Tip of the Week

Thursday, June 28, 2012

DIY Sewing Pacifier Clip

I came up with this project when I was finishing a baby shower gift.  Fortunately I found all the supplies in my sewing stash, but if I make any more I will have to buy more clips.  This is a great beginners project and great for baby shower gifts or customizing your own baby pacifier clip.  I thought about using elastic to make ruffles (that's why you see elastic in the picture), but decided against it for the first time.  Maybe I will play around with alternative versions for my etsy shop or future gifts.

Elastic hair band
Matching thread

All seams 1/4 in


1.  Measure your fabric to the length you would like.  I used 14 inches long and about 2 3/4 inches wide rectangle.

2.  Fold lengthwise (your piece should still measure 14 inches long), right sides together.  Pin and Iron if needed.

3.  Sew along the lengthwise seam, you just folded.  Do not sew the ends.

4.  Turn right-side out.  Iron.

5.  Fold the edges inward about 1/4 inch, so you have a nice seam.  Iron.

6.  Place one end of the fabric and loop through the hair band.  Fold edge over so both sides of the fabric are now touching.

7.  Sew over edge.  Repeat in a second spot about 1/4 inch above previous seam if desired.

8.  Place the other end of the fabric through the end of the clip.  Fold edge over (just as step 6).

9.  Sew edge just like step 7.


Folding edges inward for step 5

Step 6

Step 7


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

DIY: How to unravel a sweater to re-purpose yarn

A short while back I gave you a sneak peek at my latest project: Unraveling a sweater.  I found a sweater in the back of my closest and decided that I could reuse the yarn for other projects and even use the buttons on something else.  This does not work for all sweaters because if the sweater is machine-knitted you will not have nice long strands of yarn.

Take a look at the stitch in the sweater and if you are not sure ask your local yarn shop.  If you try to unravel a machine-knitted sweater you will find out very quickly that you have a problem.

First you need a pair of scissors with small tips, ones that are often used in sewing.  Use these scissors to trim the seams that hold the pieces of the sweater together.  Look carefully, don't just cut with large scissors or you will encounter problems.  Find the seam, separate the seam to find each side of the two pieces sewn together and cut only the stitch you see running between holding the two pieces together.

Cut each of the seams, then you can start to unravel.  Or work in stages if you prefer.  Unraveling will take a bit of time, but it's great if you are watching your favorite show or you happen to take a bus/train to work.

Don't be surprised if occasionally a yarn breaks, but if you are careful this shouldn't happen (maybe only twice!).

Now I have this stack of yarn that I need to soak to straighten it then I can spin it into a ball for my intended project.

Here's the buttons I saved.

One seam cut - sweater is in two pieces

See the two pieces?

Sleeve seam

1 sleeve and the yarn from one side of the body

Here's the seam before separating and cutting

The other side of the sweater

Lots of yarn 

Here's all of the yarn

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

DIY Hair Dryer Bag - Version 2

I have finally finished it.  This was my first time sewing a zipper and is good practice before I start a few skirt patterns I have lined up to sew at some point.  I find that the zipper really works well for storing and travelling with a hair dryer, whereas version 1 (with bias tape) is great for storage and not-so-much when travelling.  Though it really is a personal choice which version works best for you.

2 coordinating fabrics (1 outside fabric, 1 lining)
Fleece, Flannel or Old Mattress Cover for padding
Matching thread

All seams 1/4 inch.


1. Measure length and width of hair dryer.  Add several inches to the measurements to ensure enough space for fitting the hair dryer in the bag.

2.  Measure and cut fabric and padding for project.  You will need 2 pieces of outside fabric, 2 lining and 2 padding.   Iron if needed.

3.  Once you have measured and cut your fabric you now need to decide which end you want to sew your zipper too.  Measure that side and that's the length of zipper you will need.

4.  Pin outside (right-side) fabric to one side of the padding and the lining fabric to the other.  Good side or print side facing away from the padding.  Repeat for the other piece.  

5.  Baste stitch all the way around.  Repeat for other piece.  This should prevent the fabrics and lining from shifting as you sew on the zipper.  Iron if needed.

