DIY Art Made With Fabric

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I’m currently working on some homemade nursery decor as we are expecting a baby girl in early September.  🙂 So far, I’ve made a window cornice box, a mobile, this nursery art and am working on reupholstering a chair using the “Around Town” fabric collection by “Small Factory.”  I found it on sale at a local quilt shop.  Although it doesn’t necessarily scream “newborn baby” I love how girly and friendly it looks!

To start, I purchased these blank canvases on sale at Michael’s.  (If you haven’t noticed, I rarely buy anything for my projects that isn’t on sale!)

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The canvas I used was 12″ x 12″ so I cut a 15″ x 15″ square of fabric to have enough to wrap the fabric around to the back. Then I followed these steps:

First, lay the fabric, right side down, on the table then place the blank canvas, right side down, on top.  It doesn’t have to be perfect but centre the canvas as best you can on the fabric. Fold up the bottom edge of fabric.  To make sure it’s straight use the pattern as a guide.  (If you look closely at the photo below, I used the windows and bricks on the fabric as a visual to make sure the fabric was straight.  The windows were just below the bottom edge of the canvas and the bricks were in a straight line below the bottom edge as well.  I glued it in place with a hot glue gun starting with a dollop in the centre and working my way outward to the corners.)

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Do the same with the opposite side using the pattern on the fabric as a guide to make it straight while pulling the fabric tight as you glue it along the edge.

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For the sides, wrap it like a present.  Fold the corners in and glue them into place first…

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…then glue the rest to the back of the canvas.  Again, starting with a dollop of glue in the centre and working outward to the edges.

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Do the same to the final side and you’re done!  I made 2 of these.

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But wait…there’s more!

To add a little contrast, I made one more fabric canvas with a complimentary fabric from the same collection.  I’m thinking I will hang it in-between the 2 house canvases above the crib.

I also appliquéd 3 white hearts to the complimentary fabric which required a few extra materials.  I used some freezer paper to cut out the pattern, some Heat N Bond for the appliqué and some fusible interfacing to prevent the background colour from showing through the white hearts.  To do the same follow these steps:

Prepare the heart pattern to be appliquéd to the background fabric.  (To find the template I used for the heart, please refer to my previous post here.)

To get the heart printed as a pattern, trace it 6 times onto a piece of paper.  (You only need 3 but trace 6 so you have more for another project!)

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Tape a piece of freezer paper (shiny side down) to a blank sheet of paper, place it in the printer and photocopy the 6 hearts you just drew to the freezer paper.

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Roughly cut them out.

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As mentioned above, also cut out the 3 white fabric pieces, 3 fusible interfacing pieces, and 3 Heat N Bond pieces.  (Cut them all the same size.)

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Layer these pieces like a sandwich!

You can’t see the layers but here’s what you do:

First, iron the fusible interfacing to the wrong side of fabric.

Second, iron the rough side of Heat N Bond to the fusible interfacing.

Third, Iron the shiny side of the freezer paper pattern to the right side of the white fabric.

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Once the hearts are prepared like so, cut them out.  Peel off the freezer paper and when you’re ready to apply the heart to the background fabric, peel off the paper backing of the Heat N Bond.

Here’s how to apply the hearts quickly and neatly.

To find the centre of the fabric, fold the 15″ square into fourths, unfold it, peel off the paper backing of Heat N Bond and place the centre heart where the creases meet.  Iron into place.

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Next, fold the fabric into thirds and use the creases to line up the other 2 hearts.  Iron into place.

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Stitch around the perimeter of each heart with a zig-zag stitch.

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*helpful tip.  To make sure the background fabric is centred on the canvas before gluing it on, you can use pins right through the canvas.

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Glue the fabric onto the canvas as demonstrated earlier!

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And you’re done!  🙂

Quick, easy and cute!  Let me know if you have any tips or give it a try.

Happy Decorating!

-AFriendLikeBen-

Cloud and Heart Nursery Mobile

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Continuing on with the nursery decor, I thought I’d make a little cloud and heart mobile!  I didn’t follow a pattern in particular but used a heart template and a cloud template that I found online.  If you’d like to make your own, here is what I did!

For the hearts, you can find the template I used here.  (I used the smallest heart on the template for the mobile and shrunk that heart 50% with a photocopier for the appliquéd heart on the cloud.)

For the cloud, you can find the template I used here.

To make the mobile, I started with making the hearts.  I wanted 2 blue, 2 yellow and 2 pink so I cut 4 rectangles that would fit the heart template in each colour.

