Tag Archives: sewing projects

2018 Resolutions: Completing My UFOs

If you’re on a mission to complete your UFOs (Unfinished Objects) and Sewing Projects, you’ll love this blog!

Welcome to 2018!

It’s overwhelming to think about how fast time flies; it seems like this year has flown by so fast. However, I know it’s good to keep busy, and life certainly keeps me busy!

Like most of you, I enjoy setting goals for the new year – and often find myself doing this several times a year just to stay on top of things.

For 2018, I decided to set a goal to work on my UFOs. Those of you that sew a lot probably know what that stands for – UnFinished Objects!

If you are a sewer or crafter of any kind, you probably have a few UFOs of your own hanging around.

I hate to admit it, but I have quite a few. In fact, I have three big bins marked “UFOs #1,” “UFOs #2,” and “UFOs #3.” However, what’s worse is I’m sure there are more than that!

Interestingly enough, most of these projects only needed a small amount of work to be completed.

So here are my goals for my UFOs:

  • Figure out how many UFOs I actually have.
  • Set a deadline to finish them.
  • Get to work on getting them done.

So here is my start…

In UFO bin #1, I found four different projects to complete. Luckily, they were easy to finish and fun to work on!

Project #1:  My sister sent me a pattern for what I call a “snap bag.” Many of my sewing students have made them over the years. I love them, and they are fast and easy to make.

One of my sewing students gave me this fabric. It was leftover from one of her previous projects, and I had enough to make two.

What makes them snap is metal measuring tape, cut into 8 inch pieces. One was already done, and the other one took me just 10 minutes to complete! Here is the finished product:

UFOs

 

Project #2: This project entailed finishing a small and cute drawstring bag. Again, a student had given me this small piece of fabric, and I had wanted to use it to make a bag to put my shoes in so I could put it in my suitcase while traveling to and from my mom’s house in Idaho.

This project was almost done – it took me just 5 minutes to finish! I love the fabric, and I know my shoes will be happy when I travel.

UFOs

 

Project #3: My daughter decided that the colors of her new kitchen would be green. So I made her an apron, and started a table runner in that color. And then she changed her color to turquoise.

As you can imagine, I never finished the table runner. However, I realized her dining room table is separate from her kitchen, and the colors in the room are fairly generic. So I decided to finish it.

The runner just needed to be machine-quilted and edge-finished. This project only took me about 30 minutes to complete. I gave the finished product to my daughter, and she loved it! Here it is:

UFOs UFOs

 

Project #4: I made an advent calendar for my daughter years ago, and it just needed refreshing. Numbers had fallen off, and animals (and their eyes) had gone missing.

Thankfully, it’s much better now – it only took me about an hour to make it look like new again. Here’s the finished product:UFOs

There you have it! In a flash, I already have four of my UFOs finished.

So, my challenge to you (if you want to join me) is to start finding and finishing your own UFOs!

Sewing Tip: It can be so much easier to let UFOs intimidate me and to let them go unfinished. That’s because my brain often tricks me into thinking they’ll take WAY longer to complete than they actually do. But, as you can see, I finished all four projects in under two hours! My advice to anyone is simply to take courage and start the process of finishing your UFOs. You’ll likely be surprised at how fun they are to finish – and how little time it takes to do so!

Next month, I’ll let you know how well I did on completing my goals. Happy New Year, and good luck to those of you that choose to join me on my quest to conquer UFOs!

Happy Sewing!

JoLene

 

hand sewn quilt

A Gift To My Mother: My Hand Sewn Quilt

I’m so excited to show you my new hand sewn quilt!

My mom is getting older, and has been ill for the last few years. Because of this, I wanted to make this upcoming sewing project extra special.

As her birthday approached in September, I wondered what I could make her for a present. Having my sister Donna being her full-time caregiver, and my other sister Tonya helping out too, most things are done around the house (so there aren’t many things she needs)

After a few weeks of racking my brain, I decided a quilt was in order. I went to my go-to place for ideas (Pinterest) and began looking. I wanted something that would show her that she has a ton of people that love and care for her.

