April’s Sewing Goal: Make Zipper Pouches with Repurposed Clothes

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Thrifted shirts (one from my closet) and zippers destined to become pouches.

It’s time for April’s One Monthly Goal Link-Up by Elm Street Quilts!

My sewing goal for April is to make more zipper pouches (at least 3) using clothes that I’ve purchased at the thrift store (and a shirt I pulled from my own closet). Last Christmas, I tried my hand at making zipper pouches as gifts. I loved making them! So much so, that I purchased 5 metal zippers in February to make pouches with. And, I still have a ton of zippers from the lot I purchased for the Christmas gifts.

Recently, I’ve been inspired to refashion clothing from the thrift store into new things. People donate clothing for a variety of reasons. Sometimes their bodies have changed and the clothing no longer fits. Sometimes their lifestyles have changed and they no longer need a particular type/style of clothing (think someone retiring from a professional job where they had to wear business attire). The clothing you find at a thrift store isn’t all out of style and worn out!

I found two men’s shirts made from really nice fabric that I thought would make nice pouches. I found a 100% silk dress that is too small for me, but I thought may work, too. Then, I’ve had that green shirt with the blue and white flowers since I was in college. Folks, that was around 15 years ago. I rarely wore the shirt when I first bought it and actually never did. Yet, I carried it around with me, never putting it into the donation pile. I think the reason is because I love the fabric too much! Now, I’ll put the fabric into action!

Stay tuned! I’ll share what I make at the end of the month!

How to Make an Ohio Star Cardinal Quilt Block

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Ohio Star quilt block made to look like the profile of of a cardinal, Ohio’s state bird.

The cardinal block of my Ohio Star Quilt is one of my favorites, so I wanted to improve the design, make it larger, and turn it into a pillow cover. The cardinal is Ohio’s state bird and I love spotting them. It makes sense to me to sew a traditional Ohio Star quilt block to look like the iconic bird.

When I first made my Ohio Star Cardinal block for my Ohio Star Quilt, I used this tutorial. It’s a really good tutorial, but because the cardinal colors don’t fit into the traditional pattern, I had to unpick a lot of pieces to make it work. This time, I wanted to make a larger block (16” vs. 12”) to fit a pillow form I had on hand, and I didn’t want to unpick anything. It’s important to me to maintain the Ohio Star piecing. That is, to have 4 blocks that are made from quarter square triangles. In my block, you’ll see that there is an opportunity to make 2 sky QSTs into one larger triangle, but this would break the traditional pattern.

Let’s get started!

Ohio Star Cardinal 16” Quilt Block

Fabric:

Sky: 3 x 5 7/8” squares & 2 x 6 5/8” squares

Black: 1 x 6 5/8” square

Orange: 1 x 6 5/8” square

Red 1: 1 x 5 7/8” square & 1 x 6 5/8” square

Red 2: 1 x 5 7/8” square & 1 x 6 5/8” square

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Fabric needed for one 16″ block.

Seam allowances are ¼”.

1. Cut all of the 6 5/8” squares diagonally twice so that you have 4 triangles from each square.

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Cut larger squares diagonally into 4 triangles each.

2. Arrange the triangles and 5 7/8” squares as shown to create a cardinal profile. You’ll have some spare triangles.

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Layout of Ohio Star Cardinal block
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Leftover triangles. Save them for a future cardinal or add them to the scrap pile.

Side note: I didn’t have enough of one of my preferred red fabrics to cut a full 6 5/8” square. I thought that orange-brown, feather-like print would work. Nope. I didn’t like it at all once I cut it out. I MacGuyvered a template by laying a triangle ruler I have (with a 90-degree angle) over one of the triangles I had cut, and placing masking tape where the bottom of the triangle was. I then moved the template over to my preferred fabric and lined the masking tape up with the edge of the fabric. I was able to fussy cut all of my Red 2 triangles. Give it a try if you need to fussy cut your fabric!

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I lined up the template on the triangle, then placed the masking tape. I put the tape on the side opposite of the printing, just in case it would remove it.
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I lined up the tape with the edge of the fabric and fussy cut the triangle.

3. Sew the first set of triangles together as shown below. Press the seams

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If you align all of the sewn triangles the same way and press the seams in the same direction, they’ll nest nicely in the next step.

4. Sew the larger triangles together as shown below. Press the seams.

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Nest the seams if possible for nice center points.

