Friday, July 30, 2010

Chenille Owl Tutorial

Owl Final

Here's my next sewing tutorial – a Chenille Owl Pillow. He's about 10" tall and uses the same faux chenille technique shown earlier. I think he would look great in any child's bedroom, plus his texture makes him pretty cuddly to hold.

Owl 1

Supplies needed: 6 Fat Quarters, two 1.5" buttons, and polyester fiberfill (not pictured). The photo above shows the scraps of my fabrics that all came from JoAnns. I chose the main color first, then the solid brown background, and four variations in between. Keep in mind that the fabric chosen for the top layer is going to be the one that is seen the most. Fabric cost: $9. Buttons: $6 (I fell for the expensive ones!)

Owl 2

Step 1. Open all the fabrics, press and stack together. The order I used for my owl was dark brown on the bottom, then the four middle colors, and the main fabric on top. Measure and mark the fabric to make an 18" square and cut.

Owl 3

Step 2. Draw a line with chalk from one corner to the opposite. I used the width of my ruler to continue making parallel lines, which are all about 1.25" apart.

Owl 4

Step 3. Machine stitch over all the traced lines. Stitch another set of lines between the first ones as shown by the white dotted lines in the photo above.

Owl 5

Step 4. Your square is now going to be a bit irregular from all the sewing. Clean up the edges by drawing and cutting new clean lines very close to the edge. My square measured 17.5" x 17.5" when I was done. Using a ruler, measure off two 7" triangles as shown in the photo above. Cut right on a stitch line. Connect the bottom corners of the large shape and cut as shown.

Owl 6

Step 5. Fold the large shape in half and stitch together using a 1/4" seam on the edge. Trim the seam to 1/8".

Owl 7

Step 6. (Not shown) Using a scissors, cut carefully through the center of each stitched row, but only cutting through the top five layers. The bottom layer should be left intact. (See Chenille Bag tutorial for a photo of this step). When all the rows are cut, turn the tube inside out. Center the middle seam as shown and make a 1/4" seam at the bottom.

Owl 8

Step 7. Still working from the inside, fold the corners as shown and stitch across making an approximately 2.5" long seam. Stitch back and forth at the ends to secure and keep from the seam from opening up.

Owl 9

Step 8. Turn pillow right side out and wash in hot machine wash and dry in a hot dryer. This will make all the cut edges fray and fold up like a chenille fabric.

Owl 10

Step 9. Fill the pillow with polyester fiberfill.

Owl 11

Step 10. Fold over the top triangle and pin together, with the seam on the outside. With a long needle and thread, hand stitch in place from one corner to the other.

Owl 12

Step 11. Hand stitch two large eyes in place.

Owl 13

Step 12. Cut a small triangle out of the lightest colored fabric and hand stitch in place to look like a beak. Congratulations, you made your own owl pillow!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Chenille Bag Tutorial

Bag 15
I recently developed this simple handbag pattern that I think would be great for beginning sewers. Below are the step-by-step instructions for making your very own “Little Chenille Bag”. Finished size: 10" wide x 7" tall, not including the handles.

Bag 1
Step #1. You will need four fat quarters of fabric and 24" of matching webbing. If you are not familiar, fat quarters are just precut 18" x 21" pieces of fabric. These quarters came from Jo-Ann Fabrics and cost $1.50 each. I chose four that had a similar color theme, but with some contrast (some dark and some light). If you purchase webbing, you will need to buy 3/4" of a yard. My total cost: under $8.00.

Bag 2
Step #2. Open all the fabric packages, stack the layers together and press.

Bag 3
Step #3. Fold the fabric in half to measure roughly 9" x 21" and cut along fold.

Bag 4
Step #4. Place one stack on top of the other.

Bag 5
Step #5. Fold over one corner as shown. Using a ruler or yard stick, draw a line from one corner to another to make a 45 degree angle.

Bag 6
Step #6. Using a ruler, continue making parallel lines that are 1.5" apart until the panel is full. Use chalk or a pencil or something that will wash out.

