Kitchen Towel Apron

kitchen-towel-apron

Cheap & Easy Holiday Gift Anyone?

I found this fun cooking measurement conversion kitchen towel at the Home Goods.  They had lots of kitchen towels with fun and witty sayings. I wished I had picked up more before all of them were cleared away for Christmas kitchen towels. I made 2 of these measurement conversion aprons, the towels came in a two pack. So one for me and one for a friend. If you caught that it’s upside down, that’s on purpose. It’s for the wearer to read. It’s come in pretty handy several times. My first apron was good but not I definitely learned from it before making the one for my friend. And it gave me an opportunity to document the process.

 

Supplies

  • Large kitchen towel
  • 1 packet of Wright Bias Tape, Extra Wide, Double Fold. 1/2″ wide. 3 yd long.
  • Stitch in the ditch foot (optional)

kitchen-towel-apron-supplies

 

Steps

Cut the “arm hole” in the kitchen towel.

  • I eyeballed the cut out. The top should we wide enough to fit your head through and the bottom of the armhole should be around the waist. Every towel will be a slightly different size so use your best judgement.
  • I folded the towel in half the long way to cut the other armhole.
  • My towel was terry cloth backed so it frayed if you looked at it. I serged the edge to control the mess but it’ll all be enclosed in the bias binding.

cut-armholes

Pin on the bias binding:

  • I used the full length of the pre-made bias binding. It was 3 yards but you can alter the size to the wearer.
  • I folded the binding in half and marked it with a pin. I measured 9″ to each side and marked it. This is the portion that your head will go through. Check the fit that the wearer’s head will fit through. If you’re not sure you can do neck ties instead. The binding will need to be longer if you go this route.
  • Unfold the bias binding and pin the binding down both “arm holes”. The edge of narrower side of the binding needs to be lined up to the edge of the right side/public side of the towel.

pin-bias-binding

Sew on the bias binding:

  • Sew in the valley of the fold closest to the edge.

sew-narrow-side-of-bias

  • Fold the bias binding to the back of the apron. See how in this picture the longer width of the binding is in the back.

fold-binding-to-the-back

  • Switch to a stitch in the ditch foot if you have one. It’s optional. I use the blade as a guide and set the needle slightly to the right of the blade.

stitch-in-the-ditch-foot

  • Start sewing at the end of the tie that would be to your right if you were wearing the apron. Fold the edge in and then fold the binding in half to finish the end.

end-binding

  • Start at the short end and sew towards the long edge.
  • Pivot at the corner and sew down the long edge. Sew with the blade to the fold of the binding to keep the stitching even.

finish-ends

  • When you get to the arm hole, lift up the feet, move your needle to the middle position and stitch in the ditch. The sewing line should disappear from the front. Since the fold is wider in the back the stitching should catch the binding.
  • Sew the neck, down the other arm hole and to the left ties. Finish the end of the ties like the other tie. Fold down the edge and fold in. Stitch to the end and pivot and continue stitching the short end.
  • Sew a reinforced stitch at the neck and waist area. I sewed a square with the x inside. Other options would be a bar tack.

reinforced-stitch

  • That’s it. Simple huh? I’m hoping that since they’re kitchen towels they’ll hold up to stains and laundering but I haven’t needed to wash mine yet. I use it for drying off my hands.

 

Gift Ideas

The apron can be paired with a baking pan, measuring cup or other cookware for a hostess gifts. I saw some but Mr and Mrs kitchen towels that could be matching his and her aprons. This would go great in a basket with homemade jellies I’ve made.

jellies

Happy Holiday Sewing,

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Stacking Ring Toy – Free Pattern

This is the continuation of the Sewing Gift for Sewing Friends blog post.  For my IRL sewing friend, Jill from Oh Crafty One, I made her little boy a stacking ring toy.  This a soft and washable version of the plastic stacking toy I had as a kid.  Unfortunately for me, this doesn’t seem to be a popular sewn item as I found very few tutorials and even fewer patterns.  Does no one need instructions to make one because it’s just some rings?  I’d say that the ring pattern isn’t far from a circle skirt and there are a gazillion tutorial and pattern for those.  Fortunately for everyone, I’ll made this tutorial with a free PDF pattern.

