other side so that they mirror each other. When you are done with both ears, you will have two semi-circles again, but this time with ears in the middle-ish. Stick them together so the ears are inside.

Next we attach the tail by having one end of the tail stick out the back end. If there is a good end and a bad end to your tail, have the bad end stick out the back. It will be inside when you flip the mouse inside out.

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It may help to roll up the tail so you can keep it all inside if you have a particularly long tail. Starting with your tail end, start stitching along the outer half circle to close up the two sides. Stop at ears. Then sew along the straight bottom edge to close up the seam.

You are now ready to flip it inside out and should have all of your seams closed up except for “face” area.

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At this point, you have to decide whether you want to put whiskers and eyes on the little mouse. Trust me, the cat will play with it regardless, so you really can skip it… But they are so much cuter with the little details.

Now is the time to add eyes and whiskers if you want them. I used regular thread, but if you have something a little thicker, sewing some eyes on the thing will be sooo much easier. The eyes are self-explanatory. Stitch a circle with the thread.

The whiskers, those required more creativity… And explanation. We are essentially going to make one stitch– on the inside. Thread your string but don’t tie it off. Starting on outside of mouse, you want to pull thread through create a small stitch inside and pull back out. Leave the thread long for the moment. About one half inch from one end, tie a knot (enough to not pull through). Now pull through from other end until the knot stops the thread (yay, one whisker has emerged!). As for the other whisker, you now need to tie a knot on the other side of the stitch to keep whisker from pulling through. See the second photo below to understand how the stitch is on the inside and the first photo to see how the knot on the outside keeps it from pulling through.

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Now all of our hard work is done and we can stuff the little rodents. I used poly-fiber stuffing as well as catnip to make them nice and fat. Just shove it in there.

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When the mouse is as full as you want it, stitch up the face. Just pay attention to where the eyes and whiskers are so they line up.

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Final step: find a cat.

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Pillow talk

I’ve had this cable-knit throw for years. I really like it. Perhaps that is why I held on to it far past its prime.

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Coincidentally, I have been searching high and low for cheap pillow covers. Mine have been looking sad.  Having furry little animals doesn’t help the ivory raw silk I bought before they came around. As I finally admitted that I needed to retire the throw, the answer revealed itself.  It was like peanut butter meeting chocolate.

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I can’t get too fancy with this sewing thing. Despite all the tutorials I have pinned from Pinterest, sewing with zippers is way beyond my skill-set. And buttons … they create their own set of problems. But, I needed the pillow covers to be removable, so I couldn’t just sew the four edges and leave them be.  That left the Envelope-style pillow cover. Easy. Below is my tutorial. After my tutorial is a better tutorial where the patient, clever lady actually measures and sews things. I take the guestimate approach and prefer to use fabrics with straight lines so I don’t have to measure or pin.

1) Start by cutting a long rectangle about 1/2 inch wider than your pillow but about 2 & 1/2 times to  2 & 3/4 times the length of your pillow. The looser or stretchier the material, the longer you want to make the length because it may gape a bit.

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2) Lay out the piece good side up and and fold back the top to create a pocket.
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The inside of the pillow should be facing out. Sew down the right and left side.20130805-194713.jpg

This top that is sewn first will also be the top side of your pouch, so if you have a nicer seam at one of the ends, this one should be the one flipped back first.

3) Then take your bottom half and flip up lay several inches over the top flap. Remember, you want the top and bottom to over lap.

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This is where some measuring might come in handy. I did this casually by laying the pillow on top of my folded almost-done cover to size it up. It looked about right, so I carried on.

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4) Now sew the bottom half along the right and left edges.
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5) Flip right side out, poke out the corners and stuff your pillow inside. Now sit back and enjoy your work.
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For those of you desiring more precision, check out this great tutorial. I find mine more inspiring, though, because it should leave you feeling that of I can do it, and make it turn out, so can you! Look how nice.
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This project was so easy I made these, too, out of a tablecloth I ended up with.

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Holey Sheet

This post regards was previously my favorite sheet set. Then the cats came along a couple years back and slowly, over many months, their little claws caused little holes that, with some unintentional help by me, ended up as huge gaping holes.

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It’s not that they mean to do this. Unfortunately one of my cats is a little on the corpulent side and he needs a little grappling assistance to scale the mattress.

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There’s the culprit. It’s a flattering photo. He actually quite massive. In any case, this past Sunday, I finally took scissors to the sheets. I could have made pillow cases…but that is so expected (and I thought maybe too challenging?). I decided to make bulk produce and grain bags.

1) CUT OUT THE CLOTH YOU WILL WORK WITH: I started out with the established side seams thinking this would give me an already finished edge and less work. I cut about sixteen inches down the entire length of the side seam. It seemed like a good size. Lucky for me, my sheets had stripes.

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2) IRON: I then debated about whether I really needed to iron this for several minutes. I hate ironing. I am much more the spray and hang kind of girl. But the more I tried to lay the sheet flat to cut my panels, the more I realized this would be easier if I just ironed the darn thing. So I recommend it. If I can do it, so can you.