5. Sew the squares together as shown below. Press the seams.

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This is the point when things start to really come together!

6. Sew the rows together. Press the seams.

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So close to seeing the final block.

7. Look at you! You have an Ohio Star Cardinal!

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So pretty! Pat yourself on the back!

Bonus! To make it into a quilted pillow cover with an envelope closure:

1. Baste the block using your preferred batting and backing and method. I’m a fan of pin basting. I used cotton batting here because it is what I had on hand, plus, it is thin. I used natural muslin for the backing, which I use for a lot of my quilts, but note that your backing here will not be visible once the cover is completed.

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Pin-basted Ohio Star Cardinal block

2. Quilt it! I machine quilted it along the 9-patch and then on the inside of the star. Since I maintained the traditional Ohio Star piecing, outlining the star with quilting emphasizes the pattern.

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I used a fabric pencil to mark 1/4″ inside the star.

3. Trim it up!

4. Cut 2 panels of fabric that measure 10 ¼” x 16 ½”. I chose to use my sky fabric for the back.

5. Hem one 16 ½” end of each of the back panels by pressing ¼” down and then over again and stitching down.

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Hemmed back panels

6. Align the 16 ½” unfinished ends of the back panels with the top and bottom of the block. The correct sides of the back panels and the cardinal block should be facing each other, as if the pillow cover is inside out. The panels will overlap by a few inches, which will create the envelope closure.

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Envelope closures are simple to stitch.

7. Stitch around the entire block using a ¼” seam allowance.

8. Turn that thing inside out and stuff it with a pillow form!

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Finished front
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Finished back. Slipping the pillow form in is easy peasy.

9. Admire your fancy, made-by-you throw pillow.

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There is such satisfaction in making something with your hands.

What do you think? Wanna try your hand at an Ohio Star Cardinal? Show me what you make! If you post it on Instagram, tag me @tbudco and use #OhioStarCardinal. Or hop over to my Contact page and let me know you have a cardinal to show off!

Easy-Peasy Upcycled Valentine’s Day Sweater

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My new Valentine’s Day sweater made from thrifted/upcycled sweaters!

It recently dawned on me that if I can have a festive Christmas sweater, why can’t I have an equally festive Valentine’s Day sweater? I love my Lands’ End red and white Fair Isle Christmas sweater and have been wearing it since I purchased it in college. (I’m fully aware that it’s corny. I love what I love and can’t help it!) Because I’ve been dabbling in making my own clothes and repurposing/upcycling clothes, I set out to create my own design with thrifted sweaters.

My quest started at the thrift store and my stash of material. First, I found a sweater at the thrift store. I specifically was looking for sweater in a neutral color, made from natural fibers. I scored a dark gray, 100% cotton sweater—perfect! Then, I hit my stash for material for a heart appliqué. For my daughter’s first birthday, I made her stuffed chicken toys from a pinkish-orange, cable-knit thrifted sweater. I knew I had scraps leftover, and dug them out.

I traced a heart onto a sheet of computer paper. (I could have gotten fancy with tissue paper, but the shape was so simple, a plain sheet of paper worked fine.) I trimmed around the heart leaving a little bit of paper around the edges. I did this because I wanted to make the cut of the heart from the sweater scrap itself.

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I used paper from my printer to trace a heart shape, trimmed it, and pinned it to the sweater scrap to cut out the appliqué.

I was careful to line the pattern on the sweater scrap so that the cable knit pattern was somewhat symmetrical. After the pattern was pinned on, I carefully cut the heart out.

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I used a ruler (and a lot of fussing) to place the heart on the gray sweater.

Placement is always tricky—I wanted to have the heart in a good place vertically and centered horizontally. I tried the sweater on, placed the heart where I thought it looked good, and marked the sweater so I could see where I had placed the heart after taking off the sweater. I folded the sweater in half (shoulder to shoulder) so I could find the horizontal center and placed a pin to mark it. Really, I just fussed with the heart until I was happy.

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A blanket stitch is pretty simple (once I remembered how to do it) and creates a crafty style.

A little bit of washable glue stick and several pins later, I was ready to stitch! I used a blanket stitch with white embroidery floss I had on hand to secure the heart to the sweater. (Side note: it’s not until I actually have needle to fabric that I can remember how to do a blanket stitch. I have such a hard time visualizing it in my head. I think this is why I can’t parallel park. Haha!)