After a little while of searching, I found the perfect idea: a family tree.

I figured out my next steps and, with fabric in hand, began this project of love for my  mother.

Step 1: I selected my background fabric (a white-on-white pattern looking somewhat like clouds), and the tree fabric (which looks like tree bark). I cut out the bark and placed it where I wanted it to go on the white fabric.

Then, I applied “Wonder Under” – an iron glue – to stick it firmly in place. It ended up looking exactly as I wanted it to.

hand sewn quilt

Step 2: I then sewed around the outline of the tree with a blanket stitch. This added subtle detailing and ensured the tree stayed in place.

hand sewn quilt

Step 3: I looked online and found the perfect phrase to add to my quilt, as well as a heart with my parents’ names in it. I machine-embroidered these on with my fancy sewing machine, and took a look at my handiwork. I loved it!

hand sewn quilt

hand sewn quilt

Step 4: Now I wanted to make sure the names of our whole family were on it. These included my mom’s three daughters, seven grandkids (and their spouses), and 12 great-grandkids.

I wanted her to be able to identify which children belonged to whom, so I grouped them each family together – each daughter with her kids and grandkids – and put these families in different colored leaves.

I machine embroidered each name onto a leaf, and applied them to the quilt the same way I did the tree. I also blanket-stitched each leaf (like I did the tree), but with black thread to make them stand out.

Step 5: I chose very soft minky for the back – this is a very soft fabric similar to fleece, but is softer and thicker. I also found a red border to go around it, since that’s Mom’s favorite color.

hand sewn quilt

I decided not to stitch the minky into the quilt, as I knew doing so would bunch and tear the delicate fabric.

Here’s how it looked when all was said and done:

hand sewn quilt

Note: I completed this project with the help of my baby lock embroidery machine – it has many fancy stitches! However, you don’t need to have a fancy machine to make a quilt or wall hanging like this.

Instead of a blanket stitch around the tree and leaves, you can do a satin stitch, or just a zigzag stitch. Whichever you choose, make sure to follow the directions in your machine’s book.

For the phrase at the bottom, you can use machine embroidery, or can sew it on by hand. You can also write the words using fabric pens. There are many ways to get the job done!

This project was very difficult for me mentally, knowing that my mom’s time here on earth is short. But, through it all, I was able to take comfort in knowing that this project had a very personal message: “I love you. WE love you. And we want you to know just how much.”

Sewing Tip: I have said this before, and I’ll say it again: homemade gifts from the heart are always the best. It may be tempting to purchase a present from the store, but in the end a homemade gift speaks volumes, and is so much more meaningful. Not to mention, the process of creating is fun enough to make it all worth it!

I’m not sure what my next sewing project will be yet – it will be a surprise!

Happy Sewing!

JoLene

ironing board cover

I LOVE My New Handsewn Ironing Board Cover!

Did you know? I now have a brand new ironing board cover!

Redecorating my sewing studio has been sew fun! I began decorating the walls, then made brand new sewing machine covers, as well as a beautiful and functional new seawing apron. I thought I was set, until I realized – I could use a new ironing board cover!

Pictured below is one of my original ironing board covers. I’ve loved having it, and it’s gotten a ton of use over the last three years.ironing board cover

Three years ago, I covered all of my ironing boards with the same material. I then separated them by type: one for clothing, one for making quilts, and a third for everything else.

I chose the one for quilts specifically because it has two square ends (rather than rounded ends), making it much easier to iron large pieces of fabric. Sometimes, I need two quilting boards just for one sewing class!

Unfortunately, ironing board covers really don’t last long in my studio since my students and I are constantly ironing our projects every single day. As you can see, my original cover now has a very large burn due to all the heavy traffic!ironing board cover

Sewing An Ironing Board Cover: My Process

As such, I thought it was high time to sew a new ironing cover to replace my old, burned one. Luckily, ironing board covers are surprisingly easy to sew! Plus, the fun part is picking out fabric to really make it your own. You can even choose material that matches your decor.