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Now, I know most people cut out the shape first and then sew.  Since these hearts were pretty small, I decided to trace the shape onto the fabric first, sew on the line leaving a small opening and then I cut it out with a 1/4″ seam allowance.

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Now, for the exciting part…turning the hearts!  I used to dread this part but with the “Dritz Quick Turn” tool, it was so easy!  I love this tool and feel it was the best $8 I’ve spent on sewing notions – it comes with 3 tubes in different sizes.

To get started, first you stick the tube inside the opening.

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Then from the opposite end, insert the “chopstick” into the opening of the tube.

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Then push the fabric over the chopstick.

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Set the tube aside and use the chopstick to push out the seams of the heart.  The whole process takes about 30 seconds!

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After I sewed 6 hearts, I pressed them and stuffed them with polyfill.

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Now, if this was a toy, I would hand stitch each heart closed BUT since it’s a mobile that won’t really be handled, I closed each heart up with a dollop of hot glue.  (It saves time and no one will notice!)

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See?  How cute!  🙂

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Okay, now on to the cloud. I used the same technique as I did for the hearts.  First I traced the cloud onto the wrong side of my white fabric using a disappearing ink marker .

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Before sewing with right sides together, I added a mini appliqué heart to each side of the cloud.

To appliqué, first, trace 2 tiny hearts onto the wrong side fabric and cut them out.  Trace 2 tiny hearts onto the paper side of “Heat N Bond” and cut them out too.  The “Heat N Bond” is great for appliqué projects because it holds little shapes in place without pins.  (Make sure you use Heat N Bond that is meant to be sewn through on a sewing machine.)

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To apply the heart to the cloud, iron the rough side of the Heat N Bond heart to the wrong side of fabric heart.  (Please excuse the busy ironing board cover!)

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After, peel off the paper backing, apply the heart where you want it on the cloud and secure into place by pressing over it again with an iron.

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Once the heart is in place, stitch around the perimeter with a small, zig-zag stitch.

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To sew the cloud together, I used the very same technique as the hearts.

First, stitch on the line of the cloud the was drawn leaving a small opening.  Cut out the cloud with a 1/4″ seam allowance.   Turn right side out using the tube turner tool and press the seams.  Stuff with poly-fil.  Instead of gluing this seam closed, I hand stitched the cloud closed using a ladder stitch.

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Finally, I sewed the hearts to the cloud with some white thread and a long embroidery needle.

To sew on the hearts, mark where each string of hearts should be on the cloud with a pin.

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Tie a knot in the end of long piece of doubled thread, and insert the needle into the top of the cloud and out the bottom where you marked your first pin.

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Gently pull the thread until the knot is pulled inside of the cloud.  Draw the needle through the first heart until you have it at the desired length and tie a knot at the bottom of the heart.  Draw the needle through the second heart until you have it at the desired length and tie a knot at the bottom again.    (If you look at the picture carefully you can see the knot I had started to tie at the bottom of the second heart.)

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Before you cut the end of the thread, pull the needle back through the heart and out the top, pull tight and snip the end.    By doing it this way, there are no loose ends of thread sticking out.

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I repeated this process with the yellow and blue hearts…

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Before long, I was done!

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I loved this project because it was fairly quick and easy and a super cute addition to the nursery.  Let me know if you give it a try!

Happy sewing,

-AFriendLikeBen-

How to Join Patterned Fabric

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I wanted to make a simple cornice box for the baby’s room using some cute fabric I found on sale!  The only issue…the window was wider than the width of the fabric I was using and there was a repeating pattern I had to match up.  Scary!  Actually, not scary at all.  Here’s how you can easily join patterned fabric for any project.  🙂

First, lay down your 2 fabric panels and find a place you’d like them to join together.  They should be overlapping slightly.

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With the panel that will be overlapping, fold back the raw edge about 1/4″ and press with an iron.

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Lay the panels together again to make sure they still line up.  They do!  Good.

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Secure the fabrics together with a little bit of Elmer’s School Glue along the folded seam!  Press with a hot iron to really make it stay!  (you don’t need too much glue.)

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Open up the newly attached fabric panels so they’re laying right sides together.  Where you glued and pressed, there should be a nice, crisp, line you can sew along on the sewing machine.  Sew down the line.  I used some pins to be extra sure that the fabric would stay in place.

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After, trim the seam allowance to 1/4″.

And, voila!  A continuous pattern.  Can you tell I have 2 seams along this long panel?