6.  Lay zipper on table, place outside fabric (correct edge if one end is longer than the other side) on top of the zipper.  Make sure the fabric is on the far side (or opposite) of the zipper.  The lining should be facing you (not the zipper).  See photo below.

7.  Pin in place and sew the one edge.  Iron if needed open.  You should have a nice seam when you flip the fabric over the zipper.  See photo.

8.  Repeat steps 6 and 7 for the other side.  Sewing the fabric to the opposite side of the zipper.

9.  Place right sides (outside) fabric together.  Pin.  Start on one side of the zipper, sew down and sew bottom.

10.  Open zipper (un-zip).  Then sew the last side together.

11.  Trim any edges or corners, if needed.  Turn right-side out.

12.  Test and make sure the zipper will close.

13.  Remove baste stitches all the way around.

14.  Now you can store and travel with your hair dryer.

Baste stitch

Step 6

Another view of step 6

Step 8

Step 8 continuted

Finished step 8

Step 9

It's Finished!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

DIY Reed Diffuser

As I was organizing these past few weeks (thus all of the sewing projects last week), I discovered an old milk jar amongest things.  The jar is a simple design without all of the graphics or imprints, perfect for re-purposing in my house.  My inspiration and idea came from a pin on Pinterest by Jaderbomb.  All the instructions you need are on the website and you will be able to make your own reed diffuser like I did.

I used my milk jar, some oils I had leftover from my oil burner and some bamboo skewers I have for grilling. Needless to say a few of the skewers will not be making it to the grill, but bamboo skewers are relatively inexpensive to purchase anyways.  To decorate my jar I used a paw-print ribbon I had in my sewing stash.  A simple use of my jar and now my room smells amazing without the use of nasty chemicals sprays.  Amazing!

DIY Hair Dryer Bag: Version 1

Today's project is the last in my current sewing week of projects to get organized. In the same cabinet I have my curling iron, I have my hair dryer.  Again I did not want to have the cords tangled and figured I would make a case for the hair dryer which would double for travelling.  It's a bit late since I intended for this to be Friday's project, but that's life sometimes and I am now posting the pattern. 

I have two versions of this project: 1. with bias tape, 2. with a zipper.  Either version works well, it really depends on whether you want the storage bag to zip close or not.  I did both  versions because I had a little bias tape leftover from the curling iron project and I had a zipper already in my sewing cabinet that would work for my other hair dryer.  Tomorrow's post will be the same project but version 2 - with a zipper.

2 coordinating fabrics (1 outside fabric, 1 lining)
Fleece, Flannel or Old Mattress Cover for padding
Bias Tape (if using)
Matching thread

All seams 1/4 inch.


1. Measure length and width of hair dryer.  Add several inches to the measurements to ensure enough space for fitting the hair dryer in the bag.

2.  Measure and cut fabric and padding for project.  You will need 2 pieces of outside fabric, 2 lining and 2 padding.

3.  Iron if needed.

4.  Pin outside (right-side) fabric to one side of the padding and the lining fabric to the other.  Good side or print side facing away from the padding.  Repeat for the other piece.  
5.  Match print fabric (just like we did on the curling iron bag).  Then place outside (right-sides) together.  Lining fabric should be facing out on both sides.  Pin.

6.  Sew along one short edge, along the bottom and up the other short edge.

7.  Trim corners and pink along the 3 edges you just sewed.

8.  Turn right-side out.  Iron if desired.

9.  Attached bias tape to top.  Pin in place.

10.  Sew along the bias tape all the way around.  Sew along the two ends of bias tape (vertically) to keep in place.


Step 6 Finished

Step 7 - Pinked and trimmed edges

Step 9 - Pin bias tape around the top (open edge)

All finished!

Friday, June 22, 2012

DIY: Up-cycled Dog Collar into Door Dog Bells

Ever end up with a broken clasp on a dog collar?  Well I did, but I liked the style of the collar, so I knew I needed to use the collar in another project.  The idea came about when I found that my dog would hit the blinds on the door to let me know she wanted out.  So I tried tying a few bells to the door handle to find out if she would hit the bells instead of the blinds, and sure enough she was smart enough to figure it out with very little practice.  On the other hand, my younger dog will not hit the blinds or the bells, so I do not recommend using this if your dog is scared of noises.  Test out some bells first before completing this project.    Once you complete the project you will end up with a creative, up-cycled door dog bells similar to Poochie Bells I've seen in dog catalogs.  No need for snaps or leather.  You may have all of the materials around your house right now.  All of my supplies were re-purposed from items I had in my cabinet.  This project is fairly simple, you can machine or hand sew the loop for the door handle. 