 

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Detail of the completed heart.

Voilà! I now have a cheery Valentine’s sweater to wear in the weeks leading up to the big day! I love it! One of my favorite things about it is the contrast of the smooth, plain knit of the gray sweater and the textured, cable knit of the appliquéd heart.

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Oh, say! This is a nice sweater. I just may wear it all winter long!

Full disclosure: I haven’t washed it yet. Eeep! So, I don’t know how it will fare. But! If the heart starts to come off, I have confidence that I can fix it or redecorate the sweater altogether.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some Valentine’s Day cheer to spread!

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My new Valentine’s Day sweater made from thrifted/upcycled sweaters!

My 2019 Quilting & Sewing To Make List

It’s the new year and naturally there are a lot of resolutions, goals, and project lists being shared. Usually, I wouldn’t write down a “to make” list, but I feel like it’s a great way to stay focused and get some UFOs (unfinished objects) completed.

Here’s what I want to make and finish in 2019:

Start:

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AnneMarie Chany’s Conversation Sampler Quilt pattern with the fabrics I plan to use.

AnneMarie Chany‘s Conversation Sampler Quilt: This row of the month quilt caught my eye on social media and I knew I had to make it. It’s a sampler, so I’m hoping to expand my quilting skills. I plan on making the heart white with a variety of pink fabric for a scrappy look, and using the navy-purplish fabric for the background.

I bought the printed pattern so I could have all the directions at once (instead of month-by-month in digital form) and perhaps work ahead if I find myself with time on my hands. Haha! Like that will happen!

 

Finish Piecing:

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My still in-progress Down the Rabbit Hole Quilt. Please ignore those sandals. Haha!

Sarah Fielke’s Down the Rabbit Hole Quilt: I love this quilt, but I’m in the middle of needle-turn appliqueing the second to last borders. It’s taking some time. But, I’m determined to get this quilt top done in 2019! (I’m going to cut myself some slack and put off basting, quilting, and binding it until 2020. Heehee!)

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My in-progress Rudolph Quilt. Confession: My husband and I are obsessed with the Bumble.

Rudolph Panel Christmas Quilt: After Thanksgiving, everyone started posting pictures of their Christmas quilts. I wanted in on the action! I have had a Ruldolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer panel in my stash for a few years. It makes a fabric book, but I was gifted the exact same (finished) book a couple of years ago. It didn’t make sense to stitch up a second book, so I decided to cut out the pages as blocks and add some borders. I need to attach a few more borders and then I can baste, quilt, and bind this one. (Which, I think is also a reasonable goal for this year.)

 

Quilt and Bind:

Ohio Star Quilt: This was my year-long project for 2018. I loved making each of these blocks and they’re now all stitched together and I’m in the middle of hand quilting it. I want to get the quilting and binding done soon, like in the first 6 months of the year—I’m all about setting attainable goals. Ha! I’m putting this one on a front burner.

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Dazzling Pineapple Patch Quilt: top is done, but I need to follow through with basting, quilting, and binding.

Dazzling Pineapple Patch Quilt: I contemplated doing some big stitch hand quilting on this one, but the pineapple block has about a million pieces to it, which means there are a lot of seams, which are HARD to slip a needle through. So, I will machine quilt this one. I’m excited to get this quilt finished—the colors make me happy.

 

Apparel:

Grainline Studio’s Farrow Dress: I made Grainline Studio’s Scout Tee last year and I not only enjoyed making it, but I love the way it fits. I want to expand my apparel making skills, and what better way than with another Grainline Studio pattern for a garment that I desperately need? See, in the past few years, I’ve gained a bit of weight and my body has changed shaped (thanks, kiddos!). That’s all to say, the LBD that was my “baptism, graduation, wedding, and funeral dress” no longer fits very well. And, I feel like everyone should have one garment in their closet at all times for these occasions. I’m looking to make the Farrow Dress as the replacement.

 

Miscellaneous:

Fix My M&M’s Quilt: I’ve heard that quilts are heirloom pieces that last forever and can be passed down. Are people sleeping under these quilts? Maybe I’m just hard on my bedding, but my quilts wear down. I have a M&M’s-themed quilt my mom made me for my high school graduation. I slept under it regularly until I received other quilts to rotate into usage. Well, after about 16 years of sleeping with it, my M&M’s quilt is showing wear at the top—the binding is falling off and the fabric has worn through to the batting. I have a plan for fixing it (there’s still a lot of use left in this quilt!) and this is the year I WILL mend it and put it back into rotation.

