Tuesday, December 31, 2013

How to Sew a Perfect Placket

A new year is almost here, and many of us are busy thinking about what goals we'd like to accomplish in 2014. For sewists, these resolutions often include trying our hand at learning new sewing techniques or perhaps mastering those we haven't quite perfected yet. The placket is one area of a garment that seems to cause trouble for novice and advanced sewists alike. In the following how-to, designer Debbie Glenn shares step-by-step instructions for her unique folded placket that eliminates all visible raw edges. This tutorial originally appeared in our January/February 2007 issue of Sew Beautiful.

NOTE: This placket may only be used on fabrics with no apparent wrong side. And, you'll need to add 2-1/2 inches to the back skirt width for a 1/2-inch-wide finished placket.

1. Pull a thread and cut along center back the desired depth of the finished placket (9 to 13 inches at neck, 4 to 6 inches for a skirt). At lower end of center back, cut clip perpendicularly 1/2 inch to the right and 1/2 inch to the left (Photo 1).

2. Press right cut edge under 1/2 inch (to wrong side), turn left edge up 1/2 inch (to right side), leaving a 1-inch opening at bottom of placket (Photo 2).

3. Fold left side up 1/2 inch again (encasing left raw edge), leaving a 1/2-inch opening at bottom of placket (Photo 3).

4. Pinch up fabric at base of placket so right single fold touches left double fold, leaving no opening at bottom of placket. Secure this little tuck with a pin (Photo 4). TIP: Make sure fold of this little tuck doesn't extend beyond far left edge of placket or it will be visible.       

5. Finally, fold right side under 1/2 inch again (encasing right raw edge), lapping right side over left. There will be a double pleat with a tiny tuck inside at end of opening, pressed to left (Photos 5 and 6).

6. Secure placket edges by hand or machine using a straight or pin stitch. To stitch by machine: Un-pin tiny tuck and flatten out this area, temporarily un-lapping right and left sides of placket; refer to Photo 7. TIP: For easier pin stitching, cut scant 1/2-inch strips of Sol-u-Web and use "water-soluble fusible mesh" to secure right and left folds. Stitch from right side from top edge down securing right fold, adjusting width of pin stitch so left swing of fingers catch fold underneath (L=2.0-2,5; W=1.5) (Photo 7).

7. At bottom, stop with needle down 1/8 inch below clip at end of straight stitch series, re-lap placket, pivot 45 degrees, stitch finger stitch in and out into same hole, pivot 45 degrees then stitch across bottom, stopping just beyond fold; refer to Photo 8. 

8. Pivot and continue stitching up left side being careful not to catch right placket edge in stitches (Photo 8).

9. There will be raw ends exposed between the layers at bottom of placket (Photo 9). To enclose these raw ends, press placket flat, then stitch just above raw ends to form a small rectangle (Photo 10).

Be sure to check out our Sew Beautiful collection CDs to learn more great techniques! Each CD includes digital versions of six complete issues of Sew Beautiful.

Sew On, Sew Well, Sew Beautiful,
Cyndi and Amelia

Monday, December 23, 2013

How to Fashion Topstitched Pleats

Elizabeth's Red Dress
“Elizabeth’s Red Dress” – one of the patterns in Sewing for a Royal Baby – was inspired by a charming dress we purchased in an antiques store. After carefully picking out the seams on the hand-constructed vintage garment, I (Amelia) worked up the pattern. I used Martha Pullen's silk/cotton Elegance to recapture the soft drape of the original garment’s silk fabric. The real beauty of this design, however, is in fashioning the pleats!

I didn't stitch down the fold from the backside to secure reverse box pleats on the slippery fabric; I wanted to avoid tying off and backstitching the thread (which can pucker, especially on silky fabrics). Instead I secured the folds with glue and worked a narrow line of topstitching down my desired length, over and back up. I chose a matching red thread, but if you’re confident in your topstitching, you could choose to do this in a contrast thread color for added design interest and add a touch of color behind.

