Making something old new

Last week, I decided I had finally had enough of looking at my tired ironing board cover. I’ve tried to camouflage it in photos, but there just wasn’t any way to cover all the hideous brown spots from hard water stains and high temperatures.

contentmediaexternalimagesmedia26The above is from my post on homemade wool dryer balls (which I still use and am very happy with), and you can see I could only hide the worst of the lot.

I kept procrastinating on the project, collecting pins and posts on how to do it without actually doing it. Finally, enough was enough. I couldn’t look at it anymore.

Rather than start from scratch, I decided to use the existing cover as the pattern, since I really liked the velcro strips and elastic used to keep the cover on the board itself. (I rotated the photo below so you could see it a bit better. And yes, it’s the new cover; I didn’t think to take photos as I went along.)

board-backAmazingly, it didn’t take that long to rip out and I was very careful to keep all parts intact and marked. The worst was taking out the serging that connected the cotton cloth to the batting.

I was going to cut out new batting, but the old was in good shape and turning it over pretty much hid any stains that have soaked through. I didn’t want to cut any any new batting I could use in my quilts instead — a much better use.

Of course, I didn’t think to do that until after I had pinned it to my new fabric and had started cutting the silhouette. Thankfully, I’d left enough of a seam allowance, so I was able to serge the two pieces together without having to waste any fabric.

So nice when you’re able to recover from doing a big stupid thing because you managed to do a small smart thing beforehand!

Because it uses elastic rather than a drawstring, this cover is made in two parts. There’s a small piece attached to the main body that you can see on the upper right in the photo above. I didn’t have to serge that piece because it would get covered with the string elastic, encased on both sides with the white bias tape.

Here’s a look at the finished product:

DSC_2719The glazed chintz fabric is practically vintage; I bought it in Rochester, N.Y. on a business trip in 1991. I had a wedding to go to and I was going to make a dress out of it; the pattern had these wing-like ruffles coming out of the side seams from the waist to the hem that you made in contrasting fabric. I chose an evergreen and white stripe.

Seriously, what were designers thinking back then? Better yet, what was I thinking for buying it?

Here’s a close-up: (sorry, no photo of the pattern. I can keep my shame hidden.)

DSC_2722As the floral styles of the times went, this isn’t that bad, but I’m glad with all the use my ironing board gets, it won’t be long before I’ll have it stained and need to make another one.

And I only have a couple of yards of the dress material left. 🙂



All I need is just a little …

DSC_2717I’m in a bit of a funk where crafting is concerned these days. I haven’t stopped making things, exactly, I’m just taking on more small term projects that don’t require a major commitment.

It’s ok, the feeling will pass soon enough. In the meantime, I have this lovely little 3×4-inch piece from Birds of a Feather that I stitched up on 32-count linen about a week ago.


To infinity and beyond …

Ok, the title is cheesy, I know. I just had to go with it.

As much as I enjoy buying fabric online, I have to admit that I would prefer to go to a brick and mortar store. See, sometimes, I get so overwhelmed with how adorable/wonderful/beautiful/perfect a fabric is, that I don’t always notice the fine print on the listing.

So far, I’ve been able to go with the mistakes purchases, but a recent one had me stumped for a bit. I really love Joel Dewberry’s line, “Notting Hill,” and had managed to hold off buying any until I saw this gorgeous yellow/pale turquoise floral combo:

Photo from

I loved it so much that I clicked on a half-yard purchase without noticing that even though it was cotton, it was cotton voile, not quilting cotton. I wasn’t sure what to do with it, so I just left it in a drawer for a couple of months.

I did think about getting more voile and making a quilt like this one Lynne made over at Lily’s Quilts. But after reading about some of the challenges of sewing with such slippery fabric, I wasn’t sure I wanted to invest any more money on it until I had tried sewing with it at least once.

With such a small amount there wasn’t much I could do until I remembered some lovely infinity scarves I saw on Pinterest. In less than 10 minutes, I had my fabric trimmed, pressed, seamed, turned, re-pressed and ends stitched down to this:

scarfWhile it didn’t take long to make, I’m glad I didn’t buy more for a quilt. The puncturing can be persnickety when the needle goes in, and heaven help you if you have to rip something out, which thankfully, I didn’t.