Note:  If you do not have a broken clasp on a collar you may want to rip out the stitching on both ends of the collar.  The pieces can be saved for other projects or replacing broken pieces on other collars.  If you rip out the stitching you will have to restitch both ends in this pattern, as I only stitched one end.

1 dog collar (I had a large collar)
2-3 medium size jingle bells
1 large key chain ring
matching thread
needle (if hand sewing)

1.  Remove both ends of the clasp from dog collar.  Break or cut off the plastic clasp on the end with the leash clip, leaving the stitching in tact.  Rip stitches out from the other end to remove the clasp piece.

2.  Attach 2-3 bells to key chain ring, then attach to the end of the dog collar where you left the stitches in tact.

3.  Measure, using the collar where you want to make the door handle loop on the collar.  Shorter for large dogs, longer for small dogs.

4.  Pin (if desired) and sew across the ends.  You may want to sew, back-stitch, and repeat in one spot.

5.  Repeat a step 4 a second time about 1/4-1/2 inch above previous stitch.  Cut off ends.

6.  Project is complete.  Hang on door handle.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

DIY Curling Iron Cover

Today's sewing project, as promised is for your curling iron, straightener or similar gadget.  My idea for this project came about after repeatedly pulling out, in a mess of cords, my curling iron and hair dryer.  To organize this particular cabinet in my house I wanted to create a cover that would work for storing my curling iron and being able to throw it in my suitcase for travelling.

Fabric (2 coordinating fabrics - 1 for outside, 1 for lining)
Fleece, Felt or Old mattress cover
Bias tape (preferably extra wide)
Matching thread

Measurements for my curling iron 13in long and 3in wide (at widest point)
Finished product: 14in long and 4 1/2in wide

All seams are 1/4in


1.  Measure the length and width of your curling iron or straightener.  Add 3-4 inches to the width, this will make sure you have adequate space to place your curling iron in when the project is finished.  You do not want it to be small or narrow, otherwise you will have difficulty placing your curling iron inside.  Note:  You may want to trace pattern then place curling iron on one side and place second piece of fabric over, taking into account the thickness of the fleece, if you are unsure how much space to you will have.

2.  Trace and cut 2 pieces (each should be a rectangular shape) of outside fabric and 2 pieces of inside lining fabric.  Cut 2 pieces of fleece or mattress cover (this will add padding and if your curling iron is hot when you travel this should prevent items from melting or otherwise burning).

3.  Add the width measurements together, with 1/4 to 1/2 inch extra and measure bias tape. Cut.

4.  Fold electrical cord together (as if to tie together) and measure width.  Double this measurement (or triple if you want more ribbon to tie the cord together).  Measure ribbon desired length and cut.

5.  Iron any fabric pieces together if desired.

6.  Place fleece on wrong side of lining, then place wrong side of outside fabric to the opposite side.  Repeat for other piece.  Pin in place.

7.  Fold ribbon in half, wrong sides together.  Place folded edge about 1 1/2 to 2 inches from top of one of the outside fabric pieces.  Make sure the folded edge is along the long (length) side.  Pin along edge.  Fold rest of the ribbon in the center of the piece and pin, so to avoid sewing and other part of the ribbon.

8.  Put both pieces together, outside fabric pieces together.  Lining fabric facing you, on both sides.  Pin in place.

9.  Sew one long side together. Unpin.

10. Open up piece.  Attach bias tape to the top.  Sew.

11.  Place outside fabric pieces together again.  Finish sewing other 2 edges.

12.  Remove pins and turn right side out.

You are finished.  Place your curling iron inside, tie electrical cords together and you are ready to store or travel with your piece.

I used an old mattress cover for the padding

Step 3

Step 6

Match the patterned pieces of fabric before placing together

WRONG way to pin ribbon to fabric

Step 7: Right way to pin ribbon to fabric

Step 7 continued

Step 10

Step 10 continued

Step 12

Finished product