 Stacking Ring Toy

Stacking Ring Toy

Preparation:

Gather supplies:

  • Fat quarters in red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple and light grey.
  • Polyfil
  • 7.5″ square of 1″ NU-Foam
  • Download and print stacking ring toy pattern.  **If you downloaded the PDF prior to 9-22-14, please re-download the file.  I had an error on page 2, the cone pattern piece.  The curve at the top should be concave not convex**

stacking ring toy download button

Cut pattern pieces from from fabric making sure the color of the pattern piece matches the color of the fabric.  My fabric is Japanese cotton from superbuzzy.  I did have a lot left over from the fat quarters so you can search your scraps piles material instead.

Cut Rings

Wind bobbins.  Since I’m love matching thread colors, I switched over my thread for each piece.  If you want to be a more efficient sewist, you can use a neutral like white on all of them.

Bobbins

 Cut a 7.5″ square of 1″ NU-Foam.  2 squares of 1/2″ NU-Foam will also work.

 

Sew the Cone Base:

  • Fold the cone piece in half the long way, right sides together.  Sew up the sides and across the stop.  Turn right sides out.
  • Stay stitch around the base of the cone and around the square base with the hole. Cone Base
  • Clip to but not through the staystitching.  Place the cone into the square base with the hole and stitch around the circle of the cone.  Cone Base 2

 

  • Attached the square without the hole to the bottom of the cone base.  To do this, stitch the 3 sides, stuff the cone with Polyfill and the base with NU-foam and stitched the last edge by hand or machine.  I used NU-foam because it’s mildew resistant and could handle wet situations like the washer or a child’s mouth.  It’s not the most stable base.
  • **Tip:  To make a steadier base, Jill had the great idea of making the bottom an envelope closure and fill the base with a square of vinyl stuffed with rice.  Make sure you remove the rice square before washing.**

 

 

Sewing the Rings

  • Put the matching ring pieces right sides together.  Sew around the outer and inner edge of the ring and across one of the ends.  It’s best to start with the largest/purple ring because it’s the easiest.Sew ring
  • Turn the ring inside out.  Stuff with Polyfil. I use a flat head screw driver to stuff it all the way into the tube.Stuff the Ring
  • Form the ring by putting the closed end into the open end.Form the Ring
  • Here is where I screwed up a bit.  I formed the circle stuffing a random amount into the open end which changes the size of the rings.  If you look at the finished photo my purple ring is barely larger than the blue one.  To prevent this, you should place the ring onto the cone and pin it to fit around the cone.  This is also another reason to start with the largest/purple ring.  Once you get the size correct, fold up a small seam allowance and hand stitch the ring together using a ladder stitch. Close the Ring
  • Repeat with the rest of the rings going from largest to smallest/bottom to top.

 

 

Recipient Reaction

I did look like Jill’s son enjoyed the toy.  Though he also enjoyed random scraps of fabric so maybe I’ve spent way too much time on this.  I hope someone else can benefit from my efforts.  If you do give the pattern a try, let me know if you have successes or issues it.

Stacking Ring Toy Disassembled

 Link to my Pattern Review.

Happy Stacking Toy Sewing,

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Last Minute Gift Sewing: Kid’s Pillow Cases

Fun Pillow Case Banner

My last minute gift sewing continues.  Next up on the sewing table are fun pillow cases for the nieces and nephews.  This is a very quick project.  I can make several pillow cases a night.

 

Supplies:

  • 1 to 1 ¼  yd of cotton fabric in the kid’s favorite color or theme.  I made 4 so far:  2 with kitties, 1 owl, 1 Batman.
    You need 1 yd if it’s a solid, non-directional prints or prints that run along the bolt.
    SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERAYou need 1 ¼ if the print goes from selvage to selvage.  I’m looking at you JoAnn’s Snuggle Flannel Fabric.Batman Directional Print
  • 1 yd ribbon, trim or in my case fold over elastic (FOE) cuz I have oodles of it.

 

Making the “pattern”

To figure out the pattern, I did some sleuthing around the house.  I measured some pillow cases from the bed and found that the finished size was 20” high and 26-30” wide.  I wasn’t sure if kids had smaller pillows so I looked up pillow cases on Target.com and Amazon.com.  There was no difference so I proceeded with 20” x 30”.  I wasn’t all that worried about being exact since the kids can’t tell and pillows have a squish factor so fit shouldn’t be a problem.  I cut a rectangle roughly 41” by 35 ½”.

 

Pillow Case Hem

Press under a seam allowance of 3/8”-1/2” at what will be the opening of the pillow case.  Press under 4 ½” for what I would call the pillow case “hem”.  Lastly, I pressed a crease to mark the edge of the hem so I can tell where it is from the right side of the fabric.

