Category Archives: How To

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,
Sewfie

How To Make a Perfect Yo-Yo… With NO Special Tools or Widgets!

Fabric yo-yos are fun AND easy to make. Despite what the Clover company would have you believe, you don’t need any special plastic discs or tools to make them. All you need is a piece of paper, various round objects and my handy chart!
Step 1. Chose the right size circle for your desired yo-yo size. You can rock it old school and actually draw a circle template on a piece of paper with a compass. Seriously, I lost mine and had been trying to buy a new one… guy working in a hardware store did NOT know what a “compass” was… *sigh* I eventually found one at Michael’s.

Hey, Millennials… use this mysterious object to draw a circle. No, you can’t use your phone.

If you don’t have a compass, you can just look around the house for circle objects to trace, such as various lids, CD’s, etc. It turns out that tracing a CD will result in a lovely 2 1/8″ yo-yo. Now you know.

Pro-TIP! You will need a circle 2x the desired finished size plus 1/2″. See this handy chart to find your perfect size:

Finished Yo-Yo Size Fabric Circle Size
1″ 2.5″
2″ 4.5″
2.5″ 5.5″
3″ 6.5″
4″ 8.5″

Step 2. Cut out as many circles from fabric as needed – one for each yo-yo. Press.

Press your fabric circles before beginning

Step 3. Using a doubled strand of thread, fold down edge of fabric 1/4” and baste close to folded edge, about 1/8”. Baste all the way around circle.

Turn down 1/4″ and baste

Step 4. For best results, use a long basting stitch, between 1/4” and 3/8”. Note that a standard No. 2 pencil is a little less than 3/8” wide, so you can use that for a handy guide!

Width of a pencil is “just right” for the stitch length

Step 5. Pull on thread to gather circle tightly, distributing folds evenly. Tie off thread securely with double knot.

Scrunch it up!

Step 6. Tah-DAH! You didn’t need to buy any special tools or crappy plastic widgets AND you can now make ANY size you want! Doesn’t that feel great?

Now make about a zillion of them!

Use this technique in making this cute Mrs. Claus Holiday Pillow!
Warm Stitches,
Sewfie

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!

New Patterns at Sew Fun!

New at Sew Fun, Halloween Trick o’ Treat Tote Bags in 6 fun designs: Zombie, Jack o’ Lantern, Werewolf Alien, Black Cat and Ghost! Whip one (or two) up in an evening for your little demons!

Trick o’ Treat Bags from Sew Fun – Black Cat, Werewolf, Alien and Ghost

Zombie and Jack o’ Lantern Halloween Tote bags