Topstitched Pleats

NOTE: The complete pattern, supply list and instructions for making “Elizabeth’s Red Dress” are in Sewing for a Royal Baby.

What you’ll need:
• “Elizabeth’s Red Dress” (available in girls sizes 3 and 4 with the book
• Silky fabric (red silk/cotton Elegance shown from Martha Pullen Company) 
• Aleene’s Original Tacky Glue glue stick
• Sewing thread to match or contrast fabric
• Edge/joining foot for sewing machine
• Pilot Fixion iron-away pen or air-soluble marker
• Optional: 1/4-inch-wide silk satin ribbon in contrast color

How to fashion the pleats:
Using an iron-away marking pen, mark all tuck lines on front and back skirt pieces. Seam allowances are 5/8 inch for this pattern. NOTE: Marking lines will disappear when ironed; use air-erase marker if you want marks to linger while working the remaining steps.

Figure 1

1. Starting from one side of front skirt piece, fold in pleats as indicated on pattern and press (fig. 1). Fold back pleats, and lightly glue-baste just under area where pleats come together for about 4 inches. Fold pleats back to meet and press to set glue. NOTE: Always test the heat of your iron on specialty fabric before pressing the actual project.

Figure 2

2. Using an edge/joining foot and a right needle position of 1.8 (approximately 1/16 inch from pleat fold, stitch down right pleat for 4 inches, pivot, stitch across two stitches and stitch back up the left pleat while guide blade rides in between pleats (fig. 2).

3. Repeat for all pleats on front skirt and back skirt. Stay-stitch across tops of skirt to secure pleats. 

It’s as simple as that. When the glue washes out, the pleats will slightly open along the edge, but this adds a design element.

Sewing for a Royal Baby is available to purchase from the Martha Pullen Store. The book features 22 elegant, royal-inspired designs and includes patterns, smocking plates, step-by-step instructions, technique tutorials and much more! Read more about the book below and from all of us here at Sew Beautiful, Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Sew On, Sew Well, Sew Beautiful,
Cyndi and Amelia

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Mastering the Bullion Stitch

We love dressing up our designs with creative stitching. So often, it's those final decorative accents that really transform a garment into something special! We've shared tutorials for several hand stitches in past newsletters. We'd like to continue this week with a how-to for the bullion stitch, which is the basis for all bullion flowers and leaves. This tiny stitch can make a big impact on a design when stitched into beautiful bullion roses and other shapes. Get your needle and floss ready and follow the steps below:

NOTE: The distance from point A to point B and the number of wraps determine the length of the bullion stitch. Use a #8 or #9 straw or milliner needle and one strand of floss.

1. Bring needle to front at point A, re-enter at point B, and bring tip of needle to front again very close to point A; DO NOT pull needle through (fig. 1).

Figure 1
2. Place a finger over eye of needle and press it to fabric making tip rise up, away from fabric.

Figure 2

3. Wrap floss around needle several times (fig. 2). Slide wraps toward fabric keeping wraps smooth and close together (fig. 3).

Figure 3

4. Pinch coils between the thumb and finger of your left hand, and carefully pull needle through fabric (fig. 4).

Figure 4

5. With coil between one finger and thumb, tug on needle end of floss until bullion is the right shape and all slack is pulled out of floss core thread (fig. 5).

Figure 5

6. Take floss to back at end where it leaves coil; tie off (fig. 6).

Figure 6

To Knot or Not to Knot?
Most of the time it is best not to knot the thread behind your embroidery. Tying on with a running stitch behind your embroidery or a split backstitch eliminates the added "bump" that a knot would create. 

A waist knot is another method for tying on embroidery. To use the waist knot method, tie a knot in the end of your floss and enter the fabric from front to back about 3 to 4 inches away from your template line. Enter from the wrong side to the right side to begin stitching. If using floss, take a couple of tiny backstitches where they will be hidden to secure the thread. 