For my new ironing board covers, I chose a pattern with red and black scissors on it. You can buy patterns at a fabric store, get them online, or just make them yourself.

To begin, I took my old ironing board cover off, laid it on top of my new fabric, and cut around the edges so that it would be the right size.

Then, I placed bias tape over the edges of the fabric. The brand I buy contains iron-on tape on both sides, so I just ironed the tape onto the fabric, and then sewed it on to keep it in place.

I then threaded string into the casing that was formed after sewing on the bias tape. I pulled the string tight, and then laid it onto the ironing board to tie it. Easy as that!   

ironing board coverironing board cover

I LOVE My New Handsewn Ironing Board Cover!

My ironing board covers turned out great! Here are some pictures of the final product:

ironing board coverironing board cover

Sewing Tip: The bias tape I used for this project has iron-on tape on both sides. This makes my projects go much faster, with very little stress! However, there are brands out there that don’t offer this feature – and I could have wasted a lot of extra time and hassle had I not known! When you’re selecting new sewing supplies, I suggest doing your research first, looking at reviews of the products (if you’re online, specifically on Amazon), and seeing if there’s a brand out there that works more efficiently than the others. Even if it’s a little more expensive, trust me – you’ll thank yourself later!

Slowly but surely, my studio is coming together. Stay tuned for details on my next sewing project: handsewn pincushions.

Happy Sewing!

JoLene

Check Out My New Sewing Apron!

I’ve been teaching my sewing classes for over eight years now, but it took a while to realize I would need a sewing apron to make the job easier!

When I first began teaching, I was always running back and forth through the studio to grab supplies to help the students. This gave me quite the workout, but it was also frustrating not having everything on-hand whenever I needed it. Not to mention, this made it much easier to lose things in the process!

This process went on for a while, until I came up with an idea: I could make things much easier on myself by creating a customized sewing apron to fit my needs.

Check Out My New Sewing Apron!

This project came in stages, as I tried new things and figured out what worked best. The first version was a simple, 3-pocket apron sewn out of linen. This worked great for a few years, but as I got busier I came to the conclusion that I needed more pockets to hold everything.

I sat down and sewed a new sewing apron, which is the one I use today. First, I used some leftover fabric that I had made my sewing machine covers out of (along with some twill tape), so that my apron would match my new studio. (Haven’t seen my new sewing machine covers? Click here to see them!).

I then sewed two rows of pockets across the front, which would be ideal for organizing my supplies. The top row has small, narrow pockets – necessary for organizing my sewing gauge, fabric marking tools, writing pens, and other skinny, narrow objects.

I sewed larger pockets for the bottom row to hold things like my painters tape (to be a sewing guide on the sewing machine), receipt book, seam rippers, small screwdrivers, bobbins, cough drops, chapstick, etc.

I absolutely love my new sewing apron – it’s extremely useful! Now I have everything I need at all times, right at my fingertips.

Here’s a picture of the final product:

Sewing Tip:

One of my favorite things about my new sewing apron is that I can use it for a variety of activities. For example, it makes things like gardening, cooking, and cleaning much easier! Once you sew something you love, try to think up new, creative ways to use it. The more versatile your creation, the more you’ll appreciate it (and the less extra items you’ll have to sew unnecessarily).

Stay tuned for my next blog, where I’ll show you my new ironing board cover.

Happy Sewing!

JoLene

 

sewing machine covers

My Latest Project: Sewing Machine Covers

Today I’ll be showcasing my latest project: new sewing machine covers!

One of my greatest delights comes from being able to sew something myself, rather than purchasing it from a store. I love taking ordinary materials, and transforming them into something functional and fun. As a result, almost everything in my sewing studio is hand-sewn by me!

My sewing students love walking through my studio, pointing to things and asking, “Did you make this? How about that?” This has inspired me to continue sewing new pieces to show my kids that, when you put your mind to it, you can create something that looks just as good (if not better) than what you can buy from a store.