Press Hem

To attach the fold over elastic I laid it on the right side of the pillow using the crease mark as a guide.  Make sure that the FOE is over the pillow case hem so that when you attached the FOE you’re also sewing the hem shut also.  I stitched down the middle of the FOE using the fold as a guide.  Then I went back and stitched along both edges of the FOE.  I used contrasting thread for the top, and matching thread on the underside/bobbin.

Fold Over Elastic

Sewing the Pillow Case

Fold the fabric in half with wrong sides together with 1/4″ seam allowance.  Stitch the two open sides of the pillow case closed.

Stitch wrong sides togetherTurn the pillow inside out and stitch using a 3/8″ seam allowance.  This will enclose the seams for a tidy and sturdy finish.

Enclosed seamsTa-da!  You’re finished.

Finished pillow case

These pillow cases helped me check off several names off my gift list in no time.  If you give these pillow cases a try, let me know how they turn out.

Ready for gift givingHappy (holiday) sewing,

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Last Minute Gift Sewing: Flower Scarf

Flower Scarf

Anyone else sewing last minute gifts?  It seems like I only find time to sew gifts is in the middle of the night, when the fabric store is closed and I can barely focus.  So I went rummaging through my stash and my cluttered mind for something easy to make with supplies I have on hand.  I decided on this flower scarf which I had seen in a pattern and in RTW.

 

Supplies

Supplies

Drafting the pattern

Drafting the flower pattern was a little bit of a mystery.  I tried 2 other drafts using math, angles and other confusing things.  My mind just doesn’t work well with numbers late at night.  Drawing it on paper made everything really clear.  To draft the pattern you start with four squares that are 3” by 3”.  Then you draw four 3” circles.  After that you draw two diagonal lines from corner to corner.  Then you draw four more circles along the diagonal.  Lastly you draw 2 more lines from the center to where the outer most point where the circles overlap to make your stitching templates.  See red outline below. Drafting PatternThe 8 circles will be the final size of your flower.  If you want it larger or smaller you adjust the size of the square and circle.  If you like it as I’ve drafted it, you’re in luck.  You can just download my pattern.

Flower Scarf Letter download button

Flower Scarf A5 download button

Cutting the pattern

The pattern is just a circle.  Each flower takes 8 circles.  The pattern takes 10 flowers to make a 48” scarf.  I made 9 flowers because that’s all the fabric I had.  I used what should have been the sleeves of my Victory Pattern Lola dress had I bought enough fabric.  The fabric was just too beautiful to waste and is the perfect fabric for this scarf.  To eek out enough circles, I chalked the circle pattern nesting them like biscuits and cut them using scissors.  I have a circle cutter but the fabric was too soft and didn’t stay in place as I was cutting.

Circles

 Slow sewing the flower method

Step 1:  Place 2 circles wrong sides together and sew together using the edge of stitching template 1 as a guide.

Step 2:  Open up the 2 circles and fold the top flap to the left side.  Place another circle piece underneath, again wrong sides together.  Use stitching guide 2 and sew along the edge of the template.

Step 3:  Repeat step 2 for the rest of the 5 circles for 8 circles total.  You’ll sew circle #1 to circle #8 to complete the flower.

StitchingFinished flower

Speed sewing method

For those who want to sew quicker you can sew like the factories and sew pieces continuously.  By that I mean that you sew one piece after another without taking it out of the machine.  This way you save time and thread.

Step 1: same as Slow Sewing step 1 above.  But instead of taking the piece off the machine, you leave a tiny bit of thread in between and sewing circle #1 to #2 for all ten of the flowers.  Clip the threads tails.

Speed sewing 1

Step 2: same as Slow Sewing step 2.  Again you leave a small piece of thread and sew circle #2 and circle #3 for all ten of the flowers.

Step 3:  repeat sewing circle #3 to #4 x 10, #4 to #5 x 10 etc until you get all 8 circles sewn.  You will need to leave more thread between the sets as the flowers get bigger.

Serious ProductionFinished flowers

Sewing the scarf

The last step is to sew the 10 flowers together to make the scarf.  To do this, place flowers wrong (flat) side together and sew across the outer corner of one of the petals.

Sew flowers together

You can sew these end to end or staggered like I did.

StaggeredAs I’m writing these instructions it seems more complicated than it really is.  You’re cutting a bunch of circles and sewing them together.  It’s pretty mindless as long as you keep the sets of flower pieces organized.  You can make it more complicated by having the flowers in different fabrics or having different fabrics within a flower.  Make it more complicated at your own risk.  I’ll just stick with one fabric.

Now, how do I tie this thing?

Now, how do I tie this thing?

 Happy (holiday) sewing,

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