When the stitching is complete, cut the waist knot and pull the floss to the back of the fabric. Thread the cut end into the needle and weave the thread tail beneath the stitches of the embroidery. Use one of these methods for tying on and tying off on your bullion stitch.

Now that you have the basic bullion stitch down pat, discover how to create bullion art with our new DVD with Kari Mecca, Secrets to Stitching Bullion Whimsies. You will learn everything you need to know about stitching bullions as Kari shows you how to stitch bullions of any size or novelty shape. Included with the DVD is a bonus PDF file that features 50 step-by-step bullion designs - butterflies, hearts, rosebuds, bows, doves, cupcakes, balloons, cherries and more! 

Sew On, Sew Well, Sew Beautiful,
Cyndi and Amelia

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Vintage Inspiration: A Capitol Silk Coat

Winter Rose Smocked Coat
Many of the designs we feature in Sew Beautiful are inspired by beautiful heirlooms from generations past, and the Winter Rose Smocked Coat from designer Laurie Anderson is no exception. This design, which serves as the free pattern in our December / January issue, was adapted from a piece straight out of Martha Pullen's antique collection.

The authentic vintage lines really stand out on this children's garment, and Laurie worked a geometric smocking design in ecru with pink cast-on roses below the round yoke and embroidered a chevron blanket stitch around the collar and cuffs to recreate the jacket for today's little one. 

Below, peek inside Martha's Attic and read what she has to say about the original coat as we take a closer look at this timeless design:

Babette: A Capitol Silk Coat
This Babette Coat was custom made or sold presumably by Capitol sometime, I believe, around 1920. How do I know this? It still retains the labels inside, "Babette A Capitol Silk Coat, size 2." It's always such a rewarding experience to find an antique garment that comes with its own information. I found this piece in Lebanon, Ohio on one of my teaching trips to Columbus. Although I have been unable to verify that "Capitol" refers to Columbus, that city is the Capitol of Ohio, so it is a relatively safe bet that the coat originated or was sold there. The hand embroidery, smocking and crochet elements suggest it was custom made to sell in a clothing shop.

The little jewel is not in the best condition; the silk is stained in several areas, and the smocking is starting to come out. However, hand smocked pieces are very hard to come by, so I overlooked its flaws. The style is a round yoke; the yoke is self-piped. Just under the corded yoke are three rows of cables smocked completely around the coat very loosely, as the coat is not particularly full. Every 2-3/4 inches, between the first and third rows of smocking, is a three-step wave, leaving a little space into which a small lazy daisy flower has been stitched. This creates a little "puffiness" in the smocked section, which is very pretty.

Martha discovered this coat during a teaching trip in Lebanon, Ohio.
The collar fronts are embellished with touches of embroidery - lazy daisies, French knots and stem stitches - worked in the same peachy/pink shade as the coat. The collar edge is trimmed in slightly gathered hand crochet lace, which is also found on the 2-inch sleeve cuffs. Snaps, sewn on by hand, secure the coat in front and are topped with five decorative buttons. The lining appears to be a silk broadcloth; combined with a flannel interlining, it turns a very delicate-looking coat into a much warmer option.

Click here to read more about the designs featured in our December / January issue!

Sew On, Sew Well, Sew Beautiful,
Cyndi and Amelia

Thursday, December 5, 2013

How to Tie a Perfect Sash Bow

The holiday season is in full swing, and many of us will soon dress our little girls up in pretty stitched party dresses as we celebrate Christmas. Nothing finishes a party dress better than an expertly tied sash bow, of course, but tying a sash bow is harder than it looks. When not tied correctly, a bow may droop and hang vertically rather than stand up horizontally. Follow these steps from Perfect Party Dresses to ensure the bow sits perfectly against the back of the dress with beautifully formed loops and a bow knot.

