Pretty Patchwork Pincushion

I’ve just started teaching myself how to sew, so most of my supplies are as basic as you can get.  Right before I made my first project, I picked up a cheap pincushion at National Bookstore (a chain of stores here in the Philippines where you can get not only books and periodicals, but also basic arts and crafts materials), but every time I’ve used it I’ve been telling myself that I need to get a better (it’s hard to stick the pins in this one!) not to mention prettier one than this:

So I went online and saw tons, and I mean tons of free tutorials for cute pincushions, like this list here by Tipnut, and this list here by Tip Junkie.  There was also this adorable ruffled heart one by The Project Girl and a sweetheart one by Happy Together here.  I wanted to make the one by Happy Together but I didn’t have any iron on adhesive on hand, so I went with a tutorial by Paper String Cloth which I had everything on hand for and was just as cute.

First, cut out 8 squares measuring 3 1/2 inches, this already includes your seam allowance of half an inch.  Use contrasting or complementing fabric, you can use different patterns or fabric per side if you want, I just used the same cloth for both sides.  This cloth is from Cotton Depot (3/F Glorietta 5).  Mark seam allowances (1/2 inch per side) on each piece to make it easier to put together.

Sew them together on the seam allowances, making sure that right sides are facing each other.  This is how one side looked.  Don’t worry too much about getting them totally perfect, we’re going to camouflage any mistakes with a button later.  🙂  Press them if you want… obviously I didn’t since I figure I’m going to stuff it anyway!

Do this for the remaining 4 squares and pin the two pieces together, right sides facing each other.  Stitch on the outer seam allowances, making sure to leave an inch and a half or two inches open so you can stuff your pincushion with whatever material you want.  You can use fiberfill, some people use sand, but I used leftover scraps of cloth that I had on hand, and it worked fine.  Stuff it as tightly as you like and hand sew it closed.  This is what it will look like:

Then take a double thread and a thimble (if you have one, I didn’t and I wish I did) and sew your buttons into the middle of the pincushion.  You’ll need the double thread since you have to pull it really hard!  I had to use the end of my scissor to push in the needle the first few times, but it gets easier, I promise!

Before you know it, you’re done!  Here’s my finished pincushion, I really love it!  I threw the generic, old one out right when I transferred the pins.  Hehehe.

I used a white button for the other side!  🙂  It was such a fun, quick, useful project, I just might make more soon!

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Sewing Machine Cover

We’re currently living in an apartment in the heart of the city.  We like it because for now it’s just the two of us and it’s very close to where I work, but it gets really busy around this area especially during weekdays, which also means lots of dust.  So today I decided to make something functional!  My sewing machine doesn’t get as much use yet as I would like, and if I leave it out and don’t clean it for even just two or three days it starts collecting a little dust.  I threw out the plastic it came in (the total opposite of my husband, I’m the type of person who rips off all plastic off everything new…that goes for plastic on new cars, watches, whatever!  hehehe) the moment I took it out of the box, so I decided to make my own sewing machine cover.

The idea and method comes from this book, One Yard Wonders by Rebecca Yaker and Patricia Hoskins.  I picked this up at Fully Booked in Bonifacio High Street for 999 Php.

This should fit your sewing machine if its a standard size of around 13″ high, 16″ wide and 6″ deep.  You can easily adjust the measurements if your machine is much bigger or smaller.  🙂

The book calls for 1 yard of 45″ fabric in either light of medium weight cotton, but I wanted to use canvas which is easier to clean and more dust resistant.  The fabric is from Cotton Depot in Glorietta 5.  I started out by cutting out 4 pieces of fabric in the following sizes:

  • 2 pieces for the cover itself (15″tall by 23″wide)
  • 2 pieces for the pocket (10″ tall by 15″ wide)

Take the pocket pieces first and face the right sides together.  Pin the pocket pieces together and stitch on all sides using a half-inch seam allowance.  I used a marker since I find it really helps me keep my stitching straight.  Leave a 4 inch opening along the bottom because you need to turn it inside out.

Clip the corners on the wrong side then turn the fabric right side out and press.  Edgestitch the top pocket edge.  I stitched over the open edge so after this I had no more raw seams.