3) CUT INDIVIDUAL PANELS. Back from ironing, I could lay my sheet flatly on my cutting board and decide how big I wanted my bags. Here is where I remind people that I am not a sewer. At least not a good one. I am not even sure I am using the terminology correctly. Please correct me (nicely) if I am not. Also, I was kind of winging this project as far as size goes. But in the end, it really doesn’t matter that you make one the same size as mine, so I am not going to tell you to cut panels that are 16″H X 11″ W (11″ being the seam side) like I did. I am going to tell you to cut equal panels for the size bag you want to make, remembering that you might lose about an inch from both height and width after sewing. I ended up cutting 16″ X 11″ panels because that’s about the size of my cutting board and I found this long piece of cardboard that helped me cut a straight edge. If I had not come across this piece of cardboard, I guarantee my panel would have been much smaller. Also, I debated about whether I really needed to make two panels per bag, or one panel twice the width that I could fold in half and have one less seam. I finally decided to go with two panels because I like the idea of have a definite seam at each side. BUT, you could definitely save yourself some cutting and sewing by making one long panel (i.e, using my measurements above, 22″ W X 16″ H.)

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3) MAKE SURE YOU HAVE A CLEAN SEAM ON TOP: I then placed my two panels together. My sheets really didn’t have a front or back, but if yours did, you would want to make sure that the good side was facing in at this point. NOTE: if you decided to go with one long panel, skip to step 4, unless you need to stitch the top, then see the next note. NOTE: If you did not cleverly use a pre-made seam at the top of your bag, then the very first thing you want to do it fold each panel about 1/8 ” down and sew a seam across both tops separately. When putting the panels back together, the seams will be facing out (the good side will be facing in).

4) CREATE FINISHED EDGE FOR THE DRAW STRING: Once you have a clean edge on the top, you take both corners on one side and flip them back (away from each other) about a quarter inch. Sew down each side separately about an inch and a half. You are not sewing these two panels together, you are creating a finished edge on each panel, the purpose for which you can see in the last photo even though that is jumping several steps ahead.

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5) SEW SIDE SEAM (on opposite side): After sewing these little seemingly random seams above, go to the opposite length and sew the panels together down the entire side.

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6) TRIM YOUR SEWN SIDE: At this point you can trim the entire side seam or just notch it like I did below. You do this to make the next step easier, which is going to be adding your draw string. You can, of course, add your draw string later, but only if you want to plan a thoroughly aggravating and frustrating project for yourself. Add it here, it’s much easier.

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7) ADD DRAW STRING: Once you have either trimmed or notched the seam you just sewed, spread out the now-connected panels seam side up. Spread your draw string across the top of the bag. I used a thick, candy-cane colored twine for your easy viewing pleasure. However, any substantive string or ribbon would work. Make sure it is about six to nine inches wider than the bag on EACH side (or at least a foot longer than the combined width of the bag). Fold the top down about 1/2 inch. You want to make sure and push your draw string all the way up into the crease. I would recommend pinning the draw string at the very top to make sewing faster, especially if you are using a flat ribbon that you cannot feel through the folded fabric. The important thing is to NOT sew the string. Sew below the string so that it will continue to move freely.

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8) SEW REMAINING EDGES: Once you have completed sewing and confirm that your draw string moves freely, fold the bag back, good sides facing in and touching. Since you have already sewed back the remaining side by about 1/2″, I found it helpful to actually sew only about 1/4″ seam on this side now, otherwise the top where your drawstring comes out bulges a little too much. Begin sewing just under your top seam all the way down the side. Finish up with a final stitch along the bottom to close up the bag. Trim it up, flip it outside in, and you have a bag great for produce or bread! Here’s a tip since they’re not see-through:Take the sticker from the produce and apply to the outside of the bag to make the cashier’s life a little easier. Also, since these bags can be a bit weightier than polyester bags you can buy on-line, when you first get into a store with a digital scale, weigh the bags without anything in them so you know how much you have to take off the total weight.

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9) USE BAG: My Husband, the (reluctant) hand model.

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Other good uses: a shoe bag for travel, a lingerie/underwear bag for travel, a gift bag (great with pretty ribbon), or lunch bags.

And I realized that by starting small, I could now totally handle making nice pillow cases.

BAG TWO

I also ended up making a cloth “sandwich” bag. I wanted to re-create that fold-over concept for bulk grains and dried fruit so that they wouldn’t fall out. I had two small-ish panels left over from what I had cut out above. These panels had no finished edge because I had to cut around some holes.

1) CREATE POCKET: So I started with one panel folded it down about 1/4 inch. I sewed a clean edge. (I should also have serged this edge, as I found out later when I flipped it back.) I then folded this side down about two inches, so that the clean edge is facing up. I then pinned this down and forgot about it for a while. DO NOT SEW THE BOTTOM EDGE OF FLAP TO THE PANEL. EVER. You are creating a pocket here.

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2) CREATE FINISHED EDGES ON THE NON-POCKET PANEL: I then took the next panel and folded the top down 1/4″ and stitched and serged the top, and then did the same to each side (though not to the bottom.) Too late I found this fabulous link to make nice corner. Maybe next time. But I included the link above if you are feeling ambitious.

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3) PUT BOTH PANELS TOGETHER: I then put both panels together. My pocket is facing in. On the other panel, the clean side is facing in. I then stitched both sides together. I flipped my panels over so that my previously sewn panel was on top so that I could follow those stitches down. If you are a better sewer than I am and you left yourself room on the outside of your previous stitch, you could do a nice double stitch. What you do not want to do, however, is sew on the inside of the previous stitch.

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Finally, I stitched the bottom and flipped it inside out.

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I decided I didn’t like the way the top flipped in on the sides, so I just sewed them down. Remember, I am not the world’s greatest sewer. But they turned out nicely.

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I welcome comments and suggestions!

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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