1. Holding a sash in each hand, cross the left sash over the right.

2. Bring the left sash under the right at the center. Pull the left sash through and leave aside.

3. Make a loop with the right sash.

4. Turn the loop to the right.

5. Pick up the unlooped sash and place it over the looped sash.

6. Bring the left sash under the looped sash and through the gap underneath.

7. Pull on the looped ends to form the bow.

8. Adjust the size of the loops and arrange the sashes as required.

For more party dress inspiration, check out Perfect Party Dresses. With 12 smocked dresses and three petticoats, this book has everything you need to make your little girl's party dress dreams come true this year.

Sew On, Sew Well, Sew Beautiful,
Cyndi and Amelia

Monday, November 25, 2013

Tips for Planning a Smocked Bishop Design

The bishop is one of the most versatile designs in children's clothing. A voile bishop with lacy sleeves is perfect for a formal event, while a romper or playsuit with a bishop neckline is both cute and functional. Before constructing a bishop design, you need to decide what kind you'd like to make and select your pattern, fabric and smocking plate. To help you, we'd like to share the following hints from designer Maggie Bunch. These tips and more can be found in our special issue Favorite Heirloom Sewing Designs.

Patterns - Chances are you have more than one bishop pattern. In addition to independent designer patterns, check smocking magazines and books. Not all bishops are created equal! Take time to compare patterns. Lay the front section of one pattern on top of the front of another. Note the differences in the arm curve at the top and side. Compare the width of each piece. Check the length. You may find what works for one look does not work for all the bishops you have in mind.

Fabric - Each pattern is designed for a specific weight of fabric. Many bishop pattern instruction sheets recommend using lightweight fabrics such as batiste. You may use the pattern as it is for the recommended fabric. However, if your pattern is designed for batiste, but you wish to use a heavier fabric, use a pattern that has reduced fullness or make adjustments to your pattern.

The following pictures show three bishops cut from the same pattern. The fabrics are Imperial batiste, Concord cotton calico and Spechler-Vogel corduroy. Each bias neckband is cut to the identical length. Note the batiste pleats are nicely spaced (photo 1A). The calico pleats are tightly packed, but still fit the neckband (photo 1B). However, the corduroy bishop does not fit the neckband at all (photo 1C). 

Pleat a sample of questionable fabric to see how much bulk needs to be eliminated. To remove fabric from the bishop, take equal proportions out of each section: front, backs and sleeves. Fold the center of each pattern piece to maintain the correct neck and hemline curves.

Fibers - Fabric sometimes has a different appearance when it is pleated. Choosing fibers and colors after pleating is more efficient. Working a few stitches will help you make the final decision. Remember, three strands of embroidery floss are not the only option for smocking. Try two strands for a delicate look; try four strands for smocking a novelty print. Branch out! Try new fibers such as floche and stranded silk.

Smocking Plate - Bishop design plates are slightly different than straight yoke plates. For a bishop, look for a smocking design that uses stitches with less give at the top (neck) such as cable, stem and outline stitches. Stitches become progressively more open toward the lower rows of the design (shoulder). Lower rows are usually trellis stitches, possibly trellis/cable combinations. Straight yoke plates tend to have less giving stitches for the top and bottom rows. 

The pattern dictates the number of rows of smocking. Look at the arm curve on the pattern. There is a straight portion from the top down, then it begins to curve. The portion you will smock is the straight section. Measure this straight section against your brand of pleater to determine the number of rows you can pleat on that size (photo 2). Remember to include holding rows. Not all bishop plates are suited for every size bishop. Most commercial plates for bishops are easily adjusted. 

Change the number of rows on larger or smaller bishops by adding or eliminating a repeat of a row at the top or bottom of the design. When adjusting designs, take out the row least likely to affect the flair of the bishop at the shoulders.

Learn how to sew a beautiful bishop dress on the Ready-to-Smock - Smocked Bishop Construction DVD with Connie Palmer. You'll also discover valuable tricks as Connie reviews perfect neckbands, plackets, a variety of sleeve finishes and much more!

