How To Make Perfect Fabric Baby Blocks

You can make cute fabric baby blocks from a foam cube and six fabric squares. We used 4″ foam and an adorable fabric panel called “Baby Geniuses Grow Up!” by Linda Carlson & Diana Henage from Benartex. You can get the 4″ foam from any “big box” fabric store like JoAnn or just about any place that sells Home Dec fabrics. The green stuff is the “high density” foam – it’s more expensive but it makes a much firmer block that will hold up to lots of slobbering.

You can make these cute fabric baby blocks!

You can make these cute fabric baby blocks!

One 5/8 yard panel has 30 colorful squares (enough to make 5 blocks) featuring letters of the alphabet and adorable cartoon animals. You could also use the 3″ number squares to make smaller number blocks.

Baby Geniuses Grow Up! 5/8 yard panel

Baby Geniuses Grow Up! 5/8 yard panel

You can use any size foam, simply cut your fabric squares 1/2″ wider than your foam. You can cut your foam block to shape using any sharp kitchen knife. For best results, use long, slow strokes in one direction.

Materials: 4" foam cube and six 4.5" fabric squares

Materials: 4″ foam cube and six 4.5″ fabric squares

Note: To make nice square corners, do not stitch all the way to the edge of the fabric. Be sure to start and stop stitching 1/4″ from all edges.

Sew in 1/4" seam allowances

Sew in 1/4″ seam allowances

Sew six squares into cross shape

Sew six squares into cross shape

So far... so good!

So far… so good!

Fold bottom on diagonal, then sew each of the four side seams

Fold the bottom square on a diagonal angle, then sew the side seam (where scissors are pointing). Repeat for each of the four side seams

Now you have a box with a flap top

Now you have a box with a flap top

Sew two sides of the top flap, leave one side open

Sew two sides of the top flap, leave one side open

Turn right side out and square corners gently with chopstick

Turn right side out and square corners gently with chopstick

Squeeze foam cube through opening

Squeeze foam cube through opening

Stitch opening shut

Stitch opening shut

Finished!

Finished!

Baby approves!

Baby approves!

For more baby toy fun, see Sew Fun’s Baby Puzzle Ball pattern!

Baby Puzzle Ball Pattern by Sew Fun

How to Make Table Scraps Coasters

Dear Sewfie,

I can’t bring myself to throw any any scrap of fabric, no matter how small. I’ve even gone through the trash after my kids clean up from a sewing project (shocking but true… they sometimes do clean up), re-claiming even the tiniest swatch that may be “still good for something”. As a result, every work surface in my sewing room is drowning in a sea of scraps… my sewing machine table, my cutting table, the book cases, even my knick-knack shelves… all covered in piles of scraps. What can I do with all of this without throwing them away?

Scrappy

Dear Scrappy,

This easy, fun project will justify your obsessive frugality AND will make a whole stack of fun little gifts and craft fair fodder!

Table Scraps Coasters

Make these cute coasters out of scraps lying round your cutting table

Materials & Supplies

  • Random fabric scraps from your cutting table, totaling about 12″ square
  • 12″ square fabric for backing (or 4 different 6″ squares)
  • 9″ square of heavy weight interfacing such as Timtex or Pelon Peltex
  • Masking tape
  • Yield: makes 4 coasters

Collect your scraps

Pick different colors and prints. Don’t be afraid of combinations you may think “don’t go together”.

Trim scraps

Using rotary cutter, trim the edges of your scraps. You don’t have to make perfect squares: try uneven strips for that “scrappy” look.

Sew Together

Stitch scraps together until you have an assembly at least 4.25″ x 4.25″ or larger. Press.

Line up template

Make a 4.25″ x 4.25″ template by marking your quilting ruler with masking tape.

Cut to size

Using your taped “window” as a guide, position your template over your fabric. Experiment with different angles. Cut your fabric to a 4.25″ x 4.25″ block by cutting one side, then rotating template 90 degrees. Repeat to cut all four sides. This is your coaster top.

Stitch to interfacing

Cut the heavy weight interfacing into four 4.25″ x 4.25″ blocks. Using a long basting stitch, machine sew coaster top to one square of interfacing using a scant 1/4″ seam.

Self-binding

Cut backing fabric into 5.75″ x 5.75″ squares. Place backing fabric right side down. Position coaster top right side up in the center of one backing square. Pin. Finish by self-binding with mitered corners. Click here for complete illustrated instructions on Self-Binding and How to Make Mitered Corners.

Enjoy!

This Table Scrap Coaster is working hard at a U.S. Army Nanotechnology lab, keeping its owner’s desk dry and looking stylish to boot!

You could totally make a dozen of these
Warm Stitches,


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How to Get Rid of Your UFOs

Dear Sewfie,
I have so many UFO‘s, I can’t deal with them all. I promised myself my New Year’s Resolution would be to finish them all up before starting anything new, but I’m so overwhelmed I don’t even know where to start. And, truthfully, some of these projects I don’t even care about anymore. Some of them are just ugly or boring or BOTH. I don’t know what I was thinking when I started them. I want to start some new projects but I feel to guilty with all this unfinished stuff lying around. What should I do?

– Abducted by UFOs

Dear Abducted,

UFO’s are indeed the bane of many a crafter’s existence. Sewfie recommends the F.R.o.G. approach to managing your UFO backlog: Finish, Recycle or Give Away.

Finish

Just try to finish just ONE thing. Sewfie likes to lead by example, so here is a table topper she started for her SIL three years ago. Check it out, hot off the press.

Three year old UFO finally finished!

This table topper is Stargazer, one of the Pieced Tree Patterns Tiny Ones. The fabrics are from the Northern Territory collection by Marcus Brothers. I tried to fussy-cut the animals so you could see their faces, or in some less successful cases, their butts.

Don’t you just want to swat those cute little mosquitoes?
All ready for the cabin by the lake

Recycle

Maybe you were going to use that fabric for one thing, but that project just isn’t coming together. Its OK. Just rip it apart and use it for something else. You know you will be happier when you do. I was going to make a bandanna quilt, but doesn’t this little whale look so much cuter? He’s now my sewing studio mascot whom the kids named Moby Purple-icious. The adorable pattern is by DIYFluffies.

I used to be a bandanna!

Give Away

Sometimes you bought stuff with the best of intentions but now you realize you are NEVER going to use it. Accept that reality and just give it away. Don’t think about what you could have, should have, might have or may someday make from it. Just Give. It. Away. Its new owner will be so happy you did and will make something fabulous out of it.

I was going to make my son all these cute toddler pants… back when he was TWO. Now he is old enough to have an opinion about being dressed like a dork, so I just gave this fabric away to another mom who was looking to get her sewing chops back.

These kind of prints would be OK… if you were 2.

There. Now don’t you feel better? You:

  1. Got something finished
  2. Re-purposed something, and you
  3. Gave something to someone who really appreciated it.

Time to go fabric shopping!

Warm Stitches,


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