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A tutorial on how I made a simple cornice box coming soon!

Happy Sewing,

-AFriendLikeBen-

Handmade Plush Fox

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I really enjoyed making this little fox for my niece who just turned 2!  I based it on a lovely FREE doll pattern by “Make It & Love It” which you can find here.  (Thankyou, Make It & Love It!)

I experimented with my own designs by making a fox head with a white face instead of making a human face and hair.  I made the skirt with fold over elastic (not folded over), I made little shoes with a “V” shaped opening, I sewed a cute little bow to match and I hand embroidered the eyes to the face instead of using plastic “safety eyes” because as we know, small plastic pieces can be a danger to kids under 3!  Sounds like a lot but it was a fairly quick process.  Overall I’m pleased with how it turned out and just might have to make a tutorial of the new elements I added to the original pattern.  Stay tuned.

In the meantime, if you’d like to learn how to simply embroider eyes check out this great video tutorial I found here.

Until next time, happy sewing!

-AFriendLikeBen-

How To Sew a “Welt” Pocket

image_4 See that little black rectangle inside the bag?  That’s a little welt pocket.  I made it to fit an iPhone 5.  This tutorial is about how I made this welt pocket and you can make this pocket any size that fits your needs.

Before you begin, determine what fabric the outside of the pocket/the lining of the bag will be (in this case, grey) and what fabric the inside of the pocket will be (in this case, black.)

To start.  I ironed interfacing to the wrong side of the inner pocket fabric (black.)  I didn’t measure a size.  I just made sure that it was wider than the iPhone and when I folded it in half lengthwise, it was longer than the iPhone.

From here, follow these simple steps: Measure 3″ down from the top edge of pocket fabric and draw a line in pen.

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Draw a parallel line 1/4″ above and below the line you just drew.

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Draw a vertical line 1.5″ in from the outer edge of pocket fabric on both sides.  Draw another verticall line 3/4″ from there on both sides.  Now you have drawn perfect, little rectangular boxes.

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Inside those boxes, use the points of reference to draw 2 triangles pointing inward.

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Fold both the pocket fabric and the lining fabric in half widthwise to determine the centre midline.  Line up the 2 pieces, right sides together, and pin together.

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Now you’re ready to sew.  Sew around the perimeter of the main rectangle you drew.  Around the outer edges, sew with a small stitch length and in the middle sections, sew with a regular stitch length.  (I wrote, on the interfacing, the stitch lengths I used to help explain further.  For the edges, I used a 1.0 stitch length, for the middle section I used a 2.2 stitch length…ignore the inches (“) I wrote next to those numbers…)

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With a seam ripper, carefully rip through both layers of fabric following the lines.  You rip along the centre line and out towards the corners.  Be careful to stop at the stitch line.  You don’t want to rip through the stitches you just made.

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Turn your work by pushing one layer through the hole you just made.

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Press flat.  One side looks like this…

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The other looks like this…

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Secure fabrics in place by topstitching along the side, bottom and other side of the hole.  Don’t stitch the top side yet.

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Now it’s time to make the pocket.  Fold the pocket fabric (black) up towards the top raw edge of the lining fabric (grey.)

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When you’ve determined how deep you want your pocket to be, pin in place.  (I determined the size of my pocket by placing the phone inside.)

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Remove the phone, and stitch pocket in place along the top of the pocket hole.  (My sewing machine has a function where I can move the needle over.  To sew a straight line, I centred the foot of my sewing machine over the seam but moved the needle a little to the right so that I stitched just a little to the right of the seam like so.)

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Now it’s time to close the sides of your pocket.  Move the lining fabric (grey) out of the way and draw two vertical lines down from the edges of where your pocket opening is.

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Stitch down the lines and cut away the excess.

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And you’re done! (Don’t forget to remove the pin!)

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I LOVE this pocket because it looks impressive but is relatively easy to do. If you’d like to see a video about welt pockets, I found a great one here.  The technique in the video makes a more intricate looking pocket than what I did but he does a great job explaining how to do it.  I will definitely give it a try next time.

Here are 2 more examples of welt pockets I made recently on some handmade bags.  I give all credit to my teacher, Marlous.  Learn more about her patterns on a previous post here.

Let me know if you give it a try!

Feel free to follow me on instagram for updates about my sewing a crochet projects (@afriendlikeben).  You’ll see my instagram pics on the left side of this blog page as well.

Thanks for stopping by.  Happy Sewing!

-AFriendLikeBen-