Sew On, Sew Well, Sew Beautiful,
Cyndi and Amelia

Monday, November 18, 2013

Warm & Wonderful Winter Sewing Inspiration

December 2013/January 2014
Our December/January edition of Sew Beautiful features winter-inspired projects for both little ones and adults. The free pattern is a beautiful smocked children's coat designed by Laurie Anderson, and we've also included lacy heirloom designs and embroidered inspiration great for any time of the year. Here's a peek at a few of our favorite designs:

Baby Jacket & Bunting (left) and Daygown
Embroidered Baby Jacket & Bunting - Wrap baby up in the snuggly warmth and comfort of Wendy Schoen's precious embroidered jacket and matching bunting wrap. Linen floss flowers adorn the hood and bunting while prancing lambs made of countless French knots are sprinkled about the front of the jacket. 

Train Embroidered Daygown - An embroidered choo-choo train lends handmade charm to this classic daygown from designer Michié Mooney. The embroidery's simplistic outline is perfect for beginners!

Ribbon Sash
Ribbon Sash - A wide ribbon sash, drawn into stitched bows with fine ribbon tendrils, can lend a special design element to any garment. In this how-to, Connie Palmer will show you how to create this gorgeous sash and sew it to a simple yoke dress.

Dogwood Flowers (left) and Farmhouse Jacket
Dogwood Flowers - Learn Nicholas Kniel's unique approach to making lovely blooms out of ribbon in an excerpt from Creating Ribbon Flowers: The Nicholas Kniel Approach to Design, Style, Technique and Inspiration. Make these dogwood flowers, which are great for everything from a bridal boutonniere to a simple straw hat.

Farmhouse Jacket: An Embroidered Wrap Design - Embellish any basic wrap jacket pattern with a beautiful floral motif from designer Gail Doane. The sweetly embroidered design combines a circular blanket stitch, cast-on flowers and tiny buttons.

Visit our online store to learn more about this new issue!

Sew On, Sew Well, Sew Beautiful,
Cyndi and Amelia 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Smock an Alternating Cable Stitch

Cables, outlines, stems and waves - there are so many lovely smocking stitches we can combine to create beautiful smocked designs for our garments. Today, we'd like to share a step-by-step tutorial for the alternating cable stitch from our friends at Australian Smocking & Embroidery magazine. Also known as cable picot, this is an attractive stitch that can be worked in a single color or two colors for varying effects.

Example was smocked with two strands of DMC satin stranded rayon.

1. Base row of cable. Work a row of cable.

2. Bring the thread to the front on the right-hand side of the first pleat, a needle's width below the first stitch of the base cable row.

3. Take the needle back through the first pleat from right to left.

4. Pull the thread through. Work two cables (an over cable then an under cable).

5. For the third cable, keep the thread below the needle and angle it to emerge on the left side of the same pleat, a needle's width above the base row.

6. Pull the thread through.

7. Work two cables (under, over). With the thread above, take the needle through the next pleat, angling it to emerge on the left side of this pleat below the base row.

8. Pull the thread through. Work two cables (over, under). For the next cable, angle the needle through the pleat. Emerge above the base cable row as in step 5.

9. Continue alternating between three cables below the base row and three above. End off the thread securely.

For more inspiration, don't miss The Best of Australian Smocking & Embroidery. This special issue includes eight multi-size patterns, tips, techniques and much more!

Sew On, Sew Well, Sew Beautiful,
Cyndi and Amelia

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Sew Matching Flower Motifs for a Girl and Doll

Yo-yo flowers pictured on the T-Shirt Dress from All Dolled Up.

Create coordinating outfits for a girl and her 18-inch doll with help from these fun yo-yo flowers. Designed by doll dress designer Joan Hinds, these embellishments are super easy to make and are sure to brighten the day of your favorite little doll lover.

To make the flower embellishments, all you need is fabric of your choice and two buttons. Joan recommends using a 3/4-inch button for a girl and a smaller 3/8-inch button for an 18-inch doll. 

When you are finished making the flowers, tack them on to a T-shirt or project of your choice. Complete instructions for the matching T-Shirt Dresses pictured here can be found in Joan's book All Dolled Up.