Some sewists choose to hand-sew the ends of the loop together, but I decided it wasn’t worth it to me. It’ll be folded on the back of my neck, under my hair, so it’s not like it’s going to show. Here’s a look:

scarf seamsThe color combo went perfectly with my yellow tank, which was great, since it’s one I don’t wear very much. I paired it with indigo pants and a white knit jacket, turning it into perfect business casual for my office. It’s like getting a whole new outfit for less than $7!

I love it when a plan comes together. (Bonus points if you can name that reference.)


A lined drawstring bag

Since I had pretty good success with the tote bag I made from fabric I recycled from a comforter, I thought I would use some of it to create a small bag from Jeni Baker’s tutorial on her wonderful blog, “In Color Order.”

While her tutorial is for quilting weight cotton, I thought it could easily be adapted to my project. Here’s how it turned out:

bag1 bag2 I thought I could use this to carry my good shoes in so I don’t ruin the backs while driving. However, it is a little small for anything more than sandal flats (I didn’t measure before cutting!), so when I make a version for my next tote using my black/white graphic fabric, I’ll be sure to size it a little longer and wider.

While the tutorial is very well done, like all her tutorials, the one change I would make in the future is to finish the edges where the opening is for the drawstrings. The frayed edges have a tendency to pop through when you’re opening/closing the bag, but I don’t think it would need much more than a little fray check.I also think I’d do this even with quilting weight, but definitely with home dec.

You could even serge the pieces before sewing them together, but I’d probably just do that on the sides, since it is a lined bag and the seams don’t show.

If you choose to make this from home decor fabric like I did, I’d recommend making the opening for the drawstrings a little wider than the inch she recommends. I had a lot of difficulty getting both strings through and the bag doesn’t open or close easily. I’m sure that’s due to the excess buck of the fabric.

Still, I’m happy with the result, and if I don’t use this to carry shoes, it’ll be a good bag to use to store plastic liners for the garbage can in my bathroom. I can just hang it from a command hook on the door!

Here’s what it looks like poofed up:

bag4 bag3I always love surprises like people coming out of corners rather than having them in the center. It’s even better when I don’t plan it that way and just get lucky.

I hope everyone’s having a fun and relaxing weekend. Thanks so much for stopping by!


A new practice bag

Awhile back, I posted a few pics of some fabric I had purchased to make a new tote bag for work. But since I’m not exactly sure how I want it to look and function, I decided I would take some home decor fabric I salvaged from a too-heavy comforter I bought years ago at Target to use as practice.

Here are a few of the fabrics I want to use:

DSC_2399And this:

DSC_2403 I came up with a pretty simple pattern based on a grocery bag I have. The one I made measures about 19″ wide by 18″ tall. I didn’t box the corners, though I will probably go back and do that later.

The full-size comforter had two patterns, a black/off-white toile and the same colors in a grid pattern. Since I had so much fabric, I didn’t worry too much about being economical with it and fussy-cut it to get a good view of one of the motifs.

Here’s side one:

DSC_2585And side two below: (I like how the couple is not in the direct center as well as how the young boy peeks out at you from the bottom right corner.)

DSC_2584For the lining, I used the grid fabric, but I also wanted a couple of interior pockets. Since this is just a practice bag, I didn’t care about the pockets having zippers.

DSC_2586 DSC_2587The only thing I did was make them deep enough so my keys or glasses wouldn’t fall out of them easily. And they weren’t intentionally fussy-cut — it just kind of worked out that way.

For the black/white graphic bag, I’ll include multiple pockets, both inside and out, and at least one or two will have zippers. Then the toile (and probably a few more from this fabric) will become grocery bags.

I’m going to use my new bag for the first time tomorrow to see if I like the shape and if it holds what I need it to before cutting into the other fabric. If it works out, I can definitely see more of these in my future to give as gifts.


Happy Independence Day!

It’s a perfect day to start my first Quilt of Valor!

DSC_2615 DSC_2616I’m going to call it “Landing Strip,” and I’m using my first jelly roll, Sandy Gervais’ “Nautical and Nice” for Moda. I’ll try and stay with this one till the end, rather than start yet another project in my ADD fashion!

More to come soon. Happy July 4th to all my American friends.