One of my most recent projects has been sewing brand new sewing machine covers for my studio sewing machines. This has been such a fun project, since I’ve gotten the opportunity to work with different fabrics and piece together a creative and cohesive look for my studio.

First, I found some fun fabric in three different colors: red, white, and black. This was perfect for me, since it would match the new décor in my studio. I also gathered some fun looking buttons, as well as some twill tape with measuring tape printed on it. This would work as my trim.

Then, I went to work on my sewing covers. I must say, these came out even better than I expected them to! Plus, I was able to use my creativity to come up with a truly unique design that is a reflection of my unique style. The kids love them!

I made six of these covers – one for each of my students’ sewing machines, one for my machine, and one for my serger. . The project turned out to be a complete success! You can see the finished product in the pictures below:sewing machine covers

sewing machine covers

sewing machine covers

Sewing Tip:

If you are sewing something for yourself, make it your own! Get creative and choose fabrics and accessories that you love. Don’t be afraid to take a risk, or to try something new. Remember: you can always change something if you want to. However, these projects often turn out much better than you’d expect! By making something your own, you can be proud of the work you put in, and the piece will truly be a reflection of you.

Stay tuned for next month’s blog, where I’ll tell you all about my new sewing apron.

Happy Sewing!

JoLene

A Many-Pocketed Big Bag with Personality

In the summer heat, Christmas might feel far away, but it’s never too early to start scheming what handmade gifts you want to make for friends and loved ones.

Last Christmas, I made this bag for Heather, a dear friend.  She likes big bags to carry all her treasures, and has a variety of bags for different purposes. Though I’m not sure what she uses this one for; I thought of her when I saw this pattern.

JoLene Heather Bag

One of the things I like is that this bag has many pockets, but is not your traditional bag. It has personality! It seemed like the perfect fit. For the fabric, I chose two colors from the same color palette. One has big bright flowers and the other stripes in the same colors. I love the outside pocket on each side and pockets on the inside. The magnetic closure is the perfect touch. It was so fun to make! One of the fun parts is overcoming a challenge, and the handle gave me a bit of trouble. I took it apart  a couple of times to get it to lay just right. The satisfaction of getting it just so is tremendous!

The final result is just delightful! This would make a great beach bag or farmers market bag. The pattern I used (Butterick B5658) has several different styles. Make one for you and a friend or one of each for all of your bag needs.

Jolene Bag Pattern

Happy sewing,

JoLene

A Rainy Day Sewing Project for Rainy Days

As everyone knows, Oregon and rain go hand in hand, at least during this part of the year!

When I arrived Oregon for the first time, I was 20 and came to visit a high school friend living in Corvallis. What a wonderful place! I just loved it. I visited during November and the whole time I was here it was raining this light mist. Everything seemed to explode with different colors of green. Not long after, I moved to Corvallis and vowed never to take the wonderful trees and the green landscape for granted.

I have now lived in Oregon for over 30 years, in Corvallis, Salem, and Portland. Umbrellas are a necessity in this climate.

A while ago, a student asked me to help her make an umbrella kit that she bought from Cool Cottons, a fantastic fabric store on Hawthorne in SE Portland. Ever since then, I’ve wanted to make my own.

So here it is! I had such fun with this, from picking the fabric to the quick and simple assembly. It’s very easy to make; you just purchase the frame and pattern, all available at Cool Cottons. There is only one pattern piece that you cut out 8 times, sew them together, and finish the seams. You put the finished cover on the frame, tack it down, and waterproof the fabric.

Voila! You have your very own Oregon Umbrella.

It’s such a joy to create things that are unique and further make it your own, matching your personality and interests. As you can see in the pictures, I made my umbrella a sewing theme, with a tape measure cotton fabric pattern.

This would be a great project for any of you to try! Stretch your wings and try something out of the ordinary.

Happy sewing,
JoLene

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