Fig. 1 (left) and Fig. 2

Yo-Yo Flower for Girl:
1. To make a yo-yo flower for a girl's garment, cut a 4-1/2 inch (11.4cm) circle from the fabric. 

2. With a hand sewing needle and matching thread, work running stitches around the edge of the circle about 1/8 inch (3mm) in from the edge (fig. 1). Pull tightly and flatten the circle. Tie off and sew the 3/4-inch button to the center of the flower to cover the raw edges (fig. 2). 

3. Tack the flower to the upper left of the T-shirt.

Yo-Yo Flower for Doll:
1. For the yo-yo flower for a doll's garment, cut a 2-1/4 inch (5.7cm) circle from the fabric. 

2. With a hand sewing needle and matching thread, work running stitches around the edge of the circle about 1/8 inch (3mm) in from the edge (fig. 1). Pull tightly and flatten the circle. Tie off and sew the 3/8-inch button to the center of the flower to cover the raw edges (fig. 2). 

3. Tack the flower to the upper left of the T-shirt.

The Perfect Party Dress for Your 18-inch Doll
That's all there is to it! Check out Joan's brand new DVD, The Perfect Party Dress For Your 18-inch Doll for more doll sewing fun. On this DVD, Joan will guide you in constructing a to-the-waist lined yoke dress with a gathered skirt, puffed sleeves and a double-ruffle hem. You'll learn tons of tips and techniques along the way, and doll shoes are included as a bonus project to complete this party dress ensemble.

Sew On, Sew Well, Sew Beautiful,
Cyndi and Amelia

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Choosing Fabric for Doll Clothes

Just like clothing for little girls, fashion for 18-inch dolls has many unique elements. Dresses, shirts, pants, skirts, jackets, sleepwear and accessories are all essentials for a complete wardrobe, and choosing the right fabrics to make these small garments is important. 

Below, we'd like to share some handy fabric-selecting tips with you from two of doll expert Joan Hinds' popular books, All Dolled Up and Doll Fashion Studio:

Flowered Party Dress
Cotton - Many doll garments are made from cotton fabrics, and a lot of cotton prints today are designed to have several companion prints. These make bright, colorful clothes that girls love, like the "Flowered Party Dress" pictured here.

Embroidered Jeans
Denim - For fabrics other than cottons, the weight of the fabric is important. Making jeans for dolls - like the "Embroidered Jeans" - is much easier, and the fit is better, if the denim is lightweight. Another choice for jeans would be a chambray or lightweight twill. 

Knits - Knits are good to use for making doll T-shirts. Many people may hesitate to sew with knits, but they're not difficult to work within the T-shirts since the smaller pieces tend not to stretch as much as larger ones. Sewing with knits only requires a few minor changes:

• Make sure your sewing machine needle is appropriate for knits. 

• The seams in the knit garments are quite short, which helps eliminate stretching. Use a straight or zigzag stitch if using your sewing machine, or stitch the seams with a serger. 

• You may want to try a double needle for hems on shirts and leggings. 

Fleece Vest
Fleece - For fleece garments, stay away from very heavy fleece. If you can find a microfleece fabric, this works the best for doll garments. The fleece used on the "Fleece Vest," with good results, is medium weight. 

Classic Nightgown
Flannel - Flannel prints are good choices for sleepwear, as pictured on the "Classic Nightgown."

Rainy Day Fashion Raincoat
Laminated Cotton - Laminated cotton, which was used on the "Rainy Day Fashion Raincoat," is fabric with a protective finish applied to the surface. Follow these tips to make sewing on laminated cotton easier:

• Only put pins inside the seam allowance when cutting and sewing your fabric. Pins will leave a permanent mark on the fabric. Try using double-sided or cellophane tape to hold the fabrics together when cutting and sewing. 

• Do not press the fabric from the right side because the coating on the fabric will melt. Press only if needed on the wrong side or on the lining side.