Bag 7
Step #7. Machine stitch over all the marked lines.

Bag 8
Step #8. Machine stitch again in between the first set of lines. You should now have parallel lines measuring about 3/4" apart.

Bag 9
Step #9. Using a yardstick or ruler, mark off and cut the largest clean rectangle that is possible. After I trimmed my sample, it was 21" x 8".

Bag 10
Step #10. With a scissors, carefully cut through all the top 7 layers of fabric. Go slowly so that the bottom layer stays intact and does not get cut.

Bag 11
Step #11. Using a ruler to keep the edges lying flat, stitch 1/4" around all four outside edges.

Bag 13
Step #12. Fold the panel in half and cut into two matching rectangles.

Bag 14
Step #13. Cut two 12" handles from the webbing. Center the handles on the long side as shown, and machine stitch in place.

Bag 14
Step #14. Align the two panels together and stitch on the two sides and bottom, making 1/4" seam.

Bag 15
Step #15. To finish the bag, machine wash in a hot cycle and then dry in a hot dryer. The bias cut edges will fray and fold up to create a faux chenille look. In general I’ve learned that this technique works best with lower thread count fabric. The looser weave makes a more dramatic texture, than say a chintz fabric does.

That’s it – I’d love to hear if you enjoyed my tutorial!

Crown Hat Tutorial


Recently I had a chance to work with some young new sewers, and was reminded again how simple first projects need to be. That being said, here’s a very easy Jughead Hat that I designed, which uses just one pattern piece.


Supplies Needed: Four sheets of 9" x 12" felt, at least 8 buttons, and pattern piece. Click HERE to download.

Step 1. Print Jughead Hat Pattern at recommended percentage. Example: 100% (or 10.5" tall) will make a large adult size hat, 85% will make one that fits your average 10-year old. Trace pattern on all four sheets of felt and cut out.

Step 2. Place two pieces together and stitch as shown. The top stitching starts 1/4" in, and continues to bottom edge.


Step 3. Continue stitching pieces together, always starting in the middle of the top point, and continuing down and lock stitching at bottom edges to keep from unraveling.

Step 4. When all four pieces are connected, stitch final edges together.

Step 5. Trim all four seams neatly and very close to edge.

Step 6. Turn hat right side out. Fold edge up and hand stitch buttons through all the layers to keep the rim in place.

Step 7. Try on your new hat!

Make a Jughead Hat


This hat uses the same pattern piece as the felt Jughead Hat, it just has a lining added and is made from some of my favorite hand dyed Hoffman fabrics.


Supplies Needed: 1/4" yard of hat fabric, 1/4" yard of lining fabric. Click HERE to download pattern piece. Print Jughead Hat Pattern at recommended percentage. Example: 100% will make a large adult size hat, 85% will make a hat that fits your average 10-year old. Trace paper pattern on fabric and cut four from each.

Step 1. Stitch the curved sides together of the four lining pattern pieces. Continue until all four pieces are attached together on all sides.

Step 2. Stitch the curved sides together of the hat pattern pieces. Continue until all four pieces are attached together on all sides.


Step 3. With the seam side up, press open the end of each seam so that it lies flat. Only the bottom half needs to lie flat, the top curve may be left alone. Continue pressing until the bottom of all four seams of the lining are pressed flat. Repeat step for all seams of hat.

Step 4. With the right sides facing each other, place the lining inside the hat. Match up the seams and pin in place.

Step 5. Stitch the crown edge up and down, all the way around the bottom. Trim very close to edge.

Step 6. With a seam ripper, open up about 2" on one seam of lining.

Step 7. Turn hat right side out through opening.
Step 8. Turn out crown points with seam ripper. Pull fabric out until all the points are clearly shown.

Step 8. Press edges flat with hot iron.
Step 9. Turn up 3" of bottom edge and press. Hand stitch inside hole opening in seam closed.

Step 10. Enjoy your new hat!

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