Center the pocket you just made on the right side of one of the cover pieces, align the bottom edge of your pocket 1 and 1/2 inch from the bottom edge.  Edgestitch the pocket to the cover along the sides and bottom.

Pin the cover pieces together with the right sides facing and stitch down the top sides and top edges, leaving the bottom open.  Press the seams open and measure a 2 and 1/2 inch square in both top corners of the cover like so:

Cut the squares out:

Then pull your fabric layers apart at the cutout, pinch the sides and top parts together and stitch.  Each side should look like this:

Then turn your cover inside out (nearly done now!) and make a narrow 1/4 inch hem along the bottom edge.  I pressed this down first which made it a lot easier to sew.  Topstitch your hem in place all around.  And there you have it, a pretty sewing machine cover!  This took me around an hour to make including cutting out the fabric and pressing.

I would highly recommend this for a first sewing project, it was much simpler than the belly band or crayon roll.  🙂

Crafts for Kids – Crayon Roll

Here’s a little break from the food posts (although I will post about Zuni Cafe’s Roast Chicken soon – excited to try that out)!

After my first sewing project, I leafed through my sewing/crafts books and tagged these projects online that I think would be good for beginners like me:

I had a hard time deciding since everything looks great, so I decided to just go through my fabric to see what inspired me.  I decided on this pretty cotton from Cotton Depot in Mall of Asia, I showed it to you guys before in this post.

I decided to do a crayon roll in anticipation of our baby on the way, plus I think it will be a great, handmade present for my friend’s kids and our little godchildren.

Crayon roll tutorial adapted from Pleated Poppy and Prudent Baby

You will need the following:

  • 2 pieces of fabric for outside and inside – 5″ x 16 1/2″
  • 1 piece of coordinating fabric for the pocket – 6″ x 16 1/2″ (Note:  I decided I like the printed part on the bottom, so I used the same fabric for outside and for the pocket)
  • 1 piece lining – 5″ x 16 1/2″
  • 1 hair elastic and button or 1 ribbon in a suitable color
  • Usual materials – needle, thread, ruler, cutting mat, marker/chalk
  • Oh and crayons of course!

To begin, cut out your fabric like so:

Take the fabric piece for your crayon pocket, fold it in half lengthwise, and iron it flat.  This is where I appreciated how easy cotton is to work with after starting with jersey for that first project!  Then pin together 3 of your fabric pieces:  the lining at the back, the fabric for the inside in the middle (wrong side down) and your pressed fabric for the pocket in front.  It should look like this:

Mark the middle line and continue marking 1 inch sections with your tailors chalk or disappearing marker.  I find it quite difficult to sew in straight lines (it’s harder than it sounds!), so I marked a piece of scrap cloth and practiced a lot first.  🙂  It made it much easier when I started on the crayon roll.  Sew from the middle down, backstitching at each beginning and end to secure your stitches.  Trim the excess thread, there will be a lot!

Stitch down the elastic or your ribbon on the rightmost end.  I decided to use an elastic this time but a ribbon would be pretty too.  I sewed 5 times in each direction to make sure it would stay.  I forgot to take a picture though!

Then take your outside fabric and pin it to your sewn fabric, right sides together.  It should look like this, with wrong sides out.  I marked my inseam to help me follow the lines and pinned it all together to make it easier to sew.  Leave an allowance (around 2 inches) because you will need to turn everything right side out.

When you’re done sewing all the sides, turn it right side out through your 2 inch gap!   This is where it started to get exciting for me since I could really see it taking shape.  🙂  Press it down to remove wrinkles and prepare for topstitching all around.

Stitch all around as close as you can to the outer edge.  This certainly wasn’t perfect even if I did sew quite slowly, but I’m happy with it for my first try!  🙂  Stick your crayons into the pockets (so cute!) and you’re almost done!

You just need to…roll it up and sew on your button by hand.

And voila!  My first crayon roll!  *Beaming with pride*  I will make another one soon to practice my sewing skills.  I wonder if this has potential for me to sell here in Manila!