Projects as They Catch My Fancy: Let’s face it: I’m going to find other projects to start and maybe finish. Perhaps I’ll make more apparel. Maybe I’ll pick up one of the 2 quilt patterns I bought last year (but didn’t start). I’m keeping an open mind!

I’ve shown you my to make list, now show me yours! What are you going to make this year?

The 7 Quilting and Sewing Projects I Finished in 2018

In January of 2017, I started a block of the month quilt and while it is still in progress, I haven’t looked back. In 2018, I started streamlining my crafts and focusing on quilting and sewing. I get a lot of energy and joy from sewing and so I naturally want to share, even though I know my work isn’t particularly special. I enjoy seeing other’s work, too. So, how about a roundup of the things I finished in 2018. (There is still plenty that was started.) Some of my finishes will look familiar, others I’m sharing here for the first time.

Dazzling Pineapple Block Study

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Dazzling Pineapple Block Mini Quilt

I made this one to see what tying a quilt with sequins and beads would look like. It was an itch that I had to scratch. I like it! I started a larger pineapple quilt, but chose such snazzy colors, I don’t want to finish it with sequins—it would be too much. That quilt top is completed, but it needs to be basted, quilted, and bound. See my post about the mini quilt here.

 

Daughter & Mom Matching Dress & Shirt

This one has been on my “to do” list since my daughter was born. I loved how they turned out and I especially love the fit of my Grainline Scout Tee, which I’ve worn several times. However, my daughter wore her dress for the first half of a day before changing into something else. What can I say? Kids are fickle, but I’m still glad I made these! See my full post on this project here.

 

Welcome Blanket Quilt

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Welcome Blanket Quilt

This quilt was the quickest I think I’ve ever made anything of this size (approximately 45″ square). I couldn’t dawdle, though, because there was a deadline to participate in the Welcome Blanket project. I love how this quilt came out and how simple it was to make. The hardest part of giving away a quilt anonymously is that you don’t know if it’s being used and if it’s bringing the comfort you imagine and hope it will. Read more about this one here.

 

Repurposed Handkerchiefs

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Handkerchiefs made from an old flannel bedsheet.

I don’t know if this one really belongs on this list, but it took me just about a whole day to stitch up these handkerchiefs fashioned from an old bedsheet. And, I was just hemming each side! It’s a reminder that not all sewing is glamorous, but it still has purpose and is enjoyable. Read more about the “why” and “how” here.

 

Sea Glass Pop Mini Quilt

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Sea Glass Pop Mini Quilt

This 5” x 7” quilt went to the 2018 Secret ArtWorks fundraiser that raised funds for ArtWorks, a local organization that promotes arts in this area. The title came after a brainstorming session with my sister and expresses how the trio of orange triangles pop like pieces of sea glass on a beach. (If you look closely, the light blue fabric has a sand dollar print and the dark blue fabric has a seaweed-inspired print.) Again, this quilt I gave away and I have no idea how it was received!

 

Library Totes

This year, I joined my local chapter of the Modern Quilt Guild. In November, we exchanged names for a gift swap. I decided to make a tote—um, my first one! I purchased another member’s pattern from Craftsy. (Unfortunately, I can’t find the pattern anymore. Craftsy just went through some major changes.) I decided to make two simultaneously. This project highlighted the fact that I am very much a batch sewist. If I’m going to take the time to sew up one thing, I might as well make two, because, really how much more effort will it require? I have the supplies and tools already out! Ha!

I loved making these. I gave the green/blue triangle tote to my fellow member and kept the bird one for myself. It works very well and I see myself doing more bag making.

 

Zipper Pouches

In fact, I’ve already done more bag making! After finishing the totes, I had a little bit more time dedicated for sewing, so I whipped up a zipper pouch using a pattern by Sotak Patterns. I was amazed at how easy it was! So, I decided to make 10 more. Batch sewist, indeed! I had my young daughter help pick out fabrics and choose who got each pouch for Christmas. It was a fun project and, again, I see myself making more bags!

Now, on to tackle my 2019 to-make list!