• Use a sharp needle, size 12, with a 1/8-inch stitch length. If needed, try a Teflon-coated presser foot when topstitching to keep the foot from sticking.

Scale - Larger-scale prints can look great in doll clothing if they match a girl's outfit. Sometimes, prints have companion fabrics with both large- and small-scale motifs. If you're making matching outfits for a girl and doll, use the larger pattern for girls and the smaller one for dolls. 

Weight - The weight of the fabric will have a bearing on some of the techniques used. For example, some garments in All Dolled Up have a ruffle that is made by doubling the width of the fabric. It is folded in half with wrong sides together and stitched to the garment. The need for a hem is eliminated, and the ruffle has more body. If you're using a cotton fabric for a doll garment, a double fabric ruffle will be appropriate. If you're using a heavier flannel, the doll ruffles consist of only a single layer of fabric. You may need to adjust the pattern depending on your fabric choice. 

Sewing Secrets for Doll Clothing
For more doll sewing tips and tricks, check out Joan's new DVD, Sewing Secrets for Doll Clothing. On this DVD, Joan will show you measure your doll, create a paper towel pattern, match it to patterns in a pattern book and adjust if necessary. She'll also teach you all about tiny tools and notions, fabric tips, pressing tricks and much more!

Sew On, Sew Well, Sew Beautiful,
Cyndi and Amelia

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Homemade Gift Ideas for Everyone on Your List

Stitch Craft Create Gifts 2013
With the holidays around the corner, many of us are thinking about what kind of special gifts we can make for our friends and family members this year. Of course, garments, linens and home decor items are always popular and well-received, but there are lots of other creative gifts you can stitch up as well. Our sister magazine, Stitch Craft Create, recently released a special edition devoted entirely to the concept of homemade gift giving. Below, we've shared photos of some of the fabulous projects this issue includes, as well as a list of other small project ideas to jumpstart your planning.

Garter Mug Cozies (left) and Pretty Storage Pocket
Men's Custom Tie
Bath Time Buddies (left) and Modern Stars and Stripes & Square Jack Pillow
Girl's Weekend at the Lake Quilt (left) and Garden Baby Bib
Small project ideas:
• Set of table napkins: Use several fabrics from your stash that play well together. Cut, hem tie with a ribbon and you're done.

• Set of placemats: Same drill as with the napkins. You may want to line the mats to make them more substantial.

• Journal covers: Purchase journals and make fun covers for them.

• iPad/iPod/iPhone padded cases: Pad a case with washable batting and hand-stitch it sashiko-style.

• Pillows: Stamp, paint or stencil a design on canvas, then stitch the fabric into rounds, squares or bolsters.

• Throws: How about denim for the outer layer and a cozy lining of soft flannel?

• Basket: Make an outer cover and/or lining for a purchased basket. If you have time, sewing fabric strips together makes a unique quilted basket.

• Cuff/wristlets: Quick, but oh-so-fashionable. Denim scraps are great for a base.

• Canvas dog chew: Really simple! Cut and sew a bone shape, stuff and stitch. (A small, catnip-filled mouse is just right for a cat.)

• Pet collars: Only fabric scraps required. Embellish with ribbon and rickrack.

• Children's pajama bags: How about a cat's head with a flap in back to hang on the closet door?

• Child's superhero cape: Appliqué a super-sized first initial for the hero!

• Sleep masks: Fill with a restful herb mix.

• Sewing-machine cover: For your friend who hasn't discovered the dangers of dust.

• Chef's apron: Perfect for your grillster.

• Pot holders: Everyone needs more of these.

• Holiday ornaments: Stuff and stitch shapes, adding a ribbon to hang.

For more great gift ideas, be sure to check out Stitch Craft Create Gifts 2013. Inside are tutorials for 50+ homemade gifts. With projects involving sewing, paper, jewelry, yarn and more, this will be your go-to issue to inspire a perfect gift for everyone on your list. 

Sew On, Sew Well, Sew Beautiful,